Monday, September 30, 2013

Sometimes you have to stop and really listen to kids....and then hide your tears while you wipe away theirs.

    For the past week or so, Nixon has been saying he doesn't want to go to school, that he wants to stay home. He'll fight with me about getting dressed for school, going to bed the night before school and even one day he refused to get up for school (he eventually did get up, but it was a slow morning for him from the get-go). It's so strange because as soon as he gets into his classroom, he's happy and ready for school, saying "hi" to everyone. Even when I pick him up, his teachers tell me he had a good day no tantrums and was participating.

   This morning, Mac was home and helping getting Nixon ready. I was upstairs, attempting to do my hair and failing epically, while listening to the "battle" ensuing downstairs. Finally, I'd had enough. Nixon was crying, Mac was frustrated and I needed to know what was really going on.
   What's really going on is Nixon doesn't feel safe at school. He told me there's a boy in a red sweatshirt that is mean to him. He picks on him, says mean things and throws things at him. Nixon tells me he didn't want to have the "mean boy" be not nice to him and he'd stay home with me instead.

   How do you deal when your 4-year old feels unsafe?
   What's the right reaction?
   And how do you assure him while trying to calm the rage building deep in your own soul at the thought that your child is not safe at school?

   I held Nixon. I gave him hugs, and kisses, and I reminded him that he can always always, tell Mac and I when something like this happens. I told him that we are his voice when he's scared and our job is to make sure he's safe even when he's not with us. I made sure he knew we'd talk to his teachers and he can talk to them too, because they want him to be safe in class as well.

   We took him to school, and the 3 of us held hands walking to his classroom today. Nixon's teachers weren't busy, we were there a little early, so I was able to mention the concerns and issues we were having at home. While I was doing that, Nixon showed Mac the boy he says is being mean to him, and Mac in turned showed him to the teachers. I'll be honest, I've seen this child mock Nixon before and I'm not sure if it was a mean-spirited mocking or just kids being kids mocking.  
   The teachers are aware of it now, and have promised to keep an eye on both kids. Now I realize, Nixon hasn't been in a classroom setting before and there is an adjustment period, so he may not be used to kids playing and goofing around, but if he's genuinely being bullied in preschool there's something wrong with that and I'll stand up for my child as long as I feel he feels he's unsafe. If it means I have to ask to be in the office and monitor the class video feed for a day, I will do that. I will not let my child feel like he's on his own when he's just starting school!

   We'll see how it goes. I hope as Nixon gets more comfortable and used to the kids, he'll handle the situations better and be able to handle some conflicts on his own. BUT, I'm also trying to help him realize any kind of bullying is wrong and he should stand up to it. Even if it's not happening to him, he should stand up or stand by other children being picked on as well and not join in the picking on to fit in.

   It's hell that I'm having to help him navigate this at 4-years-old. He's not even in school full-time yet! I'm scared for today's starts so early.

1 comment:

  1. It's a hard conversation to have at the preschool level. If/when my son shows signs of being mean and a bully to his sister I am quick to point it out. He's been educated on bullies, and how they are not nice people, by me and his daycare setting in the past. He doesn't want to be one of those kids so we talk about it. I do tell him that not everyone is going to be a good person, there are going to be some not nice kids in his classroom from time to time and he has to know how to deal with them properly. In doing this I want him to be a helper to others and to be a leader, not a follower, especially when it comes to bullying.