Dealing with a bully

I’m going to be the first to admit that being a parent doesn’t make you know all about parenting. In fact, I think I need some advice on the subject of bullying.

Last Saturday, Sophie had an encounter at the Singapore Flyer, where an older girl, who is probably 4 or 5 year old, walked up to her and pulled her T-shirt. Now I know that all little girls have an indescribable affection for the mouthless kitty, which Sophie was wearing that day. But pulling for whatever reasons, is just not nice.

Sophie in her irresistible Hello Kitty top

I could tell that Sophie was shell shocked by the girl’s behavior and I told the girl sternly that she can not pull my daughter’s shirt. She released her grip immediately and replied to me in a foreign language. I looked around for her parents but they were no where in sight. The girl skipped along shortly but the incident left me wondering, what if the other child used more strength and pulled her shirt and Sophie fell over? Or what if Sophie came face to face with a pulling or shoving bully?

As I related the incident to Alexis in the car, I was candidly telling him that Sophie should push the girl’s hand away and swung my fist out dramatically to make my point. Sophie’s reaction to my suggestion was ,”No mummy, don’t do that”.

I paused, rather shocked at my initial response and thought, “Great, I am teaching her to retaliate and fight back.” Needless to say I promptly told her that mummy only demonstrated what she should not do (Like she didn’t know already).

I added that if it happened to her again, she should tell an adult if we’re not with her. Some of my friends also suggested that she should say,” No” to the bully or tell them, “Don’t do that.” But if they are bigger sized, then perhaps walking or running away may be a safer option.

Have you taught your child how to respond if they were faced with a bully? What would you say, if you were me? And yes, that was also a reminder that Sophie is watching and picking up what I say and more importantly what I do… so I’m going to be on my best mummy behavior.

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  1. Be Be Choo September 24, 2011 at 11:43 am Reply

    I had the same encounter. I told the boy to stop pulling Lindy’s shirt n I told him it was very rude. On the same day during bedtime, we recalled the things we did on the day n I taught her if anyone pull her shirt or hair, tell the person “Please stop.” If the person is too rude, she can slap the hand n tell him to stop. I practice with her. I pull her collar n she slap my hand n ask me to stop.

  2. A Juggling Mom September 24, 2011 at 12:49 pm Reply

    Yes her child care teacher also taught me to teach her with role play or read to her books on the topic of bullying.

  3. Ivy Teo September 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm Reply

    My gal will probably hit or bite that gal back. Lol. Your little gal is so good gal.

  4. Be Be Choo September 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm Reply

    It is just that moment I felt very angry when I saw Lindy in a shock n with her independent personality she didn’t know how to respond to such
    behavior. It happened in the morning in the PD clinic n took me a day to think of the best way to explain to Lindy. Most importantly is to stress to her it is very rude to do such act.

  5. Nina Lee September 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm Reply

    I dunno why but ovann seems to get it alot of times, by classmates or other kids at playground/public places. He doesn’t know how to respond to such encounters and will just freeze there, and look for me for help. He’s been pushed, shovel and hair pulled. I sometimes hope he wld retaliate like ivy’s gal 🙂

  6. Lin Shuduan September 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm Reply

    Wah… I’m surprised by Sophie’s response… Good girl!!

  7. A Juggling Mom September 24, 2011 at 3:09 pm Reply

    Sophie got pushed by an older boy at the PD before too. His grandma was so apologetic but the boy refused to say sorry. I didn’t want his grandma to feel bad but I told Sophie not to play with him and she must never push other children.

  8. Susan Koh September 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm Reply

    Ivy: H is fierce, but all in self defense. So no worries that she’ll get bullied.

  9. Susan Koh September 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm Reply

    Nina: perhaps can try Be Be’s method of doing role play to teach him how to react the next time Ovann gets bullied.

  10. Be Be Choo September 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm Reply

    The boy pull Lindy’s shirt was a foreigner. Very rude n no apology. His parents just watched n no comment. He pull Lindy shirt n run at the same time very dangerous. Anyway it is good to let them first experience it when we r around them to protect them. Subsequently have to teach then how to protect themselves.

  11. A Juggling Mom September 24, 2011 at 6:27 pm Reply

    Yes, we can’t always be around to protect them and it’s important to instill in them the correct values, so that they don’t be the bully themselves.

  12. Klessis September 26, 2011 at 10:39 am Reply

    Your girl is such a sweet girl. 🙂 I don’t have such dilemma because my girls will defend themselves without me telling them to, which is not exactly a good thing at times. If another kid comes tugging their shirts, they will go ‘EH!!’… LOL.. afterwhich the kid would likely be scared away. =P

    • Susan September 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm Reply

      That’s called self-defense. I’m sure your sweeties are not so fierce all the time.

  13. Adora September 26, 2011 at 11:15 am Reply

    Yikes. Poor Sophie. Poppy comes home from school and tells me about both physical (bites, pinches, pushes) and verbal (she’s got a notorious classmate that says horrible things like “You have no mummy or daddy to love you”) bullying.

    I’ve taught her to tell the teacher immediately if she is bullied, and to add in a loud scream if it’s physical and never ever to retaliate. I tell her that the kids do that because they are naughty, and if she does the same, she’d be naughty too. It’s not her job, but the teacher’s to punish them.

    If I’m around, like at the playground, and there are other naughty kids who insist on playing with whatever Poppy is playing, I’ll say it to her but loud enough so the other kids’ parents can hear too “It’s OK you can share your toys, because you’re a good girl right?” or “You can let gege have a go at the swing first, and then when he’s done, you can swing. You know how to take turns, don’t you?”. And then I’ll bring her aside and whisper to her that gege is a little too rough and naughty and I’d rather she not play with him.

    Bullying sucks!! But it’s ever present 🙁

    • Susan September 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm Reply

      Yes and bully can even be more ugly when they get older with nasty taunting and teasing. Just have to teach them to stand up for themselves and impart the right values to build up their character.
      Yes at times when the older kids starts shoving, I’ll tell her that it’s not an acceptable behavior and tell her we are not playing with them. I don’t understand how some parents can stand around and not doing anything when their kids are rowdy.

  14. Ruth September 26, 2011 at 11:19 am Reply

    My boy’s not encountered bullying yet but I think it’s good to start thinking about it. The role playing method seems a good way to teach children, thanks!

    • Susan September 28, 2011 at 12:25 am Reply

      While we can’t prepare them for everything that comes their way, teaching them how to respond to bullies is definitely something that will be useful as they grow older.

  15. SHMILY September 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm Reply

    Hi Susan,
    Wow, Im amazed!
    Sophie is such a great girl! 🙂 Cant wait for your future posts… 🙂

  16. Madeline September 27, 2011 at 1:46 am Reply

    Omg this reminds me of the time a little boy (about age 3) walked past my girl and punched her in the back becos his parents didn’t give him what he wanted! The parents quickly pulled him away of course but both of us stood there and looked shocked (happened too quickly for us to react!) I felt really bad for my girl, she’s only 14 months old!

    • Susan September 28, 2011 at 12:34 am Reply

      Oh mine how could he treat her as a punching bag? That’s so awful. Bet his parents were so embarrassed and felt bad too. But still… I would have shouted at the kid for his out burst.

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