View Full Version : Crappy behaviour from child - should I tell mom?

03-25-2014, 10:47 AM
So, today I had my first encounter with bully-esque behaviour. I was hanging out with my younger daughter at the playground during my oldest's girl scout meet. My younger daughter was playing with a friend, and was later joined by the younger daughter of the girl scout leader. I had never met the girl scout troop leader's daughter before, however she was known to my daughter's friend. Younger siblings of girl scouts hang out at this park during meetings. Sounds more confusing than it is.

Anyway, the daughter of the troop leader acted terribly and I'm debating on if I should let mom know or if I should just forget about it. What went down: She made my child "it" during tag the entire time. I ignored this because I kinda believe in letting my kid solve minor problems on her own and I'd like her learn to speak up for herself. But then this girl started trying to lead the other child away and actively exclude mine - including physically putting herself between my child and the other girl and leading her away. She said she didn't want to play with my daughter because she was a slow runner. She told my kid that she was a loser because she didn't play sports, and that because she didn't play sports that she was going to grow up to be so weak that she wouldn't be able to lift a vase (because vase lifting is mega important?!). At this point, since my daughter was being actively excluded and there was only 10 minutes left until the end of the meeting so I took my daughter and her friend (whom I was watching) up to the class room where the meeting was happening.

Once up in that room, I overhear the leader's daughter gossiping about mine to two older girls. Saying juvenile stuff about how she hated her, etc. My daughter didn't hear this.

For reference - my daughter is 6, her friend was 7, and the gs leader's daughter is 8.

So, should I fire off an email to the girl scout leader and let her know how hers behaved? Or am I being a helicopter mom/mama bear?

03-25-2014, 11:10 AM
Your DD is still too young to be expected to handle the whole situation herself. Not all kids are the "hey, you can't treat me like that!" type and even those who are that type are, at age six, needing adult guidance. I would suggest you speak with the GS leader in a friendly, quiet way, displaying your understanding of the way all kids can be, and ask if there is anything you and your daughter can do to help. Sometimes having a playdate between the kids involved works...other times it does not, and that would depend if you feel comfortable enough to have the GS leader sitting next to you, sipping tea/coffee while you both watch the girls interact.

Whatever you do, approach her personally rather than send an email. It makes you more approachable and if she takes offense at your saying anything, well, that's her problem and perhaps you might need to look for a new GS pack!

03-25-2014, 11:30 AM
I would have intervened. Mom was not around to monitor what was going on, so you were the parent on duty.
Is this a homeschool troop? Have you considered expanding the troop to be multi-age so that all of the girls could benefit from the meeting?

03-25-2014, 11:33 AM
Also, children hear those type of things from some where. I am not saying that is how the mom treats her child but her older siblings may treat her that way. They are two years different in age and it seems the older girl has issues. I would talk to the mom in person, she may not be aware of how her daughter acts. I would not worry about them becoming "friends" or trying to make the other girl "like" your daughter, but if her behavoir does not change after talking to mom I would intervene between the girls. A simple, "We are here playing together and maybe we need to find another game to play." Redirect and hope the girl gets board with your daughter and friend and goes off to find someone else to control.

03-25-2014, 11:37 AM
If you are going to talk to the mom, I agree, in person is better.

But, I don't really think you should. This is going to sound jaded, but by 8, I bet that mom knows how her kid acts, and either accepts it, ignores it, or encourages it. If I were you, I would talk to your daughter about the situation (you probably already have). How did she feel about it? How does she feel about the girl? She might choose, on her own without your interference, that she doesn't like that girl and doesn't want to associate with her. To me, that is the best outcome, because it solves the problem and it was her choice.

I get that you'll probably have many more encounters with this kid, and they will likely be uncomfortable, no matter what you choose to do right now. In my experience with my 6 year old son and similar kids, it's best if I stay out of it unless he asks for my help (which he doesn't, just occasional advice). I still cringe at some of the interactions he has with one particular boy, but I am usually very impressed by how he eventually handles it, or by his reflections on the situation later.

03-25-2014, 12:27 PM
I did intervene while they were playing, but only when the language got bad with words like loser coming out.

