What Do You Do When You Find Out Your Kid’s Behaving Badly?

Yesterday was the much anticipated parent/teacher meeting with the teacher who doesn’t pay attention about the bully situation. I was ready to lay into this teacher who called my daughter a “bully”. My daughter was a victim of the bully. She would NEVER be mean to another kid. She knows better. Then, I got to the meeting and got blindsighted.

Firstly, my opinion in no way has changed about this teacher. She is an inaccessible teacher and she doesn’t pay attention. She is cold and I just don’t care for her attitude. When I confronted the teacher and asked her why she has never returned any of my emails or phone calls, her answer was, “Oh (smirk) I never check my email or voicemail.” What? This is unacceptable.

But all that being said, when the “bully” situation was brought up. The teacher had the note. Proof. There at the bottom was my 3rd graders handwriting, “Read a good book dood. Bam!What?” It was my daughters writing. I felt sick to my stomach. The rest of the note, repeatedly insulting the little boy, was not my daughter’s handwriting but that last nasty line…it was and that was way more than my tolerance level allows.

The teacher said that my daughter is not known to do these sort of things but she said there was one other instance where my daughter told a boy in her group to, “Stay focused, get back to their group and do some work.” He was in her group and she said she always ends up doing all the work and she was frustrated. I understand this because I was the kid who always got stuck doing the “group” work. I don’t consider that being a bully, do you? I consider that being bossy. Still not her place but let’s not confuse it with bullying. Bullying is repeated with the intent to harm and hurt.

But this instance of telling the little boy to “Read a good book dood.” Was obviously rude and could be hurtful especially when the teacher told my daughter, “Some kids don’t have the same gifts as you do, so you can’t say things like that because maybe they are not capable of doing that.” By the way, there is nothing wrong with the little boy, in case you were wondering, other than maybe he isn’t as advanced in some subjects as my daughter is but that is completely normal at this age.

Bottom line is this, we do not tolerate bullying in any form, even the slightest because it can have a lasting and damaging effect on the child on the receiving end. My daughters have both been on the receiving end. So, my daughter is grounded for a month. No television, no electronics, no play dates and no birthday parties and she had to write an apology to her father and I for not coming forth in her part in the letter and she had to write an apology to the little boy who she told to “Read a good book dood! Bam. What?” that included writing 5 nice things about him. She is also no longer allowed to communicate with the girl who wrote the note and gave it to the boy in the first place. That kid is bad news. She used to bully my daughter in the first grade.

I am very disappointed in my daughter for writing anything on this note, I am disappointed in the teacher who does not respond to parents and sushed my daughter when she tried to bring her the note in the first place before she decided to add to it.  I am disappointed in myself for parenting my child in a way that made her think it was okay to say something mean to another child, without considering the consequences or effect it may have on the other child. She knows now. We had a very long discussion on not saying negative things to people. I explained that I understand having negative feelings about someone or not liking them and you are entitled to your own opinion but you cannot say these things out loud if it hurts another person. Keep it to yourself.

What would you have done? I wanted her to remember this punishment as a consequence of being mean so she never does it again. What do you consider being a bully?

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Comments (6)

I think the word bully is WAY overused these days. I don’t consider either of these to be bullying. That being said, the situation with the note was definitely mean. And it could escalate into bullying if it goes unchecked, and continues. It sounds like y’all took quick action and gave her consequences that will definitely make an impression and cause her to think the next time an opportunity to join in presents itself. I especially like the letter with the five nice things.

The first instance was bossy, but I get it. I was that person who got stuck doing the most of the work in group projects, too, and I wish I would have spoken up more about it at the time. So maybe a conversation about how to be assertive versus being bossy would be good…but actually I’m proud of her for saying something.

Thank you. This is complete new territory for us. We’ve never had this issue before. It’s always been her and her sister being the ones getting picked on, never the other way around. I hope she understands and this never happens again. I don’t think it will but then I never thought it would happen the first time:(

I think you are right. We need to explain the difference between being bossy and being assertive. Thanks for your feedback.

Kudos to you for giving a darn, admitting your child isn’t perfect, and actually doing something about her behavior. It’s sad how rare that is these days!

I agree with you and the previous commenter both – the word bully is overused, and there is a difference between bossy and bully. My oldest can be bossy, but would NEVER bully. My second I worry about. She isn’t or wouldn’t be the queen bee, but I do fear that she might ‘go along’ (as your daughter did) to avoid being a target. I have talked to all my kids repeatedly about the importance of sticking up for kids who are picked on, and never ever doing that themselves…but sadly as you just discovered there is no way to know exactly what happens when they are out there. I pray about it a lot, and put encouraging notes in their lunchboxes, too (Look for someone who needs a friend today. This is your opportunity to be Christ’s love in the world!) I hope that works.

I think you absolutely did the right thing. I know the follow through will be hard, but the rewards will be lifelong. She will appreciate that one day, thirty years from now. 😉

@Heather,

Thank you. This was hard for us. You know, you don;t want to go overboard but you don’t want to brush it under the rug.She’s right there and I had to make the decision to respond in a way that would benefit her the most. I think every time she doesn’t get to watch tv, she is reminded why and I hope that will make her remember to be a kinder child in the future. She has never done anything like this. It’s not even her nature.She’s always very sweet but I think maybe she just had a lapse and judgement and saw no consequence to what her bully was doing to her so she did something stupid.

The following through is difficult because it’s every day for 30 days but I have to follow through so she knows this is serious. I love that kid so much. I just want what is best for her.

I think you took the right course of action. This will have an impact on her and she will remember. I don’t think she was bullying I think she was trying to keep the bully off of her by participating and she was frustrated with doing all of the work and by not being heard by the teacher. You did a great job and it’s too bad that the teacher isn’t more involved, that would frustrate me the most.

@Leighann,
You may be right. I know that bully has been bullying my daughter since 1st grade. Apparently, her parents don;t take it as seriously as we do. We are at the point that if something like this happens again, one of the girls will have to be moved to another class.

Don’t get me started on the teacher. She has me fuming.

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