View Full Version : Help getting dd to stand up for herself

04-17-2008, 08:13 PM
My dd(6) is in 1st grade and doesn't like to stand up for herself to the other kids because she is afraid that she will get in trouble from the teacher and sent to the princapals office.I have been trying to tell her that they are picking on her because she doesn't try to stop them-it's just little things like taking her crayons and markers out of her hand while using them and not giving them back or borrowing her pencil sharpener then keeping it.Recently at a party the one girl sat in my dd seat and told her it was her seat now to go sit somewhere else.My dd ran to me and tried to pull me over to get the girl out of her seat but I feel like that wouldn't help she needs to stand up for herself.How do you help your kids be strong for themself?I always raised her to be nice to others and treat them as you want them to treat you but that seems to be hurting her now.I don't want her to be mean but just to be able to protect herself and not for the other kids to think they can bully her.I know it will just get worse every year.

04-17-2008, 08:20 PM
It's so much easier to teach the kids math than it is social skills. There are some good books around about "being a friend" which may help. Role playing with your daughter may help. Pointing out a situation in your life where you've had to stand up for something-someone buds in line for example may also help. Point out situations in TV shows or videos as you are watching them. The way you live your life will be a great example for your daughter.

I would have a discussion with your DD's teacher to let them know that you would like help raising her self-esteem. The teacher can provide support and opportunities to help your daughter out.

It's a long process, but totally worth it. Good luck.

04-17-2008, 08:35 PM
You need to not only tell her what to do, but to model it for her. Show her that it is OK to be assertive yet polite whenever you can.

At her age it would also be helpful to role play with dolls or puppets.

Set up a conference with her teacher. Explain that you are not coming in to ask the teacher to make the other stop harassing her, but to work as a team to assist your daughter in finding her voice. If you have a school counselor you may want to include him/her as well.

Encourage your child to not only use her words, but to use eye contact. This is so important.

As a teacher I can't recommend martial arts enough to parents who are concerned about these issues. It's not about fighting and self-defense, but rather they do a great job of building confidence and teaching self respect.

04-17-2008, 08:47 PM
It takes "all kinds to make the world go 'round."

Your daughter is one of the nice people in the world.

My 9 year old son, (the 4th of 5 children) is very small for his age. Everyone cuts in line in front of him, runs to be first, grabs for the biggest, the best, the most, etc., and ya know what... he lets them and it isn't because he's letting them bully him... he is, simply, so easy going, he doesn't care! He's very mature for his age, and says things like... "The juice doesn't taste any differently from the red or blue cup. It doesn't matter who's first... we're all going to get there anyway." He's very popular and the teachers adore him.

Could this be your daughter, too?

I think most children will defend themselves when it is important enough (to them) to do so.

Continue to teach her to always to the right thing, and when the injustice is big enough, she'll recognize right from wrong, and have the strength to stand up for herself and others.

04-17-2008, 09:05 PM
I have told my kids if they protect themselves I will not punish them. If the school has a problem with my kids protecting themselves they will have messed with the wrong family. This is as long as they dont start anything.

04-17-2008, 09:16 PM
Unfortunetly the teacher is not much help.My dd gets upset from it all and tells me that she is the only one that gets picked on.She is very friendly and wants everyone to be her friend so she gives them more chances to pick on her.She has had an anxiety issue this past year over a fear of throwing up and I have definatly noticed that it has effected her self-estem.I signed her up for swimming a few months back hoping that it would help her feel proud of herself and I was thinking of trying martial arts.She is very small-tall but very skinny for her age and she is not as athletic as many of the other kids.She is very caring and is always there to help the ones that pick on her when they are upset and that lasts for a few days and then its back to bulling her.

04-17-2008, 09:18 PM
I have told my kids if they protect themselves I will not punish them. If the school has a problem with my kids protecting themselves they will have messed with the wrong family. This is as long as they dont start anything.

Thats what I have been saying to her lately but she thinks she will get in trouble from the teacher.

04-17-2008, 09:28 PM
I have told my kids if they protect themselves I will not punish them. If the school has a problem with my kids protecting themselves they will have messed with the wrong family. This is as long as they dont start anything.

What do you mean by protecting yourself? I don't understand what you mean by messing with the wrong family. Sorry, but that sounds kind of aggresive rather than assertive. I may be mis-interpreting your response though.

My Dd had many of the same issues with bullies. Fortunately, the school is wonderful and has a strong anti-bullying policy, teaches the kids how to respond to bullies and has an anonymous "bully box" to report incidents. She and I practice role-playing responses too, which helps a lot. I also have been trying to teach her how to be assertive rather than passive or aggressive.
I do think you should have the expectation from the school and her teacher to not tolerate bullying behavior. I think discussing this with the school counselor and/or principal might be helpful if the teacher is not responsive.

