mean girls

Last Friday, the Bee got into a fight at her after-school program. Apparently, she and another girl in her class were squabbling, one of the teachers noticed it but didn’t do anything about it, and then the two of them went into the bathroom together, where the other girl grabbed her, pushed her and threatened to break her ankle. The Bee pushed her back, and then left the bathroom and told the other teacher what had happened.

The other girl (let’s call her Lily) didn’t deny any of it at the time, and she ended up getting suspended from after-care for a day. When landisdad went to pick the Bee up, he heard about it from the second teacher, who told him that the Bee had been reprimanded for pushing Lily, but was not getting a more severe punishment. While I agree that the Bee shouldn’t have pushed her, it’s somewhat ridiculous that the other teacher didn’t stop them from going into the bathroom together, or try to stop them from fighting in the first place.

We’re trying to not blow the whole thing out of proportion–the Bee gets into squabbles with other kids in her class, it’s going to happen, they’re kids. She’s six, and while it’s not right, it is true that six- and seven-year-olds do stuff like say, “I’m going to punch you in the eye!” or whatever when they’re mad. We’ve been having a lot of conversations about how she can defuse these kinds of situations without resorting to screaming back at the other kid–walking away, telling a teacher, etc. It’s not really her nature to back down from a fight, and she said to me yesterday morning as we walked to school, “Mom, I can’t just leave when she’s yelling at me,” and I said, “well, we’re going to practice.”

They apparently had another altercation yesterday–Lily was pushing the Bee when they were lined up to come in for recess, and shoved the Bee into a boy from sixth grade, who reported it to their teacher. In the Bee’s retelling, they both got sent to the principal’s office, but no one was disciplined (no one from school called me, either). The Bee says that this time she didn’t push back, so I told her I was proud of her.

One of the most complicating things about this whole situation is that Lily is a girl I’ve blogged about before. And while I don’t know that these two things are related, it’s hard not to view them through that lens.


March 15, 2006. thoughtful parenting.


  1. Woman with Kids replied:

    Not that it makes it okay for Lily to act that way, but children learn what they live. How sad for her to see that and go through that.

  2. alala replied:

    Yep, now that I’ve read both posts about “Lily”, I’m also seeing connections where none may exist. It’s hard not to make certain assumptions, isn’t it?

    Ignatz has recently um, “lost” some things that were important to him, and he first noticed their absence after a certain child had been at our house. We are trying to look before we leap to that particular conclusion: we have no evidence and there is really nothing we can do unless the child actually decides to confess, but it’s painful to see Ignatz learning this.

    Sigh. This part of parenting is harder than I expected it to be.

  3. Suzanne replied:

    What a tough situation. It’s hard not to draw some conclusions about Lily’s behavior given what her life at home may be like.

    Things like this make me realize that parenting toddlers and preschoolers, although maddening, can be a piece of cake compared to handling situations like this.

    I hope that the altercations end without anyone getting hurt!

  4. chichimama replied:

    I am so not looking forward to the days when A and A are older. It’s easier to brush off the pushing at age 3.

  5. Genevieve replied:

    It seems reasonable to view them through that lens, landismom. It’s got to be hard for Lily to develop ways to handle anger other than physically if she doesn’t have anyone teaching her that and setting an example.

    You, on the other hand, are setting Bee a wonderful example and doing a great job talking to her about these things, coming up with strategies for her to use, and giving her good feedback when she does use them (by not pushing).

  6. jackie replied:

    this is a tough situation. i don’t have any experience as a parent with this, but remember those friends I had as a kid. i think the best thing you can do is what you’re doing, letting bee talk to you about it, and keeping close tabs. some of the things my friends were going through scared the crap out of me, and i still think about them sometimes and wonder how they are.

  7. chip replied:

    I’d say that given the earlier comments from her that you blogged, and assuming they’re true, there’s a direct connection. That also has been our experience, kids who live in households where there is violence tend to be the ones who are violent to other kids. But not always. Sometimes violent kids are just spoiled rotten kids whose parents refuse to believe their little one would ever do anything wrong. The violence seems to be an acting out of other issues in the kids’ lives either way.

    It is really hard as a parent explaining these injustices to our kids, but all we can do is tell them we’re proud when they do the right thing, regardless of other things. Because their whole lives they’re gonna have to deal with bullies and jerks…
    (see, I actually read your post today… 🙂

  8. Anjali replied:

    Oh, I feel sick reading both posts together. This post illustrates my greatest fears as a parent, which I have yet to endure only because my kids are too young. You and your daughter handled things wonderfully. I feel sorry for Lily, and I hope she’s not reenacting what she sees at home.

  9. elise replied:

    I’ve tried to teach my kids to not get locked into a battle with any other kids. It seems that once they show a reaction to a bully or nasty kid then the drama keeps going on and on. It can make their life miserable. Its a hard thing to show no reaction though and it may be to difficult for her to do at this age.

  10. Library Lady replied:

    Yup, kids mimic what they see at home. And what’s even sadder about it is that kids like yours (and mine, I hope) who see GOOD models in front of them don’t always know how to handle these kids when they come up against them in school.

    Then we’ve got the trick of teaching them HOW to deal with these kids without teaching them it’s okay to fight back. Hard stuff.

    Sorry that Bee is having to deal with this so early. SC has experienced some of this, but she was older, and we were able to talk about it more frankly than you can with a 6 or 7 year old, I think.

    So far, all JR’s dealing with is the verbal meaness. I find it pretty sad that her classmates who come from “nice” families seem to be starting these sort of games so early. Then again, I’ve seen some of the same behavior from their mothers. More role models in the negative sense, I guess!

  11. Comfort Addict replied:

    Yes, I remember your original post about “Lily.” It must be so difficult to be a parent in situations like this where your daughter is being wronged. Bravo to you for teaching the Bee how to handle conflict peacefully.

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