Today was a first…
Devyn started going to this school in 2009 as a preschooler. And never once in those four years has she ever once mentioned a mean girl. Devyn gets along with everybody, and I mean everybody. When other mothers mentioned their children were having problems with the same girl at school, Devyn was completely oblivious to it all. She had no idea what I was talking about when I brought it up.
So bells started ringing when she mentioned that a girl in her class was being mean to her. Naturally my inner mama bear threatened to come to the surface, but I managed to calm her (the bear, not Devyn) down and walk Dev through the appropriate ways to handle the situation. Talk to the teacher, talk to the student, etc.
But when a few days later, Devyn came home and mentioned that the same girl had shoved her in PE class… Oh hell no, some girl did not just touch my daughter!
The ensuing conversation that took place between Jon, Devyn, and I was downright comical as I calmed Devyn, tried to pacify an upset Daddy (whose response was simply to push the girl back and harder), and rein in my own feelings. And once Nana and Aunt Ney found out about it, oy vey. It made our scene at home pale in comparison. Unfortunately said scene sent Devyn running in tears, to the other room because, and I quote, “I don’t want to push her back. I can’t do that!” (My sweet, sensitive Devyn. I love you for it!)
Cooler heads prevailed and I scheduled a meeting with the teacher instead.
As I told the teacher, had the bullying stayed at the verbal level, I would’ve encouraged Devyn to continue talking to her teacher. I definitely wouldn’t have requested a parent-teacher conference so early in the process, but physical touching of any kind is simply unacceptable. And neither is avoiding the situation, which is Devyn’s coping method of choice right now. That does neither child any favors; one learns to avoid unpleasant situations and the other learns that her behavior will allow her a pass in life.
I want Devyn to be equipped and empowered to handle these situations; to know that she is capable of standing up for herself. And that her mama and daddy have her back, completely and whole-heartedly. I am her advocate in these early years of learning what is, and what is not, acceptable. And unwanted physical touching is absolutely not allowed.
Her teacher was amazing. She listened, she brainstormed with me, we came up with a good game plan. And I’m confident that this will be nipped in the bud sooner, rather than later. It especially warmed my heart when she had Devyn come back in and included her in the discussion of everyone’s role in all of this. And we both reiterated that the adults are a safe place, teacher or parent, she is safe to go to either one.
I don’t think we’ll hear much from the classmate again once the teacher has said her piece. At least I hope not, for the classmate’s sake. I don’t think Mama Bear has anything on Daddy Bear, Nana Bear, and Auntie Bear. Yikes.