Children are unnecessarily cruel at times, thoughtless and self obsessed. A school experience for an impressionable child should be a happy one, and confidence fulfilling, but sadly this is not always the case. I remember being unintentionally cruel, usually out of jealously towards other children. And being a busy child at school, there was not much time for reflection. No time to give two hoots about what you said or did to another child. When I was younger there were very few (if any) lessons on kindness and the irreversible affects of cruel words and actions.
Sadly this week, I have had to reflect on a lot of cruel behaviour towards my eldest, and consider her long term happiness and later mental health. I am not too fond of labels and I wouldn’t say what has happened to my daughter has been bullying, but what seems trivial to some children is not for a sensitive girl of 8 who has been hit by bereavement twice last year.
I have put off blogging about this issue, because it has been unresolved, and could offend or unintentionally hurt others. I am fully aware that all children are horrible and embarrassing at some point and I am certain my daughter has been too. However her personality and love of learning has altered since she started back at school in September and this week it was time to say, enough is enough.
My daughter looks different to other children in her class and although I don’t think this is why she hasn’t fitted in, I am only too aware that this could be a signal for others to treat her differently, if not now but in the future. I know that you shouldn’t worry about tomorrow, but I really do! All you ever want as a mum is for your children to be happy. Happiness comes above all other things for me.
For me, I had a positive primary school experience, I wasn’t bullied, I was fortunate enough to have many friendships, many of which remain today. I also know that I was a bit of a feisty bitch too, cruel out of jealously towards others and definitely struggled with ‘middle child syndrome’ (if that’s actually a thing!).
School is a lot about learning how to fit in, especially in high school. I had to get the right Jane Norman bag, the right pair of kickers, no two strip tracksuits allowed and never EVER did I take my PE kit in a Tesco carrier bag! However now those fuckers cost 5p, they could be seen as a fashionable must have item, no?!
We are slowly venturing into those impressionable years sadly at 8 years of age, however we are not fully immersed into this yet. Its a conundrum, encouraging individuality and confidence in just being yourself, without letting your child be that ‘bit too weird’ to fit in. How an earth do you get that balance right? Your ideas are very welcome, as I’ve got years to try to get this ‘right’. I don’t want my daughter to be the IT girl, bitchy and cruel, yet I don’t want her to be the confident weirdo who no one plays with?
In search of happiness for our eldest, we explored other schools a few months back as we noticed how unhappy she was when she came out of school. The last half term break was the final straw, as she repeated something everyday to me that was said to her just the week before they broke up. All harsh, cruel and very child like things to say, mostly trivial but not to her.
I choose a school despite my husband saying I shouldn’t, that was much smaller than we had both been used to. A village school with a brilliant Ofsted. It wasn’t just because of the Outstanding rating, but I admit that was a bonus point, but I volunteered in reception a year before our eldest started school. I choose the school because I found the children to have close relationships which appeared positive and almost like one big family. I thought that this would suit my sometimes shy 4 year old.
I chose this school over the one she will now be attending after Easter. This new school, which was strangely our local school just down the road from where we used to live which has nearly as many children in year 3 than her whole school currently has. Its size alarmed me when deciding upon where to place her. That particular year was a baby boom (obvs nothing on TV 9 months before) and for the first time they took 90 children into reception. My daughter was the kind that cried every time I dropped her off at nursery despite loving every second of her time there when I had gone! Why do they do that? Cruel, or what!
After three good years at a village school, I notice that by her fourth year, this just wasn’t working anymore. Girls fallout a lot, and when you only have eight year three girls in a class, this is the end of the world.
So I feel I have learnt a lot and come full circle on our decision of where to place our then very cute and curly haired 4 year old, who is now a stroppy, hormonal eight year old. She is now ready to be in a larger environment, exposure to lots of characters will be good for her as she develops and I feel that in such a small space of time she has learnt how best to deal with ‘those’ types of girls.
I am already nervous for her, and just want for her to be happy, fit in and grow in confidence. I hope she chooses good friends, and will be just as happy with her choices as I am today with my primary school friends I still cant shake off! Cant of been that much of a bitch, hey Kathryn, Megan and Nicola? (I hear them shout, er…YES you were).
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