March 26, 2009

Love Notes

On Tuesday afternoon, my six-year-old daughter joined a group of older neighborhood girls (grades 1-4) in decorating the cul-de-sac in front of my house with sidewalk chalk.

Sadly, Camber didn't get the chance to finish her masterpiece (a flying unicorn) because I called her in for dinner 10 minutes later.

The next morning, my kids were riding their bikes in the same cul-de-sac when my daughter's two-wheeler came to a sudden grinding halt. She sat paralyzed in the middle of the street, staring at the ground, for several seconds. When I reached the scene, I immediately saw why. Scrawled onto the asphalt in hot pink chalk was this little gem:


More pleasantries were written on a neighbor's driveway including "Camber smells" and "Camber you stink."

My daughter was more confused than upset.

"Do I smell?" she asked. "Why don't my friends want me to come back and play with them?"

The answer I gave my daughter confused her even more.

"This is why kindergartners shouldn't play with older kids."

That afternoon, I left my children with a neighbor and greeted the tweens at the bus stop.

"You have 5 seconds to clean it up," I said to the group.

"We don't know what you're talking about," replied the group's spokeswoman, a fourth-grader, as I walked away.

Despite their insistence that they were not responsible for the insults, the girls worked extremely hard and fast to rub out the words the instant that I pulled out my camera and started snapping pictures of the asphalt epistles to show their parents.

***
Ugh. This is the first of many such episodes, I am sure. Camber didn't have the slightest idea that she was being insulted, but I know the time is fast approaching when she will get it, and it will not feel good. How do you handle such situations? What do you do when your "baby" gets his/her feelings hurt?

136 comments

Mary and Steve said...

My son came home one day and said that Nicholas said "I hate you" to him. They are also in Kindergarten. I told him that was a very mean thing to say. The next day as I dropped him off I said "remember that I love you." I looked in his little face, with those big sad eyes, he needed more... I said remember Heavenly Father loves you too, and Jesus. His little face lit up. I continued, "you are a child of God." That seemed to do the trick. He bounced off and when I picked him up he was all smiles. I guess I did something right.

Karen said...

Oh this made my heart hurt. I hate girls sometimes, they can be so mean.

The only little girl to make my daughter cry (mine was 3, the girl was 7 or older) I made cry back. Probably not great parenting, but you don't mess with Mama bear's cub!

Other than that one instance we have been very lucky and not encountered such meanness since. So I have no advice, just sympathy.

Sandra said...

I have already struggled with how to handle a child that is mean or not nice to my child (she's 7). But I have to remember that my reaction drives my child's reaction today and in the future. So, at times, I swallow my anger, and say something myself to the child about not being ugly to "our friends" but most times I gently tell my girl to remember how this feels so that she is sure to never be so unkind to hurt someone else like that.

Tay said...

Kids are so mean. I remember being in Camber's shoes, except that i understood what was going on. When she does start to understand, just remind her of the things Mary ^ talked about and make sure she knows that what others think about her are nothing in comparison to what she thinks about herself and how much you love her. I think you'll do a great job.

JP said...

I'd let the parents know, personally. What they're doing is clearly text book bullying. It is a rotton thing to do, and had it been my child, I'd want to know to nip it in the bud. Early. Poor Camber. Go out and buy her the most amazing chalk ever so they'll wanna play with her--and can't! haha That honestly brought a tear to my eye. I teach and was bullyed. Im not saying they must let her play, but they shouldn't get away with it.

Alicia said...

Karen is right! Girls can be so mean! Oh I wish I could jsut hug Camber!

My little girl is only five but has experienced other children running away from her at the playground. It just breaks my heart because she doesnt understand. She (and Camber) are so innocent and I wish we could keep them that way forever!

Reb said...

Bravo Jana, that was perfect. My oldest is 8 and oblivious. I know that when even the slightest offense is given towards him I really want to rip the head off the offender (except if the offender is one of my other sons). I will file this in my mind for how to handle situations with older children. I haven't crossed that unfortunate bridge yet. . I also don't have any girls. But I have observed that they can be so mean, and yet so sweet. Cheers to you, that was awesome!

Rowboat said...

i liked sandra's answer. if you show anger or hurt then your child will probably reflect that and go about life in an angry or defensive manner. that would be hard.

making it a teaching moment to show how important it is to treat others well seems more healthy and helpful.
also, teaching a child how important it is to find friend's that respect us helps them learn how to develop their own self-respect.
but what do i know? i have no kids yet, i only study them.

girlnblack77 said...

I've earned the rep as the meanest mom on the block, because I just can't sit by and let anyone mistreat my kids, or other neighborhood kids, for that matter. I'm the kind to march up to another kid with mine in tow and demand the other child apologize for ill behavior. On the other hand, my kids both know to apologize if they hurt someone physically or hurt someone's feelings (intentional or otherwise), I had *better* hear an apology coming from them.
To me, it's not enough to 'fix' the damage or try to undo a mess; they've got to connect on a personal level to make it right. Whenever I have reservations about stepping in, I remember that this is the generation that will be running things when my grandkids come along...

Donna said...

I swear, there is no meaner demographic than young girls.

The same thing happened to my baby sister a few years ago, and it was heartbreaking. How do you explain to a little girl that sometimes people are just mean?

Well, I suppose that's the explanation: Sometimes people aren't very nice. It's better to know better and ignore them and find people who DO like you then to worry about what someone rude says.

Brutal explaining that to a 5 yr old, though. Would be nice if they just thought the world was full of rainbows and unicorns for a *few* years longer...

Carrie said...

Ugh...kids can be so mean. My oldest 2 are boys and I don't see it so much in their group of friends. Our 3 year old is a girl and I dread having to deal with this kind of stuff.

If my kids ever did that to someone, I'd be on them so fast they wouldn't even know what happened.

Denise said...

we are going through this in junior high...and it sucks. My oldest just encountered a girl at school who has become her "nemesis," saying unkind and hurtful things at every opportunity.

I spent a lot of time talking to my daughter about why this girl was doing these things...and really, that maybe she was jealous, or unhappy, or both.

I think it helped my daughter to understand that when people are mean, it isn't usually about you...it's usually about them.

But, still, it doesn't make it hurt less.

Jackie said...

Oh my word, this is breaking my heart!

Jennifer said...

Ugh. I have a 6yo daughter as well and all I can say is I am dreading these kinds of situations. I think you handled it beautifully.

Ande said...

My friend Ellie, in first grade(she has cancer) was at the water fountain, and these 2nd graders came up and teased her about having no hair! How mean is that!?!?!
www.caringbridge.org/visit/elliepotvin

Britney said...

UG! As a former fourth grade teacher, I am SO glad you approached them and made them clean it up. Attitudes, attitudes!! I cannot believe the things fourth grade girls will do to impress their friends and try to act cool. Chances are, the parents wouldn't give a flying' toot anyway, even if you did tell them about it. You Go Girl! Sometimes beating the tar out of other people's children is harder than not doing it to your own! : )

embarassed to say! said...

when i was in the 5th grade we were selling our fundraisers thru the neighborhood when a boy in my class that lived near by took my bike and was ridin it around and wouldn't give it back....well, i punched him in the face and broke his glasses, and his mom came to our hose and made me apologize.

Shosh said...

OMG! I am shocked!!! That is so mean! My two oldest are boys so I havent really dealt with this yet...not looking forward!

But I think you dealt with it really well!

Anita said...

Donna is right, there is no meaner demographic than girls....ugh. Camber is young to be the brunt of those girls jokes, it just makes it worse to pick on a younger child.
For my girls the ugliness started in 4th or 5th grade, and reached a crescendo in 7th to 8th grade. It was the worst, one day friends with a bunch of girls, the next the "queen bee" had issued an edict that they weren't cool.(I have twins).
Now in 10th grade and nearly 16 the girl this is much more tolerable for them.
I really enjoy your blog Jana, stop by mine, I'm having my first give away this week!
Hugs to Camber, my heart was feeling all heavy for her, even if she didn't really get it.

Ginee Scabrough said...

Living in a small town as a big High School teacher helps A Lot. I tell them I am the meanest teacher E-Ver A-Live and I remember all faces of all kids.

It works on the 5-8 set. I will see if I can bully middle schoolers next.

Beckie said...

I remember those days for me like they were yesterday. Junior High was the absolute worst for me, but I had wonderful parents who, despite what others may have thought of me, showed me unconditional love and made me feel like I was their world and that is all that mattered to me. I think you handled the situation wonderfully. I hope and pray that when this does happen to my seven year old (because it happens to everyone at some point in life) that she will have the confidence and self worth to know that her family adores her and that her true friends are ones that would not make you feel awful. A big hug to you and your Camber!

Janille said...

It happens with the boys too - we have had to deal with a neighborhood bully for 3 years now. On the bus, at school, at church, etc. We did have to get the school involved, several times, and the parents - it has been not so fun.

We have a group of moms in the neighborhood that look out for each other and we boss each others kids around if we see bad behavior. It works pretty well.

I approach the kids first - singly or in a group depending on the offense. Kids are just dumb and they do dumb things, especially in groups. Most of the time their parents are nice people, the kids are generally good kids - but they have to have idiotic, mean behavior pointed out to them and corrected.

It is a delicate balance with your own kids - we have a drama son who gets his feelings hurt frequently- there is a fine line of ensuring they know they are loved and worthwhile people, and enabling "victim" behaviors. Kids have to learn to stand up for themselves too, especially once they are in full time school and spend so much time away from you.

When they get older, role play or discuss situations so they know how to respond to mean behavior. Kids seem to rotate "best friends" at least a couple times a year and they are all painful transitions.

Melinda said...

My daughter's in kindergarten too, but would have gotten exactly what they meant and cried and cried. She's a sensitive one and unfortunately hasn't found a "best friend" yet. When she comes home from school and says her friends wouldn't play with her, that they like other girls better and cries, it breaks my heart, but I don't want her to base her self esteem on if people like her or not. I try and tell her that she's a nice girl, she's beautiful and she doesn't want to play with the mean kids. To not let it bother her, but it does and its hard! I hate that girls are so mean (big or little!), but thats that and we can only teach our little girls not to be. I'm glad you made them clean it up, good for you! And really, I think you should tell the parents too, just to let them know. :)

Margaret Anne Clark said...

I think you did perfect ...but if it happens again, tell the parents. Unfortunately, that may not have any effect - the apple sometimes doesn't fall far from the tree, right?

Renny said...

Girls are the devil. Oh the stories I could tell from my childhood, swarming evil girls and their (very large) older siblings. Its hard to say what to say to Camber, even though you probably remember those days yourself. Just keep teaching her to not turn out like them I guess. My mom once suggested I punch a girl right in the mouth. If you knew my mother you'd know how shocking that is. I never could do that, but maybe Camber can.

Sims Family said...

That happens here all too aften with the big vs little girls in the neighborhood. We got them all together and showed them the new American Girl Movie about Chrissa. Mom's invited. It's worth a try. Good show.

Robin said...

My daughter is 16 y.o. and is mentally disabled. Needless to say....the remarks and teasing NEVER stop. Fortunately, she doesn't understand they are making fun of her, most of the time....but I know. I do approach the other kids and I usually end up making them feel like DIRT...but they aren't mean to my baby any more, either.

4 BOYS ONLY said...

ok so i went through two similar situations with my oldest son when he was in 3rd grade. At one point a 5th grader punched him in his "privates on the bus" I know this boy and he comes from a terrible family situation. I approached him, (with out my son) And told him I was terribly disappointed in him especially since Forrest was so much younger. told him he should be embarrassed about the way he acted and that he should be looking out for the younger ones not picking on them. Then I looked him square in the eye and told him if he EVER laid a hand on my son again he would be VERY sorry! he believed me and apologized that afternoon. The other child was a classic Eddie Hascal. Every LOOOVVVEEEED Him, but he was very mean. He was also years older than my oldest. So I had a amazing carnival party for my boys and when he came down and asked to participate, I quietly told him he was welcome as long as he promised to never tease or exclude my boys again, first he looked shocked then he said, sorry and he promised. I still didn't let my boys play with him, i just wanted him to know I knew and to feel bad. Not some of my proudest moments, but I was driven to it, What can I say.

Ally in Wonderland said...

Similar things happened to my sister and I growing up. My mom took on the Momma Bear attitude and made sure those kids knew what they did wrong and why. Generally it involved lecutres and parental involvement.

By the same token, we were taught how hurtful those things are and never to do them ourselves. That's actually how I learned what "turd" meant...

Sorry this happened to Camber!

Terra Howard said...

I liked the way you handled that!! My son was actually bullied & boys can be mean as well. Pretty, smart girls are always bullied.

Jules said...

I have a very sensitive kindergarten age daughter who would totally understand how rude that is. The thing that has seemed to work the best for us is for me to tell her a story of when someone was mean to me when I was little and explain how sad I felt and how I always made new friends. I also explain that everyone at one time or another is hurt by others. She has learned to say, "I have a lot of other friends that are much nicer than you, so I will go play with them."
For some reason I think that showing your vulnerability to your children increases their trust and belief in you and helps them to see that what may have seemed like a big deal initially may not be so bad after all.

Sheila said...

That makes me feel so bad. I know how it feels, from school. It's hard to watch your little one go through it. My 3 year old gets his feelings hurt every day from another three year old, but they're best buddies again in a few seconds, bigger girls are meaner. It makes you want to slap them around a little :)

Michelle said...

That little camera sure is coming in handy these days!

Sweet Caroline said...

Wow...

I have a 12 year old girl and went through this, too. And, different stuff today. You handled it so beautifully...that I can't give you better advice.

I guess the only thing I can say is: The quicker you forget about it, so do they. They are so forgiving at that age. Also, I NEVER get parents involved. Never! I go straight to the kids like you did--I also learned: Oh, dear, I can't believe I am going to mention this: But, you can threaten ANYTHING to a kid, and THEY NEVER tell their parents. EVER! (If they are GUILTY.) I have seen it time and time again.

Oh boy, that makes me look really bad. Oooops. :)

Kate said...