04-17-2008, 10:07 PM
Have you looked at the american girl books you might wan to check them out.


This one seems like a good book booksamillion carries some of the american girl books if you have a chance head over to one of your local bookstores to see if they have it and read some of it to see if it would work for her.

04-18-2008, 12:52 AM
I could have written this post. My dd10 had this problem for years. Had great self esteem until she went into her class. Britts problem turned out to be one certain girl who was always in the same class until 4th grade (her teacher requested that they not be in same class this year) and Britt has done a complete turn around!! Its been wonderful. Could there be certain "agressive" personalities (I said that nicely ;) ) that are maybe bothering her? Good luck w/ this issue, I know how you feel and can only tell you there is hope.

Edited to Add: My DD would come home almost every day saying "I asked Sam to be my friend again today " for some reason she needed this girls approval. I explained everyone doesn't like everyone and why would she want to be friends w/ someone like Sam? She still was insistent that they COULD be friends. Its late (we leave tomorrow for WDW) and I'm kind of punchy. I hope this make sense. I could go on forever lol. Sorry.

04-18-2008, 04:35 AM
The teacher needs to be in on this. Just about every school in the country professes "zero tolerance" so she really doesn't have much choice-- she needs to be a big help here.

Call and make an appointment for you and your daughter to meet with the principal together. That way, when your daughter claims she'll get in trouble for standing up for herself, the teacher can tell her she won't. If that's not the teacher's response, the principal needs to be in on it.

As a high school teacher, I can tell you: these kids need to be stopped NOW. In high school it's harder to stop. IN first grade, it's a different story. Sure, your daughter needs coping skills. But the teacher also needs to very clear that the kids who are bullying your daughter are going to get in trouble every single time. Taking crayons is STEALING-- there will be no recess for the thieves. Calling names is uncivil-- they will write letters of apology. That's part of the job-- using that authority to promote a healthy atmosphere in your class. It's time for the teacher to step up.

No child should EVER be afraid to go to school. Call the teacher this morning. and make the appointment.

04-18-2008, 10:57 AM
Contact the school guidance department. Guidance department will be able to help with friendship groups that deal with just these issues. It sometimes comes under the heading of the sped dept in some states. At my daughters elementary school it was called recess club. After a couple months they get to bring a friend from the classroom. They will usually have a social skills program in the summer also. My DD had the same problem. Now at 12 she will go out of her way to help someone she sees having the same problem.

04-18-2008, 11:13 AM
Can you volunteer in the classroom for a few days?

First graders may be blowing things out of proportion. Their world centers around them - and your daughter may be reacting to the normal lack of social skills in first grade. In which case, rather than sticking up for herself, which doesn't appear to be in her nature anyway, letting go may be more productive. If it doesn't bother you (or you don't show it) bullies move on to more reactive subjects.

Or it may be that someone in particular is picking on her. We have one girl we just ask not to be in my daughter's class. The kindergarten teacher identified the poor match, and three years later, its still a match that is simply not going to work well - for either girl. And my daughter isn't the complete innocent. Granted, the other little girl is trouble, but my daughter knows just how to push her buttons.

Or maybe it is something systemic that your daughter needs to address. Or that the school needs to address.

The thing is, until you watch, you probably won't really know. And watch with an open mind - and just watch.

04-18-2008, 04:43 PM
It really is just 2 girls-one she was in kindergarten with and the other that she met this year.I have seen it at school parties and birthday parties.Recently they were at a bowling party and playing video games and the girl sat in the chair and pushed her out of it(of course her mother did nothing)I really just think that they know she won't stop them so they think they can keep doing it and if she just stood her ground alittle more it would stop.I talked to the teacher today to tell her that my dd's stuff is being taken and she basically told me that it was one incident when the girl took the marker out of her hand while she was using it without asking and that is all.Nevermind that all her other stuff is missing and they should all have their own stuff so she shouldn't be taking her things out of her hand but whatever.I knew i wouldn't get help from the teacher really I just want some advise to help my dd feel more confident about herself to stand up for herself.I always raised her to be very considerate of other people and she tells me she won't stand up to them because she is nice - thats why we told her it is okay to not let people do bad things to you and to protect yourself.I am not giving her permission to be mean or start with anyone but just not let kids do it to her.Last week the girl was her friend but now has broken up with her again(these kids do this every other day)and is picking on her again because the girl that she was friends with wasn't being her friend so she made friends with my dd untill the other girl went back to being her friend.And of course the teacher talked to the girl to get her side of it and now knows that my dd said something so now she is being meaner to her.She sits with my dd at her table so there is no way to get away-her teacher doesn't wan to move her because my dd leaves her chair pushed out far and she doesn't like having to walk around it so my dd sits in the last chair by the door.And yes I have asked my dd to just push her chair in but she doesn't like it.I know that if next week the girl wants to be friends again my dd would:confused: