Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bullying.. and not always physical, but still hurts!



This is a long post, and probably an all-over-the-place-post. This “happened” and by happened, I mean what we did, a couple months back, and I wanted to let this rest for a bit before I posted.

Our neighborhood (not the neighbors on each side of us as they are fabulous) has gotten uncomfortable. I have thought about this post often, and have not written as I really do not know what to type. We asked two girls from two different families (would have been three girls but two are sisters so only two families, but only two were there this day) to not come over again: to not play in our yard. We are a VERY relax family (forgiving), love kids and know nothing is perfect, but it gets to a point where you have to do something. Our house and yard should be a comfortable, happy place.The un-relax part of our personality comes when someone in our family is hurt.

For years, my daughter (Aw, my kid is the nerdy-3rd grader-that-reads-on-a-6th-grade-reading-level-takes-genius-classes-in-school-piano-playing-minecraft-lover-archery-not-good-at-other-sports-but-running-8-year-old) has been playing with three girls in the neighborhood. I state all that other stuff cause she is different than some girls, and we know that, but it doesn’t excuse all of this. These girls are not the friendliest kids, but she enjoyed playing with them when they were in GOOD moods. She would come in when it was a BAD day, and play when they were in a friendly mood. (Crazy situation, but she wanted to play with them, and at the time, it was more … the kids just run wild and stay out all day (some days, mom would come by talk to kid and I would find out she left and didn’t tell me no one was home… and didn’t ask me if I would be here all day)… and probably have never been told no in their lives) When they were younger, I could walk outside and state, “Hey, girls, can we please be kind to each other?” or something to that fact. Usually, that fixed it and the three girls would be nice to my daughter again, and they would have a lot of fun. At the time, we thought it was just immaturity problems even though things said, made us wonder other things… can you help us find our dog.. where are your parents… they don’t like to get dressed and up on the weekend… etc, etc.

Well, off and on for a year, the nicest way to state this is they are just mean! I hate to refer to any kid as mean, but I really do not have another word for it. For a while, if my husband or I sat outside or walked outside, they would be kind, but that stopped a few months back. It didn’t matter who was watching. The two youngest are in the same class at school and started playing with each other more, which is the only thing beside just getting older that I can see that changed. The two youngest girls would come home, ask my daughter to come outside and then as soon as I came back in start yelling how much they hated her and how ugly she was, laugh and run off leaving my kid standing there in tears. (Now, here is the kicker, they would do this RIGHT in front of my kitchen window, right where I just walked past. Thin walls around. I could hear it ALL!) I would bring her in crying, “Why, are they treating me like this?” I really had no answer for her as they had not had a fight. This went on and on. They would ask her out and do it again and again. For days, we would say she was busy, but she still wanted to talk to them. Later, I would talk to them, nicely, and ask them why they are doing it. I would receive, the- “We didn’t do that.” -Answer. Then it was, come outside to my daughter, and then they would say, we will be right back, then they would run somewhere to play and laugh at her and point and not come back, sometimes sticking their tongue out at her. One day it was, “hey, we got invited to a party.” My daughter, “Oh, that’s neat. I hope you have fun.” Them, “Well, you weren’t invited cause no one likes you.” Followed by laughter. (Again, in front of my window) We talked and talked to our daughter about how these girls are not her friends. That true friends do not treat others like this. She has sweet boys next door that play with her well. Yet, she wants friends that are girls. It finally took these incidents happening over and over again for her to realize that this wasn’t a relationship that she wanted and that girls at school were not treating her like this.

I started making playdates with friends with girls so she could see that this is how it is suppose to be…. You play with girls and you are treated well. So she stopped wanting to play with them, but when they all live and play in the same neighborhood, and attend the same school, you see each other. It got where my daughter would run into the house as soon as she saw them with me telling them she could not play. Or my daughter hiding behind TREES!! That really got us, she is hiding from them outside because she cannot handle it anymore. This is when we decided it was time to tell the girls that they cannot play with our daughter anymore and that they were not welcome in our yard.

Now let me back up a bit. I keep stating three girls, but refer to really only two. The older girl, one of the sisters, was bullying my daughter really bad a while back. Yelling at our daughter, in her face, grabbing her shirt and yelling. Then yelling at me when I told her to stop. Bad stuff. This started when she found out my daughter was not able to ride a bike and was afraid too. This girl used to sit with me outside and my youngest child and we would watch my daughter and her sister play. She was always very quiet and quite nice. We were scared that something was going on in her life that needed help. I asked the youngest girl to have her mom call me and I talked to the mom and it did get some better, and her mom said she was being like that with everyone and they were worried. The situation did not become perfect, but it got better and she behaved, but we also saw how the mom treated the other daughter, totally different. We actually felt sorry for the eldest daughter. It was obvious that she is treated differently. The youngest could do no wrong. Well, when we told the girls they could no longer play in our yard and with our daughter, that is when things got really interesting!

