When you are a shy kid and you are bullied, what do you do? How do you handle it? Does it even matter if you tell—or if your mom has your back?
My daughter, and I feel like you guys might actually know more about her than me at this point, is a victim of bullying. I have talked about it before, in the context of her old parochial school. Big C was bullied there, by a pack of relentless little mean-girls, who formed cliques in Pre-school and did not allow any of the new girls in KG join. Instead, they isolated the handful of girls that were admitted after Pre-K and made their lives miserable.
I spoke with the teachers. I talked to the principal. They were all in denial. I even called a mother once, to just see if we could talk it out and help our daughters. She was a total cunt, and I saw very quickly why her daughter was the way she was. There was no sympathy, certainly no empathy—only blaming. At the end of the 1st grade I withdrew my daughter and enrolled her in public school.
Last year, was a happier year for my daughter. While she did not have a million friends, she began to slowly come out of her shell at school. We practiced speaking louder in the classroom, and I encouraged her to make friends. By the end of the school year, she had 2 best friends. Carol and Alice.
By the beginning of 3rd grade, my very shy daughter began to finally like school. The above picture, has 4 smiling faces, I never saw this when I picked her up before this yea
I cannot begin to explain the heart crushing feeling you get when you see your daughter crying every morning before school as she put on her uniform. At the parochial school it was almost every day. She hated school. But now, she was glad to go! Big C began to look forward to recess and going to her advanced language arts class. During parent night, her teacher praised the improvement she had seen with her raising her hand and reading out loud in class. I was so proud of her, I felt like she had come a long way.
Then Carlos came around. Carlos is a scrawny little boy, who for whatever reason, found my daughter and her little group of friends and decided he would begin to pick on them. Now Big C and her friends are the girls who are at the top of their class, they are the smartest, the highest test takers, the ones who read out loud and who participate throughout the day. But at recess, when they are playing Carlos began to hurl insults at the girls. He called my daughter a "puta", "bruta", and a bunch of other names, repeatedly in her face insulting her and her shy demeanor. He taunts her and ridicules her in front of the other boys, he blocks her way, he laughs at her. And the day my darling Big C came home in tears because of it and had a panic attack as a result that night, I called her teacher. The little punk was suspended. Then he was suspended again for calling Carol the N word on Tuesday. The same day he called Alice a bunch of names and my daughter stood up for her. In return Carlos began to scream in Big C's sensitive ears, and began berating her even though Big C asked him to stop and tried to run away, he cornered her and continued his verbal assault. When I spoke with her that night, and we talked about things she could to— she just said "Mom, I don't think I can really DOOO anything that will make him stop. I am too shy and I do not feel strong enough." At this point I just held her stifling tears, and told her I thought she was the strongest little girl I had ever met. I really do not know what to do to help her, and I feel like a failure, because I should be able to protect my daughter when something is hurting her.
Adults do not seem to be anywhere around when these things happen. But I just about had enough of this, so I called the school again and demanded something be done. Now I am not for suspension, I do not think that it teaches kids anything and it gives them a day to chill at home. Instead, I feel like he needs some type of help to learn about empathy, to deal with whatever issues he has. Unfortunately, the school cannot provide this help. But it also cannot provide my daughter with a sense of safety, until they remove him from her presence. His days of suspension are a relief for her. I spoke with the Principal this morning, and he is taking a hard line stance and has assured me that the bullying will stop—and I hope that it does, but I am of course skeptical.
Anyway, I do not know how this got to be so long and if you are still reading, thank you. I also know that some kids have it so much worse, with physical abuse. and it breaks my heart to know that.
tl;dr- How do I help my daughter? How do I support her and reassure her? I want to help her build her confidence, but am at a loss. There are no real manuals in life for this, the books I have seen have not offered anything that I do not already know. I do not want to shelter her away from the world, that would be a disservice to her, I want her to learn deal with this.