I think one of my biggest worries when my kids started school was the thought of bullies. Both my older and younger brothers were bullied at primary school, I was the one to stand up to them and resolve the problems, but really it shouldn't have been me stepping in.
But my confidence and attitude ended up being a good thing in these situations at the time. Trouble is in this day and age the bullies seem to be worse than ever, not only doing things in person but online too, with the schools unable to step in like you'd want them too.
Up until now I've had minimal issues with my kids and their friends, yes they've had fall outs/arguments but really they have been petty and quickly resolved.
My 5 year old is child liked by all and so laid back that nothing phases her, a quality I admire in her.
Then there's my 7 year old, she has inherited my overall attitude and confidence, something which I am sure will bite me in the bum when she hits teenage years but for now she'll be the first to let you know what she's thinking and feeling so I always know what is going on.
But it is my 9 year old that has me worried. She contradicts herself, she has a confidence when it comes to making friends. We can go to the park and she'll get talking to other children instantly. I know I'm her mum but she is honestly the nicest kid. She even set up a "friendship squad" at her school to help others who may be having problems or perhaps just a bit lonely.
However this confidence doesn't transfer over when a problem arises. She shuts down, doesn't talk about it and pretends like nothing is happening.
So when I found out recently that she was being bullied I was furious and upset for my daughter but what makes it worse is that I didn't find out from her, or even the school. No it came from my 5 year old who ended up consoling her older sister in the lunch hall when someone had stolen her lunch bottle and then she'd been left to sit by herself on a bench (not at a proper table) to eat her lunch.
Theft of her property was bad enough, (the bottle miraculously turned up by her locker when lunch had finished) but the fact that no dinner lady or the head mistress who was in the hall at the time had bothered to see if she was ok. How grown up of my 5 year old to see her sister crying and ask to go and sit with her. Where were the teachers or even her friends who should have been asking the same question.
I've had words with her teacher to make her aware of the problems and felt completely fobbed off like I'm a paranoid mum, the trouble is where do I go from here. My daughter won't bad mouth anyone, I get the feeling she knows who is causing her trouble but she won't admit it and I can't be at the school keeping an eye on her.
As a parent I feel almost useless right now, I want to help but it's like my hands are tied especially seen as I don't actually know who it is that has targeted my daughter.
The overriding question is who should be taking care of the bullies?