Okay, so the day everything went crazy in the neighborhood… my daughter was trying to get in the house not being seen by the two younger girls by hiding behind trees, but they saw her so she runs in a panic. I asked her if this is the day she wanted me to tell them she is not going to play with them anymore, and she stated yes. (We had talked to her that this is what me and her dad wanted to do and she didn’t want to talk to them anymore). I told her she could go inside and I could do it alone or she could stay. She decided to stay. The girls ran up and I stated, very nicely, that she would not be playing with them anymore and that they could not play in our yard anymore. And I told them what I had been hearing them saying and I bought up a few incidents. They nodded their head and walked away. I really thought it was easy and over.

First, we got a visit from the dad across the street, he was rational, and we can still talk to him, and we understand each other for the most part. It is uncomfortable, but okay. Now, we didn’t agree on everything, as he wanted the kids to be immediate friends again, cause in his words… this is how girls play. Um, sorry, but yes, girls do play different than boys, but doesn’t mean they can and should play like this. I do not see this as playing. We as parents, teach our kids how to behave, whether girls or boys. Then we got a visit from the girls’ mom. WOW!! I mean, WOW! Now, I have talked to her many times in the past, school, my house, etc, so this was something. We were not friends as there has always been some coldness there (no idea why, but we thought just personality), but I still thought, okay, she took care, for the most part, of her other daughter that time, and come on, why would we do this unless there is a problem? My husband was in shock about the mom’s behavior. He really, really believes if he had not been there she would have jumped me. She was in my face! First off, she was ANGRY that her daughter woke her up crying. She was taking a nap and did not like being woke up. (Funny, saw her daughter an hour before her mom came over and she was outside playing happily, no crying) She said her daughter is the sweetest kid in the world, ask anyone. I said quietly, “Not in my yard she isn’t” She then stated that her other daughter will not play with mine either and my kid will have to just deal with it when her kids are playing next door. Of course we knew, we cannot control the neighborhood. (funny, boys aren’t fond playing with them as they aren’t too nice to them either) It was a crazy, one-sided conversation with her just yelling at me. She walked off and my husband said, “Well, now I know where the girls get their personalities from.” 

I wish this was the end… sigh.. the girls started hanging out just outside our yard and just STARE at our house. We must be interesting. Cause they did it for DAYS!  Anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. One leans against a tree and the other rides her bike in a circle. After a few days of this, my daughter went outside cause one of the boys came over. They played and the girls watched. They yelled a few times, but unknown what they yelled. A couple of times my daughter and the boy started to walk next door, then the girls came running into that yard, so my daughter and the boy came back into our yard. A few more days later, my daughter was playing with the boys next door in their yard, the girls came over and started walking within an inch of my daughter not saying anything, but just walking really close every time she moved. Really crazy. My daughter and the boys went inside the boys house (girls aren’t allowed inside, girls’ family’s rule). So this is pretty much how it is now. The girls followed my daughter around, she either comes back home with the boys following or goes into their house. You would think they would get bored. One day, they stood in front of my driveway (in the street) when I was trying to leave like they were not going to move out of my way. They didn’t know my husband was home, I texted him stating they are doing something and positioning themselves in front of the driveway, so he walked outside. They took a look at him and took off running. No idea what is was about, but happy he works really early in the morning so he is home in the afternoon. 

School hasn't been too bad as they are in different grades than my daughter. My daughter does see them much, but she doesn't look at them when they do if anyway possible. So far only thing that has happened has been really ugly looks and one of the girls telling another kid at school to not look at my kid (dressed up on Halloween) cause my kid is mean. That shocked my kid. I told her that she has to justify something to herself or it might even be what her mom told her. Don't worry about it. 

Not sure what the law is about all of this stuff. I know if my daughter is physically hurt, we can do something, but we really do not want anything like that happening for more than one reason, biggest, I do not want my kid hurt, and two, I hate this kind of stuff. I would just love to have a happy neighborhood, where people control their kids. We didn’t go directly to the parents due to how the kids just run the neighborhood, things that come out of their mouths and conversations in the past, more with the family with the two girls. We might have walked over to the dad we talked to, but we didn’t notice he was home, and do not really know his wife well. He works a lot, and again, we have never had a problem with him, personally, we were just trying to stop things that day. We just really didn’t see why us telling two kids to not play in our yard would turn into this. It's our yard.

We hope the kids just get bored and move on. It has been really, really cold weather wise so everyone has been staying in a lot. Or my daughter plays inside with the boys. Thankfully, she is really busy with after-school activities now. She is not home right after school anymore so that really doesn’t leave too many days open to play. We will figure out the summer when it gets here.

Really, I have so much more to type, but I really don’t want to. It brings so many emotions up. I would be so upset if someone told me my kid was behaving like this, but upset on the level of.. okay, kid, you are going to behave, not, how dare you tell me my kid acts like this, or how dare you tell me my kid cannot play with your kid or in your yard. Because she was not physically touched, they did not see it as bullying. Also, I told both parents, “I am not telling you what my daughter is saying is happening, but what I AM seeing and HEARING.” That meant nothing to them. I really had thought it would have. I really have been shocked by all of this. My husband is too. I could have video taped it, but then probably would have been yelled at for video taping someone’s kid!! I really thought me telling what I saw, and what my husband saw, was good enough! Sigh… I will never learn, people continue to surprise me!