My daughter (11) has a friend who is very difficult to get along with. I'm curious about others' opinions on the friend's behavior and also about how I can help my daughter best deal with it. (Thankfully they don't see each other a whole lot).
The friend is on medication for ADHD. She engages in what I would classify as bullying behavior. She doesn't hit hard, but she's constantly in my daughter's (and other kids') personal space, poking, pushing, slapping at arms, etc. Telling her to stop has no effect. She'll also take my daughter's (and other kids') things and refuse to give them back despite being asked, destroy other people's things, etc.
Where it gets dicey is that when my daughter (or whoever) reaches her limit and finally smacks back in desperation or yells or what have you, this friend will burst into tears. "You hit my arm!" "You're so mean, how could you say that!" With my daughter, this usually occurs in my home and I'm aware of what came before it, so I can react accordingly. But when I say, "Ok, she hit your arm. But she is saying you hit her first. Did you?" "Well yes. But she hit me harder." "She says she asked you repeatedly to stop and you wouldn't. Is that true?" "Yes, but....(some reason why it's always the other kid's fault)".
In other situations, with strangers (like today at a camp they attended together), what usually transpires is she pushes and pushes until the others lose patience and react, and then she bursts into tears and reports the other kids for bullying. At camp today, while the counselor had stepped away, she began throwing water all over the other campers who were in their clothing and didn't want to get wet. She was asked to stop and kept doing it until the other girls were fed up. My daughter verbally confronted her and told her that enough is enough, while some of the other girls held her down and soaked her and she started to cry. The counselor walked in at this point and guess what? The other campers were lectured about treating her badly!
The week of camp is over, thank goodness.. and I don't think we'll see this kid again for a long while (it's been a long week). I'm curious though, about what others think. I'm very good friends with this girl's mother and would like to be able to talk to her about it, but I want to try to be objective. (One interesting observation: I know that the mother views her daughter as being a victim of bullying and not a bully herself).
First, what is your take on the girl's behavior? Would you classify her as a bully?
Secondly, how should a kid like this be handled by other kids? If you do nothing, she keeps pestering and tormenting until you react. When you react, she cries.
Thanks in advance for any advice.
She's not a bully. She may be later, but currently she throwing tantrums. Hence the drama over getting hit. First she hits to get attention, them she get dramatic over getting hit. Tell your daughter everytime she is hit by the girl to hit he back. And when she cries walk away.
The hit back part teaches your daughter to not let people just hit you for one, but this girl will get attention she doesn't like. The when she tries to get sympathy attention and your daughter walk away, she can't get that either.
So she ends up not getting the response she want either time. She will eventually leave your daughter alone or stay friends but not hit her.
Some times when there is bullying behavior from one person, the victim responds back with bullying behavior of their own. When I was a counselor in an elementary school, I was often dealing with this situation. Parents need to understand that if they suggest to their children that they respond to a bullying situation in school with bullying behaviors of their own, their child may find themselves in trouble. I have many suggestions to offer children who are being bullied. Since there are so many ways to bully children, the suggestions are too numerous to write here. I completed a whole series about bullying at my website parentsharing.org. There I not only give suggestions about what to do, but also provide some good resources for information about bullying. Hope your daughter finds a good way to deal with this situation and this girl because you and I both know that she will face this type of person many times in her life.
Let your daughter know that her friend does not know what is socially acceptable. She isn't doing those things to be mean, she is just unaware. Your daughter can simply tell her friend, I don't like it when I am hit and I am not going to tolerate that anymore. Then walk away. Or, I don't like it when my things are destroyed and I am not going to tolerate it. Then she takes her things and leaves.
Tell your daughter not to say things like "I don't like it when YOU hit me" because it then turns into blame and accusations. Or possibly justifications like "I didn't hit you that hard". It is not about how her friend is acting, it is about how your daughter expects to be treated by everyone.
Here's the deal,
I'm guessing there is more going on the adhd. I would bet there are sensory issues at the very least. Children with adhd and similar issues have no awareness of how they're "in your space" They don't always understand that they aren't maintaining appropriate boundaries. To make matters more complicated, they feel and sense things BIGGER then they are! This creates the situation your child is in. This friend doesn't realize they are in the personal space of others or how rough they are being...and then when your child responds this child feels it "bigger" then it probably was!
All that said, I don't believe this child is purposfully "bullying". This doesn't help your child though. I would first explain some of this to your child...give them perspective. Then maybe be more organized in activites..(take them bowling for example it's structured and doesn't involve close contact). Don't allow them to go off and play independently, be in direct supervision to help negotiate arguements and to help them understand boundaries. I would also contact the school guidance counselor with your concerns.