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My dd(8) is very sensitive. I have dealt with other kids being mean to her in the past by downplaying it and explaining some people are just bullies or don't realize what they are saying. A week ago an incident left her sobbing for several hours after she went to bed, I felt soo bad, there was no comforting her. She declared she no longer wanted to go to this activity or spend time with these kids- one of the girls has been a playmate for 6 years. A week later she still doesn't want to go. I'm torn. Should I respect her decision or make her get over it?

She is my only child thus an 'only child' and lacking the group skills a child in a family with more children would have. All the more needing interaction. I'm posting here because she is advanced and gets a lot of the negative attention for standing out. She does so well in most things, that when she doesn't excel, the other kids jump all over her. Any thoughts? This does not happen all the time, maybe because of her age(?) it has been slowly increasing. Thanks for any ideas.

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My dd(8) is very sensitive.Thanks for any ideas.



Having been the target of many a bully I speak from years of experience both as a victim and as a parent. As a result both of bullying and verbal abuse at home (not from both parents) I have had to fight with self-esteem issues much of my life, even though I had a large circle of friends in my hometown. And 8 IS the age where this increases--third grade in ps is the big transition, and it escalates in the middle school years.


First, to downplay it may seem like a good idea--it did to my parents. I grew up in the age when parents would say things like "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" and "if you don't let it bother you, they'll quit." But, in fact, it doesn't help at all. I can't tell you how many times I've seen well meaning parents try to tease and joke with their sensitive dd's to help them only to see it put a wedge in their relationships. It is going to bother a sensitive child. I would totally respect your child's decision and go to activities where she shines. The fact is that some kids can be mean and it can have a lasting effect. If it weren't for the fact that I had friends who didn't tease me, I don't know if I would have made it to adulthood, I would have been so much more depresssed than I became.


Secondly, of course she will need to learn to handle this, but not by being exposed to painful situations she doesn't need to be in. She needs to know this by the time she is ready to leave home and so you have a number of years to work on this. I didn't even start learning to laugh at myself until I was 16. My family thinks it's because they always teased me (I didn't laugh at that until later), and I don't have the heart to tell them that I learned to laugh in spite of their insensitive jokes rather than because of them. Laughing at people's weaknesses when they are sensitive about them isn't kind, IMO, but learning to laugh at your own shortcomings at times can be very, very healthy.


I have made a point of teaching my children how to do this from an early age if they didn't do this on their own, but differently than my parents did. I laugh at my mistakes if they're little ones. I help them to laugh at little things they do (not the important ones that they knew better). I teach them at home in a safe environment, and don't tease them about things that get them upset. I also teach them how to handle situations, but don't force them into ones such as what you described. Not every child will learn to "suck it up" at the same age, either.


My 9 yo is sensitive, too. But sometimes she reacts aggressively to bullies, which is surprising since she normally gets along very well. We did do a very expensive a year in Tai Kwon Do to help (they teach how to handle bullies), but I also do a lot of teaching at home. While I have other children, you can do this more gently with an only child.


I know there's more I do, but it's not coming to mind at the moment. I just want to say that I would encourage your dd to steer her sensitivity into positive areas. Sensitivity, even extreme sensitivity, can be put to good use in the right areas. My 9 yo is very good at art, for example, and in being compassionate (still a work in progress on those.)

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Simple answer...in the words of my wise mother, 'stay away from people who make you feel bad.' ;)


Ask yourself if YOU would continue going to an activity (church, book club, sewing circle whatever) if the people there picked on you and made you feel terrible? I wouldn't. If these incidences happened with long term friends, I would probably make an attempt to discuss it with my friend. If there was no acknowlegment of the behavior or assurances it would cease...I would not be going back for more!


So in the case of an 8 year old...I say if these 'friends' are worth keeping, a discussion with these kids and parents is in order. I would have a sit down with child and parent and say 'look, when you say such and so to my child it hurts. Please stop.' It might work. It might not and the friendship should be terminated.


I don't put up with true bullying. Not for me and not for my son. My son is also an only. And he is 8. If I hear a kid say unkind things to him, I immediately call them on it in a very no nonsense matter of fact way.


I tell my son, 'true friends don't do things like that to you. Or say mean things to you. (we also discuss grace and how we all say things we don't mean at times). And if that is how they are going to treat you, you have to decide if they are worth keeping as friends.'


Sorry this is a ramble...I feel very strongly about it, but I know balance has to be found.

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Having been the target of many a bully I speak from years of experience both as a victim and as a parent.


Excellent post. I think too that sometimes 'good kids' get sucked into bullying and being mean and thus being called on it and informing good parents can put an end to it. If I was informed that my child was bullying anyone you can bet there would be a severe consequence for my ds. In fact, just last week, he had a total over the top meltdown when a neighbor girl (whom he adores) messed up one of his magnetic creations. He was sent to his room until he could act human. And then he had to apologize to her in person and in writing.

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In an effort to not draw any attention to her & her sensitivities, maybe the best thing would be to talk to her team leader on the side and suggest she pay attention to what they are saying to each other. A good discussion on being kind maybe in order. I'll let her decide about going back. Eventually she'll get bored and want to go.


I've had discussions with one child's parents before, while they are receptive, they don't get it. It is a 'get over it' thing for them and unless they see or hear it themselves they don't feel they can do much. Luckily it isn't frequent. They spend time together because I'm friends with the parents. Ughhh...


I get very frustrated living in a very small town with very little to do for a homeschooled child and a very small pool of kids her age. We hope to move very soon, I was hoping with more options we could be more selective. This makes me feel good about moving. In fact her response to moving after this incident was "I don't think I'll miss living here much after all." I wasn't sure how to respond-


Also responding to closeacademy: this is one of my top reasons for homeschooling as well - thus my frustration.


In the incident in question it started with boys- she didn't care about that, "they are boys..", it was her 'girlfriends chiming in on it and turning on her. She just can't wrap her head around that one. "They are supposed to be my friends..."


double ughhh



note: how funny just saw Cadam's post- this occurred at AWANA! along with similar incidents.

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One of the big reasons that we changed churches recently was because my dd was being picked on and teased. I was teased all my life and have trouble with self-esteem and feeling like I fit in because I was crushed so much as a child.


One of the top reason we homeschool is so that my children can grow and blossom into the beautiful people that God meant them to be.


So if teasing is going on--we stop it. So there is no teasing allowed in our home and in the activities that I help direct. Kids may start to do so but I quickly nip it.


Activities that I have no control over where teasing is allowed to happen or the directors/teachers make no move to really stop it--we drop those and do something more worthwhile with our time.


I have to side with your dd--drop the activity and the friend. Find something better to do that builds up your dd as the great person she is.:)

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