What would you do when your 5-year-old comes home everyday with tales of ‘C says I’m naughty but I’m not!’ ‘C says I smell’ ‘C always tells on me’ ‘C doesn’t want to play with me’….
We have generally encouraged Georgia to avoid playing with C, “Play with someone else” we say; “Ignore her, if she wants to be nasty you don’t have to play with her”.
But I remember being nine, in Standard 3 in primary school and always having ‘trouble’ with one particular girl.
Even at that age, I thought she was mean, conniving and generally not very nice, she told lies with the sweetest smile ever; but looking at her you’d never have guessed it – she was cute and sweet and very pretty, and for some bizzare reason, for that one particular year our paths always crossed and we always had run-ins; in short, for a while, she was the bane of my life!
I think eventually I learnt to avoid her, choosing other friends to play with, and as we got older (we stayed in the same school) but we got placed in different classes, based on different subject choices, and thankfully I didn’t ever have quite another experience like that throughout the rest of my school life!
Now I must admit, I’m not very good at confrontation – being a typical ‘Rabbit’ through and through, I seek to avoid any form of confrontation if remotely possible; so lucky for me then, but now that I find myself older, I am none the wiser in dealing with issues of this type – and it frustrates me no end that I can’t help Georgia navigate this minefield of ‘female-dom’ any better.
In the run-up to Christmas (2010) last year, C kept being mentioned, and it was always in the context of, ‘C says my angel costume isn’t as pretty as hers’; ‘C says I’m naughty but I’m not’ ‘C says my angel wings are ugly’; by all accounts, C sounded like one ‘not very nice’ child. But I know Georgia, and much as I love her, I do know she can most of the time stand up for herself and give as good as she gets, usually, which makes her no angel either.
So my responses then, were along the lines of ‘Why did she say that?’ ‘What did you do?’ (Typical of me (!) -to expect that my child must have been nasty to warrant such comments) It progressively got to the point where it was upsetting her so much she didn’t want to go to school!
So I had a word with her Class teacher and mentioned that Georgia was upset at C’s behaviour. Her general response was ‘I hear what you’re saying but it’s the end of term and they are all tired and grouchy, but we will keep and eye on it’, and so I left it at that.
We had a C-free Christmas and New Year but when the new term started, the C stories generally started again. It was half-way through the term when I found out from another mum, that Georgia was not C’s only target! It was a thankful revelation, a bit like a solidarity, even if it technically was a solidarity of being victims.
Armed with this little store of knowledge, and the C stories continuing at home, I talked to her teacher once more and this time came away with this response ‘There really is just a personality clash. They are both strong characters and both very similar.’
The peace-maker in me reigned – I left it at that, fuming and rather annoyed but saying no more.
We occassionally have a week free of C-mentions and I claim those as my weeks of calm. Generally though, C has been a constant virtual visitor in our house every day, and we have repeated our advice ‘Play with someone else’ ‘Ignore what she says’ over and over until yesterday the penny dropped.
It finally occurred to me, that maybe Georgia wasn’t tell us to ask for help in ‘solving’ the situation, she just wanted us to listen!
So today, when the C stories started again, we listened, and we encouraged her to think of ways she could feel better and deal with C better.
I keep wondering though, is this the best we can do? Do the realities of life, of there being unkind, nasty people in the world, really have to start at age 5?
Have you encountered this? How did you deal with it? Any advice, thoughts or comments would be gratefully received!
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