Parenthood, and all that jazz…

.. is all fine, but sometimes, it puts you in positions, where you keep wondering if you did the right thing.When all you can do is hope that what you do, works out for the best.. That the tiny life that is entrusted to you, is well taken care of..

Deeps had asked if we can choose our children’s friends.. I came across a similar dilemma last week.

Poohi woke up last week and started telling me about how her closest friend A has been ‘telling her off’ for various things. Things like ‘You drawing is just a scribble’, or ‘You are being rude’, when Poohi, according to herself, has no idea what she did wrong… At that point, I explained to her that maybe we need to find out what is happening, and why A feels like that. Although A passing judgement on Poohi’s drawing was unnecessary. I asked Poohi to go and play with other children – but she says, that A does not ‘allow her’. Now this seemed a little too much. So I said, why don’t you tell your teacher, and maybe she could work out things between the two of you? And pat came the answer ‘A does not let me, she says it is not allowed’.

I tried explaining to her that she has all the right to approach a teacher, in case she is upset about something, and that I would have a word with A’s mum. A’s mum is a lovely, approachable lady, so I thought I would speak to her first before going to the teacher. So that day at school, I had a word with her – and she was lovely – she said she would have a word with A.

That day at school, was fine, according to Poohi, and I started to wonder if I should have waited before talking to A’s mum. But Poohi was so distressed in the morning that I thought it best to talk, rather than not.

The next day was a Friday. Every Friday, one child in every class gets a ‘Star’ award  for doing something exceptionally well. This week, Poohi was the Star. She cam running to me and showed me her star, proud and happy. Then suddenly a shadow fell on her face, when she said, ‘But I am not sure I deserve it, because A said it was a dummy star on me – because I should not have go it’. It broke my heart to hear her say it, Here she was feted in the entire assembly by her teachers and she still does not believe it, because her friend said so!

All through the weekend, we explained to her how some people behave like that, and how the best thing to do is ignore them. She seemed to be better by Monday, and I decided to wait and watch and then decide what needed to be done. Monday evening, it was the same story again – A had been rather nasty to Poohi. She told her again that she did not deserve it, and kept taunting her the whole day. Poohi could not play with any other child, because apparently, if she did, A would go and tell them not to, because Poohi was rude. The poor thing was so upset and so very scared of A. We had a play-date planned(planned a few weeks ago, before all this happened), and she just did not want to go. So I had asked her to tell A that is she continues to be rude, Poohi will not come to her playdate – maybe that would make her see sense. But Poohi refused – she said that, saying that would make A angry and she would call Poohi rude again! She wanted me to tell A’s mum that we would like to cancel the play-date.

I decided to talk to A’s mum one more time on Tuesday morning, and also maybe to the teacher. On Tuesday morning(yesterday), it happened again. A told Poohi that she couldn’t wear the star because she was rude – and this time it happened in front of me. She did not realize that I was around. All Poohi had said was ‘Hi’. We had just reached the school grounds. So I told A that it was not right to talk like that, and that I would have a word with her mum about it.

Later when the children had gone inside, I spoke to A’s mum again, and she was very understanding, and shocked that her child was behaving like this. She said she would have a word with A in the evening. After speaking to her, I was again in a quandary. Should I bring this to the notice of the teachers or not.. Should I give it more time..  I had spoke with a friend that afternoon, and she strongly recommended speaking to the teachers. Because it happens at school, they need to know.

So I went in the evening and decided to have a word with her teacher. When Poohi came out, and I told her that we needed to wait back to talk to her teacher, she panicked. ‘No, A will be cross. This morning, she told me not to tell you, her mom or  the teachers anything, she will be cross with me’. That sent up red flags for me. A six year old, who already knows how to manipulate? She had convinced Poohi that no matter what she said to her, Poohi had to keep it to herself. The very thought sent chills down my spine. All I could do was thank my stars that Poohi still confided in me. I had her down and explained why we need to tell the teacher. Explained why A wanted her to not talk about it – because she knew that what she was doing was wrong, and that she would be in trouble if it came out in the open. Finally Poohi agreed to talk to her teacher.

I spoke to the teacher, and I have to say, that the way they handled it, made me feel so much better. The teacher hugged Poohi, and asked her not to worry. She said that they would have a word with A, and asked Poohi to come and speak to them, if she something like this happens again. She also told her that if anything makes her unhappy in school, she has all the right to come and talk to the teachers. It made me feel so much lighter, I just can’t describe it.

