Lily's Pain

Our little girl has been different these past weeks; she's not been her usual bubbly, excited, smiley self. She's been on the edge of tears a lot, moody, threw near-epic tantrums. Richard and I first thought that this was only a phase that would pass soon and tried to work through it with her. Then, she started to withdraw. She would spend afternoons in her room not allowing anyone in. She would sleep at the oddest times and it took us quite some convincing so she would at least leave her room to have dinner with the family. She refused to go to her beloved swim class. She didn't sleep well at night. I started to really get worried about her; I missed my little girl as she spent more and more time in the lonely space she had created for herself.

At this point, I started to talk to her about what might be amiss. I tried to sit down with her to find out what troubled her. I wouldn't accept her "I don't know any more" as an answer when I asked her about her day in kindergarten. So she told me about who she had played with that day. Last week, when she was doing not well at all, I put her on my lap and cuddled her; suddenly, she finally lifted her head, looked me in the eye and told me that older kids in kindergarten were harassing her. This hit me like a sledge hammer. Lily has always been quite a popular kid in kindergarten with many friends. She still has many friends, sometimes too many for us to handle when it comes to play dates, birthday invites, etc. So I am wondering who these kids were. I wonder how they could single Lily out from all her friends. I tried to help Lily understand that she must stand up for herself, to confront the kids who were mean to her. Sometimes, a "why are you doing this to me?" can be more effective than ignoring.

I talked to Richard about it and we went to her kindergarten to talk to the teachers, who claim not to have noticed anything. We will keep our eyes open and try our best to help Lily through this painful time. It hurts me beyond words that our poor little girl has to go through the same crap Richard and I had to go through as kids and therefore do our best to empower her to rise above her tormentors.

What is your opinion on bullying in kindergarten? Are you getting involved? Are you talking to parents, teachers, and/or administrators? What are your experiencing handling bullying at such a young age?

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