Thursday, October 22, 2015

Facing Up to a (Nursery) School Bully

A friend mentioned on Facebook that his son was being bullied, and he was trying to teach his son how to face up to the bully. I was reminded of an incident when our first daughter was just two years old. This is one instance of bullying concerning our children. There might have been more that didn’t reach our ears because maybe there was no need to. It could be that our eldest daughter passed on to her sisters the strategy for dealing with bullies.

When our eldest daughter, Ching Ching, not quite three years old, was attending nursery school, she was the youngest (and smallest) in the group. The minimum age was four, but the teacher made exception for her because she was eager to learn.

One day, she came home complaining about a boy classmate, Eljay (that’s his name, but I will not reveal his family name to protect his identity, and also because I honestly do not remember).  Eljay pulled her hair and she was upset. I advised her to tell him that if he did that again, that they would no longer be friends.

The next day, she came home saying that he pinched her. I had no idea that there was such a thing as bullying in nursery schools, and simply told Ching Ching to warn Eljay that if he hurt her again, that she would tell her teacher.

On the third day, she was still complaining about him. Obviously, the warnings I asked her to tell him did not work. John overheard our conversation – Ching Ching was not crying, just telling what happened, matter-of-factly. John asked her to face him, and instructed her to make a fist. She did, imitating with her left hand (she’s a leftie) what her dad did with his right hand.  He then added, “Don’t wait until he has hurt you; if he would as much as approach you – make a fist and hit him hard on the chin.” All I could say was, “John, how could you teach her that?”

The following day, she triumphantly declared that she did what her papa told her – to punch him on the chin - and now, Eljay does not hurt her anymore. He just sits next to her, or follows her around, but remains very well behaved.

When the class – I think that nursery class of Child Learning Center had about eight students – came to visit our home as part of their field trip, Eljay was holding hands with my daughter, and looking for Ching Ching’s papa. Which made me suspect that she told him who told her to punch him on the chin. Soon I saw the two kids, flanking John, holding his hands, one on each side. The three were inseparable during the whole time that they were at home.

Unbelievable. :)

But I acknowledged that John’s response and his instructions to our young daughter on how to deal with bullies solved the problem of bullying. I can only hope that every father’s little daughter is being taught how to stand up to a “bully.” Like Ching Ching was.

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