This morning, A’s mum made A apologize to Poohi – hopefully this will be the end of it. Hopefully, it will be the last of it. I am just waiting till the evening to know how today was.  Although if you ask me, I have a feeling that A has some issues of her own – I have a feeling that she is being targeted by some older children, and is perhaps implementing the same tricks on her friends? Hopefully her parents will be able to resolve them for her..

This whole episode makes me scared. It was all the more scarier because Poohi has been best of friends with A since the time she started reception in this school – 1.5 years back. All through they have been close. Just when you think your child is happy in her environment, something like this happens and shakes you up…

Makes me worry, and also gives me hope that we will find ways of handling it. There is hope that this will make Poohi stronger for the experience.. And the hope that she will find it in her to talk to me about stuff, even as she grows older.. That she knows that whatever might be the problem, we as her parents, are always with her…

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45 thoughts on “Parenthood, and all that jazz…

  1. Right .. You did the right thing, And went to the Teacher. BUT let me give you some advice dont let it go, make sure Poohie tells you everytime if “A” does it again. this is becoming very common and kids picking on kids. I am not scaring you or anything But kep a note.

    Oh yes! I totally agree. I have asked her to tell me everything. It is much better to be safe than sorry.

    My friends went through the same, it became so bad that police had to be involved, It is not RIGHT of “A” to come and say anything which is offending poohie especially I did not like the idea of reading that She said that “A” will be cross if you talk to the teacher .. so this “A” is obviously threatening the little one.
    Exactly! That was what truly scared me. A child this young, had already learnt to manipulate.. Scary!

    I know its only kids and messing around but all I will say is keep an eye. and yes its a nightmare to think that the child is in a happy environment and this happens.

    True, couldn’t agree more.

    I usually dont get hyper over things like this with adults but Kids it makes me MAD as I have gone through all this in my school, and I know How i spent those years its not a good feeling and I ma sure you definitely dont want Poohie to be sad for a single day.

    I agree. I want her to be happy as well, and to know that she can stand up for herself.

    It was the right decision to go to the teacher and I will say talk to Poohie and each day go to teacher if it needs be. It does not seem serious now but if you put urself in poohies place then she spent those time sad.

    It is quite serious, in the sense, that if this is allowed to continue, it could hit Poohi’s self confidence in the long run.. if left unchecked.

    This is one post I dont claim first …

  2. I’m so glad that things have sorted out between the girls. How did the day go for Kunju??
    Today was good. Hopefully it will stay that way :)

    You know the whole preocess of how you kept telling her to ignore A’s remarks, report her to the teacher, how well A’s mom took the whole thing and NOT get defensive of her daughter’s irrational behaviour and to top it up how well the school teacher handled the situation, makes me realize how important it is for all these factors to be well-connected, if you know what I mean.

    Absolutely! Even if one party had been unsupportive, it would have been so much more complicated.

    Understanding between parents(like the one you had with A’s mom), an open-communication policy of the school authorities and the willingness of the school to address each and every parent’s and pupil’s concerns, all this has to work in tandem for a child to grow into a secure person, isnt it? And above all we as parents need to ensure that our children have that assurance and faith that they can come and talk to us anytime and we WILL always be around to hear them out :)

    Couldn’t agree more, Deeps! All these factors have to work in tandem- and that is what makes it so much more difficult! At the very least, we can do our best as parents…

  3. You handled it really well. I would have just freaked out and done little else :( I can so see something like this happening with my kiddo too, he already gets picked on a lot because of his soft nature. After reading your post I feel like I am a little bit more prepared if such situations arise. It so important for ALL lines of communication to be open and transparent, isn’t it?

    • I just did what I felt was right.. I just hope it all turns out right, in the long run.. I am sure you will handle things like this very well too.. We all will, when faced with situations like this, I think..

  4. It is scary, it does sound like bullying.. but at 6 years of age. it feels to early. i am glad Poohi could come and have a chat with you about it. Thats definitely good.
    I hope the day for her went off okay and she is doing good.

  5. the best part of it all that Poohi still confided in you!

    Thank god for that!

    I really hope A behaves and her problems,whatsoever,get sorted too..after all even she is a little girl….!!!

    Absolutely! She needs help, if you ask me.. I hope t is all sorted for her too..