Ugh, is all I have to say. There were some girls in my neighborhood growing up who were not-so-nice to me and this brought up all those icky feelings.

I think you did great. I honestly wish my parents had intervened more--not so much that it would have painted another target on my back, but more than telling me they knew the girls were mean. I think they thought they were doing me a favor by letting me "fight my own battles," but I was too much of a people-pleaser to stand up to those girls. And I just wasn't emotionally equipped to handle them. I was plagued with those insecurities for years.

I haven't seen TOO much of it yet, although a nasty little beast asked why my son's ears were so big when he was two. I cried the whole way home.

Lori said...

when my daughter was 3, I took her to the park and she was trying to play with these older girls and they were calling her a monster and running away from her. She came to me in tears and asked me to tell them she wasn't a monster and ask them to play with her. They heard this and whispered rather loudly that they did not want to play with her and the ohter should tell her. Back and forth with each other while I stood two feet away from them with a crying child and facing them. I told Kelsey that girls like that were mean and since I didn't want her to lean that behavior we were going to play somewere else, all teh while looking directly at the girls. At least one of them looked away ashamed. I love my daughters but hate the mean things girls do.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely love your blog. I just read your post to my daughter (turned 7 last week) and asked her how she would feel if kids wrote that about her. She told me she would feel sad but would then write something mean about them. Obviously her Catholic schooling and my insistence of being kind to others has not fully kicked in. Thanks for the great discussion piece. Keep em coming so I know what I need to fine tune in my parenting!

Anonymous said...

I love that you confronted the girls... my 11 year old son was bullied by a pack of 6th grade mean girls, and I confronted one at the bus stop... it was amazing how quickly she ratted out her friends.
Nasty mean girls.

Meme said...

I agree with your commenters, this topic makes my heart hurt. But the ugly truth is girls can be mean, mean in a way that makes you wish it just couldn't be possible. I haven't experienced this yet, my daughter is 6, and so far hasn't lived through it, but I read "Odd Girl Out" by Rachel Simmons and I highly recommend it for moms of girls no matter what their age. It has a lot of good and practical advice for discussions, etc.

BTW, I LOVED how you handled it with the older girls. I had older kids bothering me on the bus when I was young, and one day my mom showed up at the bus stop, pulled these kids aside and told them if they ever said an unkind word to me again she would be visiting their parents. It never happened again.

Let's start a club called All Girls In.

Rebecca said...

Me? I'd fight the urge to SMACK them all! I'm so sorry that happened, even though she hasn't a clue. And you're right, that is exactly why I don't let my kids play with older kids. ugh. Good for you taking pics, I'd have done the same thing! kids are so mean. I've told one to go home before because of his attitude. I call kids out on it when I catch them, and I don't care whose kids they are. If it has anything to do with my children, or some defenseless creature I will speak up!

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't the age of the children your daughter was playing with (it's actually very healthy and good for development when kids of different ages play together). My daughters aged 11 and 8 are very sweet with younger kids. They love to be in that role of being 'looked up to' by little ones and it is fun to watch them be little mentors. It sounds like the children that Camber was playing with just haven't been raised well. Be careful about the kind of kids (not so much the age of the kids)that Camber is playing with. It is amazing how mean some kids can be.

Brenda said...

My best advise if your child is with you - and especially if the mean kids are where they can see you - is to look right at those mean kids (or talk loud enough where they can hear you if they are not looking at you) and with your best 'matter of fact' voice say, "Don't worry, what goes around ALWAYS comes around. I guess someone else is probably going to be real mean and hurt their feelings sometime soon too"...... it might just get those mean kids thinking. It will also let your child know that if they are mean to someone else, they will get it back as well. And then like everyone else has said, let your child know that it doesn't matter AT ALL what anyone says about them as long as they know that they are a good (and nice) person! Then, give them a big hug and kiss! :)

Sticky (not too) said...

I feel so badly for her. I think you were amazing...those mean things. My son had little boys in his pre-school that were mean to him. It made me crazy, where do such little kids get such ideas?

Tommie said...

unfortunately some kids will be mean no matter what age they are. I always try to disguise the MEAN with something else. Like for example my 5 year old asked me what it meant when somebody called her chubby I said "it means you are cute". She didn't think twice about it. I would hate for her to grow up with a complex.

togetherforgood said...

I work in an after-school program and every day I am amazed and saddened by how mean the kids can be to each other. And they can be so manipulative! It breaks my heart to know that my own children could be on the receiving end of such behavior-- or the instigators of it.

I don't have any answers. I try to step in when the kids are getting nasty but I'm not sure if it helps, honestly. All we can do is love our kids unconditionally and pray for them constantly and do our best to teach them to be kind. I think a lot of kids who are nasty to their peers are also nasty to their siblings and parents, and their parents tolerate it, so the kids think it's okay.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what these girls mothers are like. I'm sure the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

Jenglamgirl said...

Way to go! I LOVE THAT you told the girls to clean it up promptly or else... pics..... LOVE IT! I fear the day that my daughter is that age (4th grade), I know girls are so mean I went through so much crap in jr. high and highschool. Jealousy all that! My Bella is a pretty little thing (I'm partial) and I know girls will be mean. I've had to learn how to take deep breaths when it comes to my 7 year old, and the older boys around the "HOOD" he he, they actually blamed my son for something.... totally crued! Oh' that was a mistake! Every situation is different and unfortuantly its a part of life and growing up. All you can do as parents is show unconditional love and support. Oh' and threaten the hoodlem kids jk!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

You know, boys can be stupid and thoughtless, but girls can be downright MEAN. On purpose. Isn't it interesting that they also have the capacity for such deep kindness? Too bad that side is not as tapped into and rewarded as often as the belittling behavior seems to be. I almost teared up while reading this because it is not a stage that I look forward to, but I'm no idiot. I know it's coming. It makes me realize how happy it must make our Heavenly Father when he sees us treat each other the way he actually ASKED us to.

Sarah said...

Oh my gosh, that is horrible! Just reminds me why when I was teaching I preferred to teach boys to girls. Boys just punch each other and get it over with, girls are mean and hateful to each other.

April said...

aw :-( we're not there yet, but i think you handled it really well. i was glad to see you confronted the kids.

canadianmom said...

I had an experience with an old lady being rude to my son.. He was 2 years old and tired and cranky in the stroller when we were leaving the store. He started screaming and this old lady came over, stuck her finger in his face and told him he was such a bad boy! I was shocked and I told her that he was not a bad boy, she replied the H- he isn't with the implication that I was not a good mother letting him cry. I had to fight the incredible urge to rip out all her grey hairs and was shaking with anger when I turned and walked away from her. Later that day my son asked me if he was a bad boy, I had to tell him that he wasn't a bad boy in any way but some people just don't know that. I know that this article was about little girl bullies, but it brought back this memory, I guess some bullies never grow out of their meaness.

Beth said...

I think you handled it perfectly! Pretty much every day I am dealing with this sort of scene. While I do believe in consequences, I also work hard to restore confidence in hurt children.

As a child, many of the kids made fun of my hearing aids. I did get a tough skin but I did hurt, too. I wish kids were not so darn mean sometimes.

