I've written about our experiences with our daughter being a bully starting in Kindergarten, again in 1st grade, and realizing things about her personality that play into her bullying.
Last night, more evidence of her mean side came through.
Over winter break, Teagan had a playdate with a little girl in her class. The playdate included another boy they are friends with and a girl that the host girl is friends with from her old school. By all accounts from the kids and the parents, everyone had a great time. Teagan has continued to be good friends with the 2 kids who go to her school. The other girl has never been mentioned since.
Yesterday, I was checking the papers in Teagan's school folder to check her schoolwork and see about her homework for that evening. My heart stopped when I found this:
Looks innocent enough- until you read it. "Laniy, are enmey." Erased in pencil at the top "I hat you."
I stood with it in my hand and asked Teagan, "What is this?"
She froze. She got upset. She apologized. I opened it up.
Wow. Now, part of me wanted to laugh. Like a gorilla?? But most of me was hurting inside because my daughter had to have been filled with a drive to be cruel. She had an audience- a friend in her class- that she showed it to and they laughed. Then she put it away in her folder and forgot that she was bringing it home.
The back of the card.
"I am not your friend. I am onley friends with nice people. Mean people or you (couldn't read the rest)"
Now, this kid doesn't go to Teagan's school. This wasn't shown to this girl. This wasn't seen by the in-common friend who hosted the playdate (she was out sick yesterday). This was something Teagan says she did on her own and laughed about with another friend.
She cried. She apologized.
I don't know how but I stayed calm throughout. But I was pretty dang mad about it.
I talked about how writing such mean things about someone you don't even know really tells me that Teagan is feeling some yucky stuff inside of herself. That I can tell she is feeling bad on the inside because her evening up until that point had been emotional and whiny.
So she didn't exactly bully. But she pulled a mean girl stunt to gain approval from another friend. I asked how she thought the in-common friend would have felt if she had seen what Teagan wrote. I asked how Teagan would feel if someone else wrote that about one of her friends- or about her.
No TV in our house last night. She was just sitting down to eat when I found it so she finished dinner, got a shower, off to bed. Homework had already been completed at that point. After she was showered and in her pajamas, I asked her to write 10 nice things about this other girl, "Laniy." Jeff pointed out that she might not be able to since she doesn't know her very well. I explained to her and to him- that's my point. If you can sit down and writ mean things about someone you don't really know, then you can certainly sit down and write nice things. 10 nice things about this girl, 10 things about Teagan that are nice.
This morning, we talked about finding 3 ways to be kind at school today- beyond the basics of what she already does and already enjoys.
Jeff and I talked about our fears- that when she is a teen, she will be one of those uber-popular mean girls and will be heading up the Burn Book and tagging other kids to get picked on and directing her minions to do her bullying for her. And that's why we address it every time it comes up. We could have just laughed off that card. We could have joked about it. We could have made light of it. We could have ignored it and just thrown it away.
But my daughter is someone who needs more than that. My daughter needs some consistent redirection when this side of her comes out. And that is what she will get from us each and every time something like this happens.