    Gosh Smithu…scary re,really! How much can you follow your child and keep a tab on his/her life? I think the basic thing that kids need to be taught is to tell everything to their parents…what else can I say!

    That is true. We can’t be around all the time..But if the child knows to confide in us, when it gets tough, it should help..

  6. Oh god A sounds like an insecure kid! poor poohi …i felt like doing something reading abt her plight and i am so glad u went to the teacher but i think u wud yet hv to keep an eye on A till u are sure.

  7. Firstly kudos to you..because you are a great mom…so great that your child came and confided in you…six is an age when friends slowly start getting more important than parents…and I am glad Poohi still came and told you

    I just hope that it continues – that she continues to confide in me.. As they grow older – this is what gets trickier, isn’t i?

    I think you handled it great Smitha, I may not have…I would have been at my wits end, told R not to speak to A (how dumb it seems now when I read what you did!) and stuff..

    I wish I could have asked her not to talk to A.. Hopefully this will sort it out..

    Thanks for putting this up..its a parenting lesson for me

    and oh! give Poohi a big hug for that star will ya :)

    Will do :)

  8. I think you handled it exactly the way I would have have. It makes sense to let the teacher know something is going. Something happened in my 4th grader class(10 yrs old) where some girls formed a club and were not allowing my daughter(and 2 of her friends) to join, or one day it was that they made up some silly rule about what the girls could do and then be “allowed” to join.

    I gave my child the right tools and we did role playing( btw this is the perfect thing to do with girls do role play with different scenarios) .

    I did send an email to the teacher telling her not to mention anything to my child or the other girls involved but to be aware of such a thing happening. I also emailed other moms and we were all on the same page. Luckily the club disbanded and nothing else happened.

    Parenting is so tough I feel. It’s these years, from 6-19yrs old that one faces the most hardship and not whether to use cloth diapers or disposable diapers(no offense to any of your readers if they are in such a position)
    I will end my novel here!

  9. Looks like pure bullying..Tough for children, tough for parenst too..And i think I too would have exactly what you did. Talk to parents,and make our children understand why avoiding certain people are necessary. I also think talking to the teacher about it would be good as she is the one can keep an eye on A throughout.

  10. I am so glad that she shared everythign with you otherwise you might not have known also. It is these very small things that make or break a kids confidence.
    I think A is one of those possessive kids who do not want to share their frenz with others and they also feel that putting down ur fren will make her depend on them. Haven’t we met these kinds of ppl ourselves???

    The way you have handled is perfect but if you see this continuing then I think u shud eventually pull these girls apart because all this can effect Poohi’s confidence!!

    Cheer up!

  11. Thank god Poohi decided to confide in you…. Its so surprising that a six year old can get so manipulative… I hope things sort out between the two gals and Poohi doesn’t faces any more problems in her school…

  12. Honestly, I am not too surprised by the whole incident. I know every school, rather every class has a bunch of such manipulative kids. I went through it a lot when I was Poohi’s age. I was actually scared to go to school when I was in the 2nd grade, because my partner (the one I shared the bench with) would harass me and then threaten me too. It only got resolved when I told my mom and the teacher changed my place.

    I am glad her class teacher was so understanding and helpful. Not all teaches in India are like that. They accuse you of wasting their time when you try to speak about such issues *shudders*

  13. Smitha, that is really unnerving. Gave me gooseflesh! Some gall that kid has, to make her friend feel bad. I’m sure there are loads of people like her around the world, and you are infact one of the fortunate people to even receive an apology (hopefully it won’t even happen again!). In India, for example, many parents would just goad on their kids to do this! Pathetic, insecure people. Feel like giving them a really good slap!

  14. That sent a chill down my spine too. The thought of A dng that to Poohi is too much to bear :(
    Am so glad A’s Mom is so understanding! Like u said, it will help so much in understanding why A is doing that too.
    And the teacher’s hug and the way they dealt with it, it really feels secure, no :)
    And cud not agree more on the last point Smithu! Am so glad Poohi confided in you. Hugs to both of you and congrats on the star, My super-star Poohi muah!

  15. Wow!! That’s a lot of maturity in handling the issue. Hats off to you. And a good parenting lesson for me in the future. :)

    You will be fine :) We learn all this on the job, don’t we:)

    It reminds me of an incident that happened to me in my childhood. I was in the second grade and was bullied by my kids in my school-bus who I used to hang out with (not physical bullying though…just the being pushed around variety, if you know what I mean). They were mostly older to me, the oldest was in the sixth grade. The oldest of the group used to regularly take my snacks away to her classroom with a smile. And I was too powerless to protest.