Brenda said...

We've all been teased, insulted and generally hurt growing up. It's part of life and it sucks. What sucks more is knowing your kids will face this and there's not a lot you can do about it. My husband and I have given my 10 year old son permission to beat the crap out of anyone who pushes him around. Some parents would disagree, but I'd rather see him stand up for himself and be expelled from school than become a victim. I was the victim. I was told to turn the other cheek and I know first hand that it doesn't work. As for what happened to your little one, how can kids be so cruel to pick on a Kindergartener? Seriously. I'd talk to the parents. She's too young for that.

Ginger said...

First of all, you did great. Next, discuss with her "pretty is as pretty does" and that acting pretty is important in ways she won't know for many years. Explain to her that when it hurts, it is because she has done everything right and for whatever reason, the others had some of the devil in them that was trying to come out. This is where you teach her what turning the other cheek is about and how if you give these clueless street kids enough rope, they'll hang themselves without any help of any kind. Teach her these are the very kids she should stay away from because they only know how to find trouble and she is not the "trouble" kind.

Next, you get out your voodoo doll and teach her how to poke pins in it. JUST JOKING! Print off those pictures and mail to all of the parents. No note, just the proof. IF they are worth their salt, they'll come with their child apologizing to you both for the ugliness they have in their home.

If money is no object, have a party for Camber that will make the brats green with envy when they aren't invited. Sorry, you were ugly and ugly has consequences.

Trust me, putting in boundaries for other children equals "my mama may be mean but she loves me better than other mothers". They know by example that you have expectations, boundaries and will always work to show them the right path.

All those kids I corrected so long ago call me "mama" today and tell me how I parented more than their own and that my lessons were valuable.

Go Meanest Mom! You are AOK in my book!

Cass said...

You are my HERO!!!

The Girl Next Door said...

You handled that so much better than I would have. I'm thinking more along the lines of torture chambers and finger nail removal...

seriously, it is so hard when kids are mean to other kids. I agree with the idea of going to the kids, not the parents. And rising above them with your wit and perception and letting them know they don't fool you.

Becca said...

I think this post hits us all so strongly because we've *been* Camber and we are *raising* little Cambers. It just stinks. :( I think you should kill them with kindness. Smother 'em with it.

Gina said...

hi! i found your blog when you posted an entry on c jane's and i love your blog. so much so that i couldn't stop reading all your past entries until i ran out of entries. lol
anyway. my son is three. he has always had a fascination with older kids. wherever we go if there is an older child my son will try to conversate and play with the older child. sometimes they just flat out ignore him and it makes me kind of angry and fearful of when he's old enough to understand rude gestures, words, etc and have his feelings hurt. i most definitely do not look forward to those days and need to figure out a way to handle them before they happen or i will be the mom whispering insults in his ear for him to say back to mean kids and i don't want to be "that mom". lol

Viv said...

When I was little, my friend's twin sister and her set of friends used to give me a really hard time. My Mom found out about it and called all of the other mothers involved, and they made the girls apologize to me. It made my life a living hell until I changed schools.

I think that the way you handled it was great. Sometimes we try too hard to shield our children and end up doing more harm than good, as was my experience.

Good job Mom.

Nancy said...

So mean! I think in that instance where it's that much older kids you should talk to their parents. They need to teach them that it is not nice to hurt someone's feelings like that. It always breaks your heart to see your kids get hurt like that, but that is just plain mean and bullying.

Amy said...

Oh, that breaks my heart. Poor Camber. I agree with Karen... I hate girls when they have their "dramatic" moments and their meanness.

And I, um, have three daughters. Luckily, they haven't experienced anything like this yet. I might (again) be like Karen and make 'em cry if they hurt my babies. Grrr...

Anonymous said...

i'm really proud that you handled them maturely and gave them the chance to straighten up without involving the parents. there is no way to confront another parent about their kids behavior without setting up their defensive stance unless it is a really good friend. anyway, i think more kids are able to deal with things on their own and should without it having to be a child-to-parent-to-parent-to-child thing. they gotta learn sometime how to deal with others or face the consequences.

Lisa said...

This post made me so sad for Camber!! It's true as people have said in previous comments, girls are mean to each other! I wish I could tell you it gets better as they get older, but it gets worse...Luckily my girls are tomboys and like to play with the boys so they miss a lot of the drama, but I still hear about it and it makes me sick. Why can't we all just get along? :) Give Camber a hug for me!

The G Fam said...

Ooohh! I HATE mean girls! They SUCK!

Lani said...

ugh.. mini-mean girls! That's so wrong. I used to be a laid back person, but now that I have kids I am this super-protective mama bear. I have no idea what I would/will do if someone hurts my kids' feelings.

Lyndsey said...

i'm sorry. that's so sad. 2 years ago my husband's (then fiance) neighbor girls that were ages 6-10 left a message in side walk chalk on our drive way. It read. "we hate Lyndsey" and "we want your old girlfriend back!" my husband saw it in the morning and asked their parents to make them clean it up. they also had to write me sorry notes. they didn't even know me, i'd never even met them. i was 22, and it STILL hurt my feelings. i'm glad your little girl was young enough to roll it off.

Erin said...

I am 28 and still go through this! Girls are just this way because they get jealous. It makes you stronger and even though it is sad it will happen all her/our life. Just remind her when she does understand that she has a family who loves her and will always be there in the end. True friends dont make fun and love us for who we are.

Missy said...

As a mom to 5 kids I have endured somedays I feel like it all! We have been thru much of what you are talking about and it sucks. I think what you did was great. BUT honestly I don't know how much of these kids parents would even care. I have found that the mean kids usually have parents that have taught them this behavior..OR they give you the "NOT my daughter/son, he/she would NEVER do that." All I can say is hugs and teach your kids to be the better person.

Nikki said...

Oh - the "Plastics...." and they are only in 4th grade!

My little 8 year old had a meltdown tonight b/c she was different. She was the only one in the class with long hair and only 2 friends. She comes home crying a lot - mostly about being left alone. What's a mom to do???

I told her that no matter what - I think she is my best friend and then I set out to prove it! I have realized it is now time to implement the one on one time every day!

Elisa said...

Shame on them! When did kids get so mean? I'm so happy my 9 year old loves to play with kids of all ages. Even though sometimes that gets her in trouble with the mini-Plastics, too.

Cami said...

Fortunately, it always hurts the mom more than the kid! You ought to make some cookies and help Camber deliver them to the perpetrators. Even a fourth grader is capable of a guilty conscience! I wonder if their mothers read your blog? :D :D :D That in itself might change things! Luckily Camber has a mother who cares and siblings who will protect her as they get older. It's amazing how your kids will stand up for each other when all along you thought they hated each others guts!

Mommymel said...

Grr! It's time's like those I want to just tuck my babies back up into my womb! It makes homeschooling seem so much more attractive. Girls are SOOOOO mean!

Freckles said...

Wow, I am impressed -- you handled this perfectly. Going to the perps first, having them own up, or at least clean up, their transgressions, without involving their parents, was genius. You are a great Mom, with good instincts. Girls are so mean -- so happy our middle school years are over.