I told the girl that an important part of sports is sportsmanship and calling names isn't part of that. Then we went away.

Its not a homeschool troop, but its the only troop in the area and its welcoming to homeschoolers.

03-25-2014, 08:03 PM
I'll take the hedge position here, because I actually am of two minds - talk to the mom and don't talk to the mom. How about if you talk to your DD and get clarity about her feelings, and if this sort of behavior happens again (with the leader's daughter), THEN you can take it up with the leader. This way, you might be able to equip your DD with some thoughts/words so that she might be able to better handle the situation if it were to occur again.

See, I had to get over my initial reaction that I would have slugged the girl. LOL

I also second Teri's recommendation - our troop is a mixed-age troop, and that would allow your younger DD to participate. It might require an extra leader, though. :rolleyes: Then you'd have a leader's daughter, and the two leaders' daughters could have a smack down......oh, sorry, my mind went all "revenge fantasy" there.

03-25-2014, 11:10 PM
I'm sorry your daughter had to deal with that little girl. She sounds like a real winner... I wouldn't talk to the troop leader. Like someone pointed out, the leader probably already knows this is how her daughter acts. She was parroting her parents or older sibling, that is not stuff a kid comes up with on their own. It's doubtful that any good will come out of it and more likely you're older daughter might be targeted.

I would speak to your older daughter and ask if she hears that kind of talk from the older sister.

Maybe it's just our troop leader, but I wouldn't be able to find a time to speak with her in person. She's is constantly on the move. Email would work better and in my experience, you have time to phrase it exactly how you need it to be said without any emotion that will undoubtedly come out in an in person meeting.

Accidental Homeschooler
03-26-2014, 12:58 AM
I think it depends on your relationship with the leader and what kind of person she is.

03-30-2014, 10:22 AM
Sorry to say this, but don't expect the mom to solve the problem. I had this big long post, and deleted it, because re-reading your post, the mom probably IS the problem.

If you feel like locking antlers for any possible good it may do for the other unfortunate girls in that troop, go ahead and approach the mother, but be prepared for denial, dismissal, and extra-crappy treatment of your kid thereafter.

I'd say your choice is to stay in hopes of making a difference, or abandon ship and seek higher ground.
Those situations and those kinds of people, are common as dirt, but your kids will be better equipped to hone management strategies of the hordes of craps out there, when they are old enough to be secure in their own values and sense of self. As someone else pointed out, 6 is not there yet. The declaration of hatred by the 8-year-old is most troubling.

My daughter has started being able to hold her own against the ignorant crappy kids she sometimes encounters, and uses a Jackie Chan strategy: avoid conflict if you can, get away if you can't reason with them, and if all else fails and you have to fight, fight like you mean it and let the cards fall where they may. Usually in girl situations, the fighting is done more subtly, with words and social manipulations and alliances. Happily, my daughter visits those situations at things like ballet and theater camp, long enough to get familiar with them, but short enough to be able to be philosophical about the whole thing.

I hope you'll update us on how it goes, whatever you choose to do. And you don't have to be a helicopter parent just to avoid leaving your kids to the wolves. Lord of the Flies is not how I want my kids raised, nor is it the influence I want forming their values that young, and 6 is a very malleable age. My daughter at 9, is now able to hold her own values and boundaries against a group of hostiles, but couldn't have done it at 6.

03-31-2014, 03:14 PM
Oh how I loathe bullying behavior. And it is such a hard call. From my own experience, I would agree with the comments that the child is probably mirroring behavior that she is seeing or experiencing at home. I have found that bullies, kids and adults don't usually respond well to any sort of rational talk or request for change, and that if often just makes things worse. My son has been in one situation that I know of when he was being teased for something that probably bothered me more than it did him. He is pretty laid back and does not seem to care about such things at this point. However, I have found that the parent is also a miserable unkind person, and the easiest thing was just to disengage. We have plenty of opportunities to do things with other families who do not value this type of behavior and we just spend time with them. This situation is different as it is a group that you have committed to and I get that. Talk to your kiddo about her feelings. Whatever you do, please don't make excuses for the bully. My mother used to do this to me when I was bullied, and I hated it so much. I just wanted her to tell me, you are right, being treated that way sucks. I hope that you can find a way to navigate this that works out for you guys. I wish I had a magic wand.

03-31-2014, 04:50 PM
I get to work opposition here. :)

A) I don't agree that this twit is absolutely mirroring behavior learned/condoned at home. It's just as plausible that she's picked it up in school (I'm assuming it's a PS kid) and her mom has no clue that she's behaving this way. Kids do stupid things when their parents aren't around. Chances are good that, if we think back far enough, most of us can think of several things we did that we shouldn't have at that age. Things that our parents would have been appalled to learn about, and things that we're a bit ashamed of as adults. There's a decent chance that her mom has no idea what twit-girl was doing, how she was behaving, and (especially as a GS leader) she'd be mortified to know that her child was behaving this way. Sounds like twit-girl needs a major verbal smackdown. It should come from her mom.

B) I agree that you were right to step in once you saw that twit-girl was getting out of hand. To have an adult witness that kind of behavior and the adult does nothing just reinforces in the offender's mind that it's okay and it tells the recipient that there's nothing awry. I liked that you pointed out how sportsmanship works and then ditched her twitty arse. It's a part of the GS universe to be the best person you can be and, if this kid's mom is going to continue as a leader, twit-girl needs to learn to 'walk the walk, talk the talk'.

C) Totally agree with chatting with your daughter first. Maybe do some role play w/dolls to reinact that situation (with you being twit-girl initially) and then play it out differently so that your DD has some good comebacks should she encounter that kind of situation again? My Sheldonesque-DD doesn't get it when someone's being ornery with her. I see it clearly, but she's oblivious. When we're back home, we chat. I discuss the other person's behavior and ask questions. We role play w/dolls. She is convinced that everyone in the world is bestest fairy-friends...she doesn't see twit-children.

D) I'd avoid the email approach only because it can seem passive-aggressive. If it were me, I'd go in to the next meeting a few minutes early and chat w/the leader. I'd phone or email her ahead of time so that she knows I need 5min or so of her time. And I'd take the 'oh, I wasn't sure how to handle this, so I took this approach' angle when explaining what the girls were doing and why you brought up sportsmanship. Then I'd ask if she was okay with me stepping in. I'd use her reaction as a litmus as to whether or not she's the kind of person who'd condone her kid acting like a twit. IF she's annoyed w/you, I think that's a big red flag that she's in no position to be a leader of anyting, and it's a waste of your time to try working with her. IF, OTOH, she's embarrassed by her kid's behavior, you can assure her that it happens to all of us at some point (that our kid does something questionable) and just let her know that you only mentioned it because you thought she'd like to know.

I think an important question is: If you were the parent of the child with twit-like behavior, would YOU want to know your child was behaving that way when he/she was out of your sight?

04-01-2014, 04:27 PM
I think that I would say to twit girl (if this happens again,) "My, my, my! Twit Girl, I bet your mother would be SO proud of you acting like this." This puts her on notice that you might tell her mom. Manners may or may not improve.

I found that girls of this age just don't understand how snotty and nasty they sound. I dealt with similar types of stuff at a large daycare/after school program that I worked at while in college. There were two girls one winter break who were really snotty, and denied it the whole time. I actually brought a tape recorder and taped them, then had them listen to it. They were totally SHOCKED at how nasty they sounded. The snottiness subsided. If you have the ability, you might try the same thing with a phone or iPad. If nothing else, you have proof to show the mother. :-)

04-01-2014, 05:58 PM
I wouldn't bother telling the mom. I would deal directly with the kid and tell her that her behavior is awful and mean.

04-01-2014, 06:24 PM
If the other mother was not present, I would have stepped up and said that she was not behaving nicely, and that's not how we play. Then I would have left the scene immediately...with my kid of course.lmao

04-01-2014, 07:38 PM
We're you the parent in charge of all the girls or was someone else supposed to be watching her? You said she joined you later than you arrived at the park - was she being sent over by herself?

If I am expected to be supervising another person's child, I will correct any bad behavior I see and when bringing the kid back, maybe briefly mention "Just wanted to mention I had to correct Susie for being very mean to the other girls" and then see if the parent brushes it off or wants more info. I would mention it mainly so that the girl doesn't go to mom complaining about you.

04-02-2014, 03:24 AM
No, I wasn't in charge of her. The GS meetings take place at a school, a school which is fenced/walled in and guarded by security so its fairly safe to let children wander around alone-ish. This girl is PS'ed and when she finished up with her afterschool sports she joined the GS younger siblings as well as quite a few school children at the park.

I've decided not to email. I'm going to see how next GS meeting goes, and approach mom if twit-girl acts rude again. I'm kinda hoping we don't see this girl again and its not something to worry about long term. My feelings are that mom would *probably* be embarrassed. I know the mom a little bit from HS get togethers we've been to in the past, as one of her children (not twit-girl) is homeschooled. She seems like the type that expects kindness from her kids, and my oldest daughter says that twit-girl's siblings don't behave like that.

My younger DD is already in her own GS troop and has a lot of friends in that, so I'm not interested in pushing for an all ages troop.

04-02-2014, 01:40 PM
Someone(s) mentioned this above - kids that age, they are trying stuff out. They don't know how they sound, they are learning from people's reaction what is or isn't acceptable. Since you don't think the family is a problem, and since you did react to the girl in a way that let her know she wasn't acting acceptably, I'd say - Yay! Learning experience accomplished! For both kids. Good job :)

04-06-2014, 08:14 AM
It's interesting, and instructive, to hear from people who can testify that kids don't realize how they sound sometimes, and can be really mean without actually intending to be mean (Though I don't get how "I hate her" could be an oopsie). I was never that way as a kid, and neither was DH, so it's something he and I both have to be told, by others, to know even exists. We always assumed that other kids knew exactly what they were about, when being crappy. I like the tape-recording idea, except I have some uncomfortable feeling that taping someone else's kid's conversation without their knowledge or consent could cross some lines none of us wants to cross... kind of like photographing or videotaping people without their knowledge. Not technically illegal necessarily (though recording a conversation without prior knowledge or consent does have some legal ramifications at least in some circumstances), but might totally creep out the moms you might bring the evidence to, and could backfire.

You mentioning that the siblings of 'Miss Twit' don't act like that, tells me that, like someone else said, it's probably a social influence outside the home, and in that case, the poor mom might be completely unaware, and might really want to know something like this is up.

My mother tried to raise us right, and neither she, nor I, ever knew until recent years when my sis shocked me by casual confession, that my sis was a mean kid in school. Sure, she was mean to me at home often enough, and I was shocked to find out that she assumed all kids were that way, that kids universally think it's fun, to hurt others... or at least, not unfun. She said the first time she ever realized that her cruelty was wrong, was when she finally got targeted by a relentless bully in middle school or junior high, and that after that, she no longer bullied others, because then she knew what it felt like. She thought that all kids are like that, that it's normal to be lacking in empathy until one gets bullied enough to develop it, and thinks the social machinations of public school are therefore healthy and necessary. She's not a big fan of homeschooling, obviously. I was totally floored to hear all that. She acknowledged that I was different, but felt that the kind of kid DH and I both were, is a kind of freak aberration...that almost no kids have empathy unless taught a lesson by other kids. I tend to believe that that kind of lesson, usually results in the blunting, further, of empathy...but she an I have such disparate assumptions about reality, based on our own experiences!

DH and I were kids who just seemed to be "born moral" and we assumed that our way of being, was also universal, and that any kids who were bullies, or just mean because they thought it was fun to be mean, had something seriously wrong with them.

So, I'll have to recant my assertion that the mom necessarily is the problem. I have found it usually is the case, but on reflection, not always. My mother wasn't the reason my sister was a jerk in school. School was. Well, maybe my mom was partly to blame, because she didn't want my sister bullying me, but didn't do much about it, or seemed unwilling to actually see what was in front of her, because it contradicted her belief that her girls were nice. But school didn't turn me into a jerk, so mileage varies!

This thread has made me think and ponder, and rethink my own positions. It's possible for a well-meaning mom to be totally oblivious.