    Goodness! That must have been so difficult!

    I was young for it to occur to me to stand up to them or to even tell at home. My mother once discovered that I was not the one eating the snacks. My grandfather who was my guardian then set out in search of these girls. He being a college principal himself, was sure to been through one lesson too many in similarity during his heydeys :)

    He asked me to tell me which bus stop these kids wait at. I dutifully told him. He then went to each bus stop, called the kid aside, gave them a stern warning to stop picking on me and let them go. If not, he told them that next step would be to involve their parents and teachers and right now he was not doing that, merely letting them off with a warning. It had its desired effect. The kids were shaken up that someone had found out and that they had dire consequences to face. They later came up to all apologetic and said they won’t touch my food…or bully me in any way ever again.

    Thank god for that! Sometimes, it is necessary for grownups to step in, don’t you think? I doubt if you could have handled it by yourself at that stage in life..

    I gained my freedom, stopped being part of their group. Eventually I found a new set of friends my own age. And things grew better.

    But I never forgot this incident ever :)

    I can imagine.. Things like this do leave a mark, don’t they. Thankfully it ended well, I am sure if you have had a huge impact had your mother not noticed, and your grandfather not taken any action…

    • I think so too. I hope her parents sort out everything for her. Yes, her mother was great, that way.. And the school has a strong anti bullying policy, so it helped – a lot.

      • Sorry Guys.. Holiday time – no time to breathe :( I have no idea how holidays become busier than school days – but that seems to be the story of my life :)
        I’ve been busy with playdates, ferrying madam from performances etc etc etc..

        To add to it, Santa still has to do her shopping :)

  16. It breaks my heart to read how a little girl gets to hear all this from someone who she thinks as her best friend :cry: But Smithu hats off to the way you handled all this. I am always cautious to handle such things in a way where Samy doesn’t loose trust in me too coz it’s hard for a child to go back to school and the bully telling them “you cry and tell everything to your mom” sigh!! why is parenting so difficult? I would gladly have those diaper changing and tickling days back….anytime :sad:

    hugs to Poohi

    • You know, I worry about that too – but this time, I felt I could not just let her handle it.. Because she was so affected by the whole thing.. Hopefully it is sorted. School reopened today, and I think I am more nervous than her :)

      Oh yes – those diaper changing days seem so wonderful – in hindsight :)

    • Thanks Shail. I was lucky that the school and the mother were very understanding.. It might have been a different scenario otherwise. Hopefully, A will get the help she needs.

      Thanks so much for tagging me, Shail, will take it up.

  17. Don’t worry. She will learn to sort out these things. And what she learns by herself will last longer than anything that comes from you.

  18. Smitha, read ur post very interestedly, the 1st time something like this happen we all get worried, as time goes by u r going to be facing this more & more. But by then u will not be so worried as ur child will learn to tackle it herself :-)

    True, I do want Poohi to be able to handle it herself, while confiding in us.. I would hate for her to think that she has to handle it herself and not be in a position to talk to us, you know..

    There are children like A everywhere….I’m so glad A’s mother took it positively because most of the time the parents of such children refuse to acknowledge there is a problem.
    That is certainly true.

    It is we who have to arm our children with a few defences. Show them the way and from there they’ll take it:-). I always tell, repeat and stress a few things to my children and one of them is…..

    That is certainly true – we can’t obviously fight their battles for them – but sometimes, don’t you think parents might need to step in?

    I remind them of Thumper from the movie Bambie & what his mother said when Thumper was being rude……
    “If u dont have anything nice to say, dont say anything at all”.

    That is apt! Totally apt!

  19. Poohi seems like a wonderful, talented and sensitive child. The thing about such children is that from the goodness of their heart they will believe what others tell them about themselves, not realizing that anyone could have different intentions or motives. It’s enough to crush their confidence. She’s lucky she’s got a mom like you to stand up for her. You did the right thing, Smitha.

  20. Oh my God!! That was so scary… but then, peer pressure is sometimes the worst thing that a child has to go through. I have two kids in school, and I can see snippets of their lives in your story here… First time here, but glad I did!!

    • Welcome here, Nirvana. I’m sure a lot of us would have had similar experiences.. It was a scary one for me, and I hope daughter learnt enough from it as well…

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