Bully: Quarantine

My email to the day care center about the hitting/pushing kid generated some response.  I was worried that the director would blame the class teachers (with good reason given her track record) but she instead shared my email with them and offered them solutions.  I was grateful for that, since I had made sure to emphasize that they were doing everything they could at that point.  I was also relieved to hear that there were solutions instead of a pacifying “Oh, they’re just two.”

For now, the child will spend the morning in a different classroom with a lower kid to teacher ratio.  Once the second teacher arrives in our class, he will rejoin the group.  I think we’re very lucky that this is an option since there are so many different classes at the center.  Friday morning was our first attempt at this and it seemed to be much better for RR since she wasn’t walking into an immediate confrontation.  For a moment I felt bad about the disruption in the other child’s routine but then I saw him throw a block at a much smaller baby.  Quarantine is just fine with me.

I was thinking about why this is so different to me than the occasional bite or kick from another child.  I think it’s that it’s consistent and targeted.  There are one or two kids he has singled out who don’t fight back and he takes advantage.  How do you send a message that this is never okay without reinforcing it with attention?  I don’t know how aware of the situation his parents are, but I don’t envy them.  On the other hand, it could be that they simply think he’s being two and will grow out of it.  Not okay.  

I also realize how quickly my reaction was to take action on RR’s behalf and not to help her in the moment to loudly tell the child no or to run away or even to stand her ground and swing back (which I’m never going to do.)  I’ll chalk this up to a lessons learned moment.  I’ve got to find a way to give her the skills to handle a bully while doing my own part behind the scenes.  Saying no is such a valuable tool regardless.  Frankly, if she’s smart enough to sign her name, she can figure out how to get a kid to back off.

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