Lindy said...

Wow - Nice job Mom! I'm thoroughly impressed with how you handled that.

As a Mom of a Kindergarten or plays with older kids and has younger kids play with her I will most likely need to handle this situation and hopefully I do it with as much gut and spark as you did.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to come across as mean and heartless, I certainly don't agree with what took place, but Jana you have said some things in your blog which lead me to believe that this happened for a reason. You've mentioned things like Camber not having bathed since Saturday... today is Wednesday, skid marked underwear, your children wearing dirty laundry instead of clean clothes, Camber's hair being filled with knots, etc. When a child smells bad (and looks unkempt), nobody would want to play with her. Maybe it's time to teach your children about proper personal hygiene. I'm quite appalled that many of your children (and I'm referring to your readers as well) don't shower at least once a day, and would go to bed at night wearing the clothes which they'll be going to school with the next day! That's very poor hygiene and is bound to lead to your children gaining a reputation for smelling (and looking) bad.

I'm pretty sure that many of you are going to start pounding my view, but so be it! My children shower no less than twice a day and wear only clean clothes. They wash off their privates with water whenever they use the loo (ever heard of a bidet?), so there is no skid marks on their undies. Their hair gets combed several times a day, their teeth flossed and brushed after every meal (even at school, the way my parents raised me), and nobody has ever implied that they stink, and I doubt that it will ever happen.

Jackie said...

I have two girls in Middle Schooland I can't tell you how many times they have come home in tears just this year. Girls are way more cruel than boys. I have a son in High School and we don't have any problems with him. I just try to teach my girls to be stong, stand up for yourself and respect yourself. I tell them that if they don't want me to find out about what they are doing, it is a good sign you shouldn't be doing it. We had to spend a whole weekend practicing what to do when you are bullied. My son was more than happy to be the bully LOL.

AverageMom said...

Oh....Oh my god! I cannot believe how MEAN little girls can be! You were much, much calmer than I would have been.

Our family said...

Don't you love how the anonymous option makes people so brave they feel comfortable openly judging and criticizing?

There is actually a psychology behind bullying... and it is much more complex and (I would say) hurtful with girls. I'm with Meme, you need to read "Odd Girl Out" by Rachel Simmons. Recommended to me a few years ago when I was on the receiving end of some girl/girl-ish (it was coming from a group of guys&girls, and I was 24), it really gives you some good insight.

You know what they say... knowledge is power.

Kari M. said...

Hugs to Camber and echoes to much of what has been said (though not all) already.

On a related note, one of my favorite parenting books has been "Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads." It was written by the same author as "Queen Bees and Wannabees" (Rosaline Wiseman), upon which the movie "Mean Girls" was based. While "Queen Bees and Wannabees" is for parents who want to help their girls (much as I'm sure Odd Girl Out is, though I haven't read it), Queen Bee Moms is aimed at helping parents navigate the world of cliques in parenting--among other parents, principally, but also teachers, coaches, etc. Highly recommended.

Thanks for your blog. Since discovering it last week I've read every post and it's been a nice addition to my day.

Lisa said...

Hello!! Whatever to the anonymous comment who says her kids shower no less than TWICE a day. WHO DOES THAT??? She is a lameo. Jana you rock. I say if you are going to leave a comment like that at least show yourself and don't hind being your kids bathing habits.

Alison said...

Ugh! "Anonymous" your comments are ridiculous! You have missed the point entirely...that it is NOT okay to bully and tease regardless of any situation.

And, I feel sorry for your poor little "perfectly clean" children. Live a little! I wouldn't be surprised if they get teased and bullied at some point for being so meticulous (and for having such an anal mother), so stop being so harsh and judgemental! And, if you ARE going to go around judging, at least have the guts to leave your name!

vertigobcooks said...

This is such a tough one. My husband and I were just discussing yesterday how to teach our son (3) to be assertive, but not aggressive. He is tall for his age, so I don't want him to be a bully, but I want him to be confident enough to stand up for himself.

A few weeks ago, he almost got thrown to the ground by some nasty kid at the playground. We have talked about it at length and I have tried to explain to him that it is okay to stand up to a bully. I want him to be able to handle it himself since we won't always be there to defend him.

Luckily, we have never (yet) had to deal with the plain mean spirit of the stuff Camber had to see. Girls can be nasty in a way that boys never come up with. Boys seem to deal with things physically while girls are verbal.

Maybe Camber smells good and they are jealous? Could be.

CurlyQuinn said...

While reading that I started having horrible flashbacks of my childhood. I feel bad for Camber, but I feel worse for you. I think it hurts the parents more to know that you can't take away the pain that was afflicted on your baby (no matter what age).

I agree with mommymel. I have a 4 & 1 yr old and Homeschooling is looking more and more appealing. I want to shelter them from the hurts and horrors of this world as long as possible.

Anonymous said...

Wow.. it is a hot topic. So, I am a new reader of yours. I am also a kindergarten teacher and the mother of three girls, 15, 12 and 8. I have had my share of mean girl crap and I so have my kids. They have all been victims of this kind of thing and to my knowledge, have not participated in it. Most recently my 15 year old lost her best friend of three years when her friend "borrowed" her cell phone and texted to the tune of $587. When we went over to "Cindy's" house, her father screamed at me and said it was all my fault because my daughter had a cell phone with texting on it. So, let me see....Emily has texted a total of 17 times of the over 3000 messages and this is my fault. Flash forward about 2 months... "Cindy" has now also been arrested for shoplifting with her "new and exciting" friends. It was a blessing that this relationship ended and going to high school changed "Cindy" but wow... it just gets worse. It's funny.. my girls say two things consistently: You reap what you sow AND Pretty is as pretty does. So teach it well now.. it is bad out there.

Kelly in NC

Beckie said...

Wow to the Anonymous who is the "Mother of All Cleanliness!" We are sitting here talking about girls beings bullies, looks like we found one in you. How very sad.

Lori said...

I have to say I was mean back. My daughter was three and asked a couple of boys who were probably 5 or 6 to help her clean up the playground. They looked at her and said, "we don't want to do that, you're bad and we kill bad people". Unphased she asked again at which point they started pretend shooting at her, calling her an ugly monster. This made her cry, and with tears in my eyes, I said some mean things to the kids, whose parents obviously didn't love them enough to watch them or listen to them.

Bethany said...

Nothing irks me more than mean girls-- seriously, if I were those parents I would ground them for a loooong time. I lived under the wrath of them for years so I feel for your daughter and all the bullied kids. You did the right thing!

Wryle said...

Poor Camber. I have boys and have dealt with bullying and meanness, but girls tend to take it to a different level -- the passive/aggressive, spiteful level. Wherever 3 or more gather, one is going to be picked on or left out.
I agree with what many have said. You did well to call them out. Too many kids don't understand there are consequences to their actions.
What helped me as a child was having that one friend I knew I could count on no matter what (thanks Jennifer, Liz). If Camber has such a friend, this might be a good time for a play date!
Anonymous, you seem to have your own issues. Bathing your kids too often can cause problems too, and not just the creation of a generation of germaphobes.

Mike and Heather said...

Way to go Jana! I loved how you handled the situation. I think notifying the parents if it happens a *second* time works well. Moms are moms, and (guilty or not) nobody likes to hear that their precious child has done something mean to another, you never know how they'll react. Bringing it to their attention when it has happened multiple times is harder to ignore. You showing them that they will not get away with what they did was great!

Adelina said...

Last week my daughter was made fun of by two little girls in her dance class while the mothers looked on. My little girl (5) burst into tears and came to me. I got her to stop crying and sent her back in. When it was time to leave, she asked why those girls were so mean to her. As we walked by the mothers, I told her that some little girls have nothing better to do than be nasty. And that they learn that from their mommies. I looked directly at the mothers and smiled.

Not that my child is perfect - infact last year she was with a group of little girls that made another little girl cry. I went over and pulled her aside and spoke to her about that type of behavior. She went over to the girl and said that she was sorry.

I don't stand for that at all.

Anonymous said...

Seriously this broke my heart. I have three little girls and am dreading running into this. I know it will happen and I don't know what I will do.

Babbel Family said...

Kids are so mean. I have 4 girls (ages 8- 9 months) and girls are the worst. I try and teach them to have thick skin but truth be told feelings still get hurt. Hang in there, you are awesome!

Kari M. said...

BTW, I think you've now discovered the conspiracy among homebuilders behind (hah, hah) why bidets are NOT generally installed in US homes.

thepurplecow said...

Just a note to "Anonymous" whose children shower twice a day. Oh my h***. Aside from the fact that you are obviously a nut case, you are saying that it is okay to bully kids who don't live by your standards. Which are extreme to say the least. Bullying is NEVER okay.

My oldest daughter (who was a chubby little thing) has permanent scars from her years in grade and middle school. She's grown and married but her little sister is now at that age. Whenever the little one mentions the horrors of the kids on the bus or recess, my oldest goes through it all over again.

My biggest worry is not that my children will get bullied (they all have) but that they will be the bullies. If they ever cause that kind of pain to another human being, I just don't know what I would do.

And I never handle anything well. I think you did a perfect job, Jana.

(And apparently Blogger won't post a comment which mentions the home of Beelzebub. I learned something new today.)

julie said...

so painful when children hurt children. i was so guilty of this as a child. it breaks my heart to think of the pain i caused.
but yesterday my 2nd grader came home with hurt feelings after a teacher (not her own) called her class rude and brats. some kids don't grow up.

Leslie said...

Ugh, why don't they pick on someone their own size? Oh yeah -- because that wouldn't go very far. Good for you for confronting them. You did good. That is exactly what I would have done. Well, I probably wouldn't have sounded as calm as you did ....

You know what's sad? My youngest 2 are in 4th grade and now that they're with the "upper" grade school kids, they aren't the ones terrorizing the little ones, but my DD has gotten mean stuff from some of the "upper" kids, too. She told me yesterday one boy told her she has big teeth. I told her next time to say, "Oh yeah? Well, you have a big butt." I'm so proud. :-) Seriously, she's a beautiful girl and her teeth are perfect and she's going to be a knock out and I just wonder what those little cruddy comments to do a child's self esteem.

Kate said...

Way to go! I'm so glad you made those hateful girls clean it up and I hope their mothers read your blog! If I found out my child did this she would not only be cleaning up the chalk, she's be carrying her bucket to your house to wash your windows!

Anonymous said...

It seems that some people need to go back to school and learn basic comprehension skills. When on earth did I say that it was acceptable for anyone to bully someone else? I started my comment by saying that I do NOT agree with what took place. I never have and never will condone bullying.

That said, my point to Jana (and to whomever else it applies) is that children don't want to be around people who smell anymore than adults wish to be around people who smell. Jana herself posted in one of her posts that her daughter hadn't showered in a few days and was starting to smell. I'm not calling Camber smelly, but if the mother publicly blogs that her daughter is smelling (due to lack of frequent showering) and then other children don't want to play with her for the same reason, then it's time for mother and child to look at the child's hygiene habits.

I can't believe that so many people find it acceptable to not shower daily, but to each his own. A child who refuses to play with a little girl because she can't take the offensive odour emanating from that girl's body is not a bully. Writing a message like that on the street however is totally unacceptable, and not the way to deal with such situations, and I completely applaud Jana for standing up for her daughter. I DO think that Jana should inform the parents' of the children who wrote those nasty messages so that those children can learn the proper way to handle unpleasant situations, but at the same time Jana has to address the issue of the odour which emanates from her daughter's body and be realistic about the way in which it will be perceived by others.

Rachel said...

So sad. and mean. Why are little girls like that?

Carmen said...

Lots of comments already so I'll just say the first thing that popped into my head.

"Those little BASTARDS!"

I have no idea what I'll do when something similar happens but I think you handled it well... although I think I'd still go talk to the parents. This is a form of bullying and fourth graders should know better than to treat a 5 year old like that.

Jo said...

If I could call for a little mercy for the mean girls. I was raised by wonderful parents and have become (I hope) a pretty decent human being. But,I have to admit that I occasionally did mean things as a child, 'tween, and teen as I tried to fit in with my peers. Kids' brains are still developing and at ten years old, they just don't have the same capacity for judgment that an adult should. Sometimes kids do mean and stupid things because, they're well, kids.

Being immature is not an excuse, of course. I think Jana did a great job holding the girls accountable. Kids should be responsible for their actions. And it may not be that their parents have spawned bad seeds, it might just be that they're raising fallible human beings. Of course, that doesn't make it any easier when you or your kid is the one being bullied.

I dread the times I know are coming when my kids will be hurt by others. But even more heart-rending is knowing that even though I try really hard to teach my kids to be nice, that they're likely going to screw up and be THAT MEAN KID sometime. Hopefully, it will be an isolated incident and not a chronic character trait. And when my kids screw up, hopefully we can make it better.

Something I tried to teach my students is that it's not the things that others say and do to you that will keep you awake at nights as an adult--it's the things you said and did to others.

melinda said...

you are a much better person than me. if that were my driveway i seriously think it would have involved jail time at a minimum. bless your heart! i have two daughters, one is 20, the is 18. my oldest has always had a difficult time making friends, the youngest is the life of whatever place she is attending. it got much harder for my oldest when jr. high rolled around and the few friends she had made were in different classes than her and they had very little time to socialize. she is shy and people tend to take that as her being snotty. what did her mama do about it? we involved ourselves in every aspect of her life, we did fun family outting events and stuff like that. now that she is an adult, we truly are friends and not just mother/daughter. i wish you all the luck in the world! just wait till the dating starts. i've had more than one come to jesus meeting with a boy on my front porch :)btw, I am NC born & bred ... I see you're a Duke fan ... girl! what happened to them last night?

Carmen said...

Oh and FYI to anonymous:

http://www.nutralegacy.com/blog/general-healthcare/too-much-bathing-results-in-dry-itchy-skin/

As a person with eczema its pretty widely understood that bathing every other day, especially children with eczema, is healthier than daily bathing. Daily bathing is okay if you take appropriate care to moisturize afterward, however bathing twice a day can reduce the protective nature of your skin.

Anonymous said...

Wow Anonymous....its mothers like you that give all the rest of us a bad name. If all I had to do in a day was make sure my children bathe and use a bidet life would be peachy....sadly, I actually let my children play outside and then go to bed (GASP!!)without bathing(you may faint now)

I wonder - do you understand sarcasm?????? And can you laugh? Seriously.....I bet you have a "see but don't touch" approach to life, which sooner or later is gonna make your kids go completely beserk!

kimbo said...

We recently had to face this with our 8-year old daughter. We were able to nip the behavior in the bud before it got out of hand and the behavior became a habit. There are four girls the same age on our loop that have played together beautifully until just a few months ago, when one of the girls decided that she wanted J to be just her best friend, to the exclusion of the others - she said unkind things about the others, obvious whispers in front of the excluded ones, talks about plans for parties/trips/treats that excluded the others, 'anonymous' notes left around for the others to find, eye rolling when the others tried to participate or be included, etc. I especially hate the eye rolling and the snotty contemptuous attitude.

At first I thought it was just a one-time thing, but when the pattern continued, I talked about it with the other parents. We parents sat all of the girls down together and talked about it. It boiled down to what we are now calling our "NO mean girls" talk. At first, all four of the girls denied it (I think the excluded ones were afraid we'd make things worse by talking about it). Eventually they all talked it out and they came up with their own new rules - We don't exclude each other, don't whisper secrets, don't spread rumors/say unkind things, don't hide from the others at recess, etc. In fact, they all wanted to learn how to embroider, so their first samplers all say "NO mean girls" with the understanding that it will hang next to their bathroom mirrors. Corny, I know, but I'm hoping it will be permanently etched in their brains somewhere if they read it enough every time they brush their teeth.

I think some kids have to be told openly, in no uncertain wishy washy terms that that sort of behavior just is not acceptable - some kids will push behavior boundaries until they're told to stop. Luckily for us, all of the families involved are good friends, and we were all united in expressing our expectations for their behavior. All four of these girls are basically wonderful, sweet kids from loving homes.

Since our little sit-down, it's gotten better. As they're getting older, their tastes and interests are already diverging. We parents are sad to admit that they probably won't be best friends their entire lives. That's fine - but they do have to be kind and respectful of EVERYONE around them.

World's Greatest Mommy said...

It's so hard. My kiddos have been on the receiving end. I hold them while they cry. I tell them that it's going to be okay, and how wonderful they are. I tell them just how much I love them. I make sure the meanie knows that I know. I find subtle ways to add joy every day to their lives...so that they always have something to look forward to. I also tell them about the bullies from my past...emphasizing that they all end up working the drive-thru lane as a career.

brossettelewis said...

Someone did that to our drive way and I told her she couldn't play on our driveway anymore. I then spilled my water on it and we went to chalk in the back yard. Yes I am 5 yrs old too. Don't mess with my babies!

3 Little Snaps said...

4th grade girls are mean..I should know I have one! My hope is that I have done my job and she would never be that mean to a younger child (or really any child). She has had run ins with other 4th grade girls this year and it has been unpleasant. I know that it only gets worse as the middle school years get closer and your skin has to grow stronger and thicker...

Jennifer said...

It's not just little girls. Boys can be little stinkers too. My son has "social issues" and the boys in the neighborhood don't play with him. They'll stare at him or ask him why he's so weird. I just wanna go over there and whack them. He's an 8yr old boy with an imagination. Leave him alone. Sorry, now I'm ranting. :)

JO said...

Kids can be so mean. That is just heartbreaking. We have had these issues form time to time and it just plain stinks. I try to downplay it as much as possible so I don't reinforce a victim mentality. But I know it still hurts.

I try hard to enforce kindness and compassion and soothe hurt feelings when they are on the receiving end and hopefully theu will remember and follow suit.

Nice blog.

JO

www.teensandtriplets.blogspot.com

Kindness

Leslie said...

"That said, my point to Jana (and to whomever else it applies) is that children don't want to be around people who smell anymore than adults wish to be around people who smell. Jana herself posted in one of her posts that her daughter hadn't showered in a few days and was starting to smell."

Just a hint to anonymous ... since you read Jana's blog you should already know that Jana takes creative license to laugh about the mundane and even dark side of being a parent. And, if you've noticed the family pics, the entire family is clean cut and put together.

I might complain when my kids "stink", but that's only to me, their mom, because as a mom we PURPOSELY sniff out our kids or at least are up in their faces when we cuddle them. If you think those grade schoolers were up sniffing Jana's kid ... well, that's just not a picture I want to imagine!

Michele S said...

Anon- Don't make us kick you back across the pond. Who showers their kids twice a day? That's hilarious! You're attitude stinks!

April said...

Oh gosh ... I am dreading these days. My oldest starts kindergarten in the fall and he is a sensitive soul ... I hope he can toughen up before then. I am glad Camber wasn't too upset ... and good job, mom for handling it the way you did!!

Cami said...

I've been reading a comment from "Anonymous" and chuckling. I don't think she gets you Jana. Although, I would consider her part of the "Mean Mom" tribe....who the heck makes their kids bath TWICE a day and floss their teeth at school?! Congratulations Anonymous! You are now officially considered a MEAN MOM!!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

So I had to comment and I never really do, but when I was about 8 all the neighborhood girls who were 3 years older than me wrote on my driveway in sidewalk chalk 101 reasons to hate Kelly, all over my sidewalk, my driveway we lived on a culd-a-sac so you can imagine. It was devastating for me, they picked on me all the time anyway and now it was out in the open for all to see. My mother flipped out and called a "neighborhood family meeting" which consisted of her embaressing me even more in front of everyone. So I guess now that I have a daughter of my own and if it ever happens to her I would do what I wanted my mom to do, either A. do what you did and stick up for me (just not right in front of me) or B. just be there for me and understand if I didnt' want to talk about it.
So in my opinion you did the right thing..:)

Kelly

and..P.S. you crack me up, literally on a daily basis.I had to stop reading your blog at work cause I cannot stop myself from laughing out loud.

Kristen said...

Jana,
Do you write you own 'annonymous' comments just to get the reaction from others? The anonymous comment from the mom who bathes kids 2x a day (and flosses them after every meal)is too bizarre to be real.

Are you for real 'anonymous'? If you are GET HELP!

Emma said...

Ugh, I'll definitely be reading these comments to get ideas for the future. We have already had one or two instances of older kids making fun of my 18-month-old. She thinks they're playing with her and gets really excited and happy, laughs, claps, etc. It's heartbreaking even though she doesn't know what's going on, I think.

Emily Cobb Henry said...

First, to the ever-lovely Anonymous...
Personally, I had always thought that it was not GOOD for children to bathe every day (save for the summer when they're outside and sweaty and filthy all day long). The water and soap dry out their skin unnecessarily, and it can actually HARM them.

But hey, what do I know? I'm only a mother of two and a Masters-trained elementary and middle school teacher.

So I decided to do a little research, and typed "how often children bathe" in a Google search. The results were overwhelmingly similar and backed my original beliefs:
Children should only be bathed as often as necessary (i.e. as often as they're ACTUALLY DIRTY), and for most children, bathing EVERY OTHER DAY or even A FEW TIMES A WEEK is more than sufficient.

