“Bullying” has always been a buzzword to me, not entirely unlike “life skills” or “at risk.” The similarity lies in the fact that I know the definitions of these words and I even use them occasionally, but they seem more like fodder for grant proposals or annual reports than concepts which exist in real life….or at least in MY life.
However, this year I’ve learned more than I want to know about real life bullying. I can say in earnest that my quick education on the subject has been different and more painful than I expected because it involves my child. I never thought I’d use the words “my 6 year old” and “bully” in the same sentence, but the reality is that these very sentences have consumed much of our recent dinner conversation as we’ve attempted to help our daughter solve some very real problems.
My child has a bully. An interesting and complicating factor is that her bully is also her best friend.
As background, like many kids her age, Bailey tends to form friendships of convenience. She has played with her current BFF more than others in her classroom because they have a similar after-school situation. This is not to say that the girls don’t have a good deal in common or share mutual affection, but being readily accessible is just as important to little developing minds.
At first, I was pleased to see Bailey buddied up with another strong personality. The moment I discovered my child’s stubborn nature during the toddler years I developed a fear that she would choose friends based on ease of ability to control or manipulate. I certainly don’t want my child to be the dictator in the room and have been relieved that this hasn’t been the case with most of her friendships thus far. She and this little girl seemed to be a good match and played together well initially despite some run-of-the-mill little girl arguments.
Then, we started hearing stories about the friend’s antics at school. Continue reading Best Friends and Bullies Make Strange Bedfellows