To quote Dr. Daniel Neuspiel, Associate Chairman of Pediatrics at Beth Israel Medical Center:
"It's probably better NOT TO BATHE KIDS (emphasis mine), certainly, MORE THAN ONCE A DAY, and many kids may only tolerate being bathed once or twice a week."

Don't believe me? Check out the expert advice for yourself:
BabyCenter's Dr. David Geller, Pediatrician
http://www.babycenter.com/404_my-child-hates-to-bathe-how-often-is-it-really-necessary_70649.bc

Dr. Spock.com's Dr. Robert Needlman, Pediatrician
http://www.drspock.com/faq/0,1511,8183,00.html

Healthline.com's Dr. David R. Marks and Dr. Daniel Neuspiel, Pediatricians
http://www.healthline.com/hgy-transcripts/kids-hygiene


Also? I would guess that Jana was being, you know, funny. Because she uses humor and stuff like that when she writes. And so maybe when she's talking that her kids "stink" or that they haven't bathed in days, it just COULD be that she was using hyperbole or trying to be sarcastic. Just a thought...

-----------------

Jana,
I've been reading your blog for many months now and absolutely love it. Thanks for your insights into Mean Mothering; I am a proud member of the club. :o)

This story, however, didn't leave me laughing... it actually had me in tears. I have since had a big ol' discussion with many of my mommy friends about what we'd do in a similar situation, because although my children are only 4 and 2, I know it will happen to them someday.

I'm so sorry that Camber had to experience such nastiness, but so glad that you stepped in and were Super Mom. I'm equally glad that you shared this story, because it gave me, my husband, and my friends a lot to think about, and I hope that when we're faced with a similar situation, I'll have the courage and clarity to act as you did.

Anonymous said...

That is why I only let Madeline be friends with boys- girls are too mean! Give me their names and numbers- We will take care of it!:)

thetallgrl said...

THIS is precisely why I will be crying when my daughter enters kindergarten in the fall. I was always teased and picked on (I was tall and skinny and freckly). It hurts and you remember it for a long time. I can't stand the idea that my daughter will soon have to experience that hurt as well.

Being a parent is like having your heart walking around outside your body. And attending kindergarten.

I remember my mother always telling me how special and wonderful I was. It meant a lot to me. And eventually we make REAL friends who care about us and appreciate us for who we are.

Good job, Mean Mom!

Liz said...

That's just plain mean... kids can be SO mean.

My daughter's school has an Anti-Bully program. Pretty cool.

All the kids at my son's preschool made fun of him on pajama day last Dec. b.c he wore his stripped xmas pj's with matching hat. They called him an elf. He was devastated. I tried to convince him that they were all just jealous b/c only he could be santa's elf.. poor guy!

Unfortuantely, it's never ending abuse... adults can be just as mean!

prdmommyof3 said...

So...what do you do when YOUR daughter is the one being mean? Though I am aware that my 9 year old does her (more than) fair share of caddy acts, I can not help but feel it is a defense she has picked up from her years on the receiving end. Before she started school she was honestly the sweetest, most kind little girl!

I can not count the times we have had the "if you don't have anything nice to say.." talk or the one that entails "control your attitude."

The day that my daughter comes home without some dramatic story of why she is no longer someone's friend, or why they are friends again, will be a milestone in our house. DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA.

This is one rollercoaster that I for one would like to get off.

It's odd...my 7 yr old son has NO DRAMA, nor attitude, or trouble playing nicely for that matter.

Girls are so mean. At least you just have one!

Good luck

Marlinch said...

Wow this brought back memories from my childhood, I just hope my daughter never has to go through it. I know how your daughter feels, at first I was always confused, then I understood when I would find myself alone at school..and I would cry, thank goodness for Mr. B. Anyhow just give her hugs, hugs and more hugs :o)

Emily said...

A friend told me to check out your blog, and I honestly like it, kids can be cruel, it's good to know what to do in cases like this though, thanks for bringing it up.

LeMira said...

I taught 4th grade for a couple of years, and this is definitely classic of that age. Way to go by being assertive.

Amy said...

I really hate girls...when it is your child receiving the "love" you want to kick the c**p out of the girls. However, I think it is WORSE being the parent of the one giving the "love"... I think that sometimes it is good for us and our children to receive a little hurt to our souls because it makes us more aware of others and the effects of the things we say/do.

Chaos In Iowa said...

This is almost the exact situation that gave me my "meanest mom" title on our block. When I asked the neighbor girls who wrote on our driveway, they blamed the boy across the street. On my way to his house, I recruited the help of the girl's dad to help me "solve this mystery". He didn't want to believe that his daughter was involved but brought one of her English papers over to compare the handwriting. Well, it matched her writing and He was so embarrassed that his daughter had done this to us. Aside from being grounded, she and her parents came to personally apologize, daughter and mom in tears, plus she wrote us a letter of apology. I was grateful that she came from a good family who cared enough to follow through. It was a learning experience for all of us on the block: my kids learned how much words can hurt, how even good kids can make poor choices and also that those choices have consequences. Jana - you rock! You are a hero around our MOPS group! Thanks for sharing the funny along with the painful. Who knew that sidewalk chalk could be a weapon? Keep up the great parenting and perspective on our lives as mean moms! :)

CWK said...

As a licensed professional counselor and a mother of three school aged children (1 girl and 2 boys), I find keeping an open and honest dialogue with your children about their feelings and how they want to be treated and TREAT others is important. It is always a challenge for me to balance protecting my children (and any child) and meddling. An age and maturity difference is a must intervene (in my opinion) situation. Physical violence or gang up (many against one) is another.

HollyB said...

poor girl, what is even sadder, is that this won't be the last time she will have to deal with things like this. You need to teach her how to deal with it and remember to "love our enemies" when you have love in your heart, there's no room for the pain. good luck... and good job with the older kids... I would chase them down! :)

Petris said...

Saddly, it seems as if we've all been there. I can remember COUNTLESS times I have been humiliated and embarrassed infront of many people, mostly classmates and IT IS NOT FUN. There is nothing about having an experience like that that makes you feel better about yourself at all. But it was a loving Mum that made me feel like I was in cloud nine. (Thank goodness for wonderful parents!) Now being a Mum to three girlies myself, I am not at all looking forward to them going through it, but in the end, if you are a girl, chances are you will. Sad. I just hope I can be as great as a Mum to my girls as mine was for me. It helped. A lot.

Good luck Jana.

Raven said...

I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to say... you are a good mom! And a nice one at that, I would have snapped photos and had thier parents waiting for them when they got off the bus. I am not nearly as nice or patient with little twits!

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Brooke said...

It really can be totally about the other person. In 9th grade there was a girl in one of my classes who hated me and I couldn't figure out why. The next summer we went to girls' camp and she wound up in my tent group. She acted fine there. So I asked her why she didn't like me so much the previous school year. Her response was, "You know how sometimes you just have to have someone to hate?..." Um, no. I don't know that. But I do remember almost 20 years later how that felt.

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