Dealing with Preschool and being Mean

Let me preface this by saying, I was debating writing this post. While I want to tell my readers what happened, the girl who was not nice to Hayley, mom is a dear friend of mine as well as fellow blogger. We still remain the best of friends and I know she is supportive of me telling the story, so others can hear, that situations like this can happen even at a young age. For this post, I will be calling the friend, Friend X, to conceal all identities.

Friend X and Hayley are good friends. They have played together the last few years and basically got along. However, when Friend X gets together with their other Friend Y, they seem to leave Hayley out. I have noticed this in the past at a play dates but I never really said anything, because it never bothered Hayley. Friend X and Friend Y were never in Hayley’s class until now.

I went to pick up Hayley from school last week and she was upset. When I asked Hayley what was wrong, she said she asked to play with Friend X and Friend Y, but they told her that don’t want to play with her and to leave them alone. They said this over and over to her.  I told Hayley in the car, to just go and play with other people, but as a mom, this really upset me. I called up Friend X mom and told her what happened. She said she would talk to her daughter and make sure she includes Hayley in school. After all, they are 4- they should all be attempting to play together.

The next day, we along with a few other moms, went to the playground. I saw Friend X and Friend Y playing in the baseball field. Hayley went over to play and I witnessed everything. Hayley approached them, and Friend X said “Get away Hayley… Don’t ever come near us”. Hayley said she just wanted to play and Friend X said, “We don’t want to play with you. Get away from us”. I had tears in my eyes but more than anything I was infuriated. I went up to Friend X in a very nice motherly manner and asks her to not be rude to Hayley and if they wanted to ever get together again, they needed to play nicely with Hayley. After that, I saw Hayley was tearing up so we left the playground.

On the way home, Hayley was crying. I felt so bad for her. She is one of the sweetest children and I know, she felt bad with the way they acted towards her. Honestly, I could not blame her. I decided to call Friend X mother and tell her how this was hurting my daughter. Friend X mom was so apologetic and told me, that she has no idea why she acted like this. Friend X mom told me she was going to read up on bullying and talk to her daughter about it. It was awkward calling Friend X mom about this, but I know, it needed to be done. I also told Friend X mom that if Friend X continued to act like that, we could no longer to play dates.

About 3 hours later, Friend X mom called me and asked me if she could bring Friend X over to see Hayley. I said absolutely. Upon her arrival, Friend X apologized, painted Hayley a picture, and gave her a rose to tell Hayley how very sorry she was. I was deeply moved. I hope Friend X realized (and I think she did) that by saying words that are hurtful, it can greatly effect another person. I am also grateful for my good friend for realizing the magnitude of the issue and taking matters in her own hand. I know that if it ever happens again (and I hope it doesn’t), that I can readily call my friend and let her know what is going on. My hope is this is isolated incidents and life between the two of them will go on smoothly.

Friend X is a great person, I just think she didn’t realize how she was hurting another person. I truly believes she does now, so I hope this will be the end of the story here.

Have your kids ever acted like this or were on the recipient end of it? How did you handle it?


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  1. says

    Yes, we have dealt with it. It is hard. Had to have the school involved, etc.

    With your situation, I am wondering if it is the influence of of child Y that is making child X like that?

    Glad you were able to nip it in the bud quickly!

  2. says

    It starts so early! I’ve never had to deal with it, but I’m sure all parents will at some point. It sounds like your situation had a good outcome!!!

  3. says

    wow at 4? that is young. the sad thing is we usually aren’t friends with the bully’s mom and making that phone call would be horrible, how will they react? will it make things worse? will they take offense? ya know? I’m glad you got it worked out for your daughter

  4. says

    you know I am hearing this more and more! My 8 year old cousin was bullied in a private school that she paid $8,000 a year for tuition. She would come home w/ bite marks and bruises all over her. The solution is homeschool. I know not all families are able to do it but consider it. :)

  5. says

    Oh wow, I can’t believe it starts this early :( Poor Hayley… I swear kids weren’t like this when I was younger! I honestly hope I never have to deal with my son being bullied…or being a bully himself!

  6. says

    Yes, sad to say “mean girls” start at age 4 and it only continues. Kendal hated her last year of preschool because the same thing happened to her. It was awful and I witnessed it first-hand. She almost got to the point where she would not go to school and hated it. I will not go into detail here, but it was bad. We eventually did break ties with our friendship with that family (for that and other reasons). It was so awful to that “mean girls” started at such a young age. And it’s also sad to me that I still know some people at my age now that are “mean girls” and have not grown up since high school. It’s truly awful. Sorry Hayley had to experience it at age 4 as Kendal did. I will say Kendal is with a better group of girls now and loves school, which I am grateful for.

  7. says

    ugh kids can be so mean sometimes. I’m so happy to see your friend was receptive to you and that you were able to resolve the situation. Some moms just won’t hear it.

  8. says

    It’s sad it starts so young. It doesn’t get any better though as they get older. Last year we dealt with my son being bullied on the bus. The final straw was when older kids took my son’s saxophone case and were hitting him with it. The bus driver did nothing. I was livid. I sent an email to the transportation supervisor and the school superintendent, demanding that those kids be removed from the bus per the school’s bullying policy. The very next day, those boys were suspended from the bus. Nothing ever happened to the oblivious bus driver though :)

    I think you did the right thing talking to the mom of the other child. I hope things improve for Hayley.

  9. maria says

    I am sorry Hayley was bullied and had to experience that. I can see she is such a happy and loving little girl. I think it is awesome and shows that you are the girl’s mother are true friends and have a strong friendship – that you can go to one another and work it out. It was very nice of her friend to paint her a picture and apologize. It is sad how early it can start. A friend just emailed me last night about her son being bullied @ Kindergarten.
    You are a wonderful mother, Melissa!

  10. says

    Since I homeschooled my six children, I never had to worry about bullying. If any children at the park started being mean, we just left. I guess growing up being bullied myself, my mother told me just to walk away from these people, and just leave them alone. I love how you stood up for Hayley, and got the job done right.

  11. says

    At 4…wow! I am glad that the mother made a teachable moment out of the situation. That is what we have to do as parents. I would be heartbroken. Good for you for keeping your cool too! Mom power!!

  12. says

    I think it is so important to talk to children about bullying and it’s consequences. My son was also bullied at the age of 4, there was a rude little boy who used violence when he didn’t get what he wanted and hit my son a couple of times. He cried, told the teacher, and that was it. It happened again twice. Once I caught wind of it, I told him to stand up for himself and if anyone ever tried to hit him, he has my permission to defend himself. I was unable to reach the child’s parents, someone needs to talk to him about his actions towards others. I am glad her friend came to apologize, hope Hayley feels better about it!

  13. says

    I really don’t remember this happening when I was younger? Maybe here and there, but not to this extent. I am so sorry that Haley had to go through that. What a terrible ordeal for all of you. I’m glad it was resolved. Hopefully they can continue to be friendly.
    I am so frightened of this for when G gets older and heads off to school. Glad that Haley is open and honest with you!

  14. says

    This breaks my heart! I can’t believe it starts so young. Not only is it the bully mentality, but they were also demonstrating group mentality (or mob mentality). You didn’t mention Kid Y’s mom – do you know her too? did you have a chat with them also? Kid X might be influenced by Kid Y and it could pop up again as she might feel “bully’d” to be mean to H again.

  15. says

    I am so sorry you are dealing with this, and this one thing I worry about as a parent! I hate that kids have to deal with this at such a young age. I hope that things get better and she never has to deal w. this again.

  16. says

    This is so typical even at this young of an age unfortunately. I am so glad X’s mom was willing to be pro-active and help her daughter understand what bullying is and how it’s not ok. She’s a great mom, as are you!

  17. says

    Aw that’s terrible :(. I really hope Friend X realizes she’s is hurting her, and I hope she includes her from now on. I hate to say it, but if it continues, I think maybe Hayley should find a new little friend who doesn’t hurt her feelings around other friends. Sometimes it’s easier to just remove the negative, because sometimes others won’t change – But hopefully at such a young age, she will.

  18. says

    This is so heartbreaking, but I have to say you handled it so well! I am glad that everything got resolved and I think that speaks towards all the mamas involved!

  19. says

    I commend you for having the courage to bring it up! Not saying anything and just removing Hayley from future situations would be passive aggressive behavior without allowing both children to learn it is not acceptable behavior. I think any mom would want to know, as devastating as it is to hear their child was acting mean at the age of four…we are all responsible for teaching them how to be good little citizens. Here’s to hoping for no repeat performances!

  20. Heather Augenstein says

    My daughter has been going thru this very thing for YEARS! There is always a friend that wants to play but another just doesn’t want them too. My daughter has actually been on both sides of the coin.

    Currently she is coming home from after school care stating that nobody will play with her. But she is always having kids (the same kids that don’t want to play with her at school) ask to come over for a play date. I haven’t witnessed any misbehaving or bullying, but I do feel bad for her. I am not sure if she is being a drama queen or if she does have legitimate qualm. Hubby and I read a book relating to 7 years old and what to expect and they mentioned OVER AND OVER that most 7 year old children come home saying that nobody would play with them. Or that they had a bad day but in the next sentence go on about cool stuff that happened.

    Another note: Last summer a new girl enrolled in summer day came a few weeks b4 school started. My daughter REALLY liked her…the first 2 days! Then it started! My daughter loves to play with other kids but she is NOT clingy in the least bit. The “new” girl was on her like a fly on poop. Never giving my daughter any space, always wanting to be beside her. It drove my daughter CRAZY! My daughter asked her time and time again for space, or nicely said that she didn’t want to play with her but then the girl would run and tattle on my daughter. What do you do? How do you nicely explain that my daughter doesn’t like this little girl…AT ALL! The situation worsened, as they ended up being in the same 1st grade classroom. Their teacher was fabulous and realized that there was an “issue” with personalities and attempted to keep them separated. Thank goodness the other little girl moved away 1/2 way thru the year.

    My point to this babbling is that I have NO DOUBT that an outsider would have thought that my daughter was being a bully. She really didn’t mean to be. She just didn’t like the girl. It is just so hard to be unbiased about situations because they are our kids. I don’t want to see my daughter get hurt! It is so painful! But I also don’t want to see other kids have their feelings hurt either.

    Life is a balancing act! Even this young!

  21. Mary Dailey says

    I call it the “Three’s A Crowd” syndrome. This has gone on forever. The two friends do great, until another friend enters the picture. It even happens with young adults. There seems to be a type of jealousy, or wanting to have them all for themselves. It happened to me as a young adult. However, it’s usually subtle, so kudos to the mom who took the problem by the reins and, hopefully, got through to her daughter that being mean to someone is not acceptable. They see this stuff on TV too. Be careful what you watch when your children are around. Both mothers handled this properly and the girls can continue to be friends.

  22. says

    This just broke my heart! But then… This could not have been handled any better. I’ve read countless case studies on the subject and have come up with several group proposals for the issue — but parents like you and your friend are really making a difference in intervening in such a positive way. Way to go Melissa! :)

  23. says

    I am so sorry little Hayley had to experience bullying already. I am glad your friend was so receptive to the situation. Sometimes parents are on the defense about their kids and it can be hard to communicate effectively when things go wrong. As a high school teacher, I always have my eyes and ears open for bullys.

  24. Trisha says

    I am so sorry that happened. Jac has been bullied also. It just breaks my heart that these things keep happening..

  25. Leslie says

    I’m sorry that Hayley had to go through this at such a young age. Its sad that bullying has gone so far now a days and its a serious matter. I was so happy to hear that you addressed it in such a cool manner I know me I probably would of flipped out but that wouldn’t have solved anything. I now know that if this happens to my daughter in the future ( she’s 4 months ) I will know how to handle it. Thank you for sharing your story and I’m glad Hayley is ok .

  26. says

    I think it’s really hard with girls! And it’s also hard with 3. I have seen similar things like this happen when 2 of my friends and I get together…

    I hope it’s all worked out!

  27. says

    i have recently been experiencing the same issues with my daughter and two of her friends. they use to get along great but every so often i hear them talk to each other rudely and ignore one of the girls so i have to have talks with them. It hasnt happened in awhile so im hoping they understand how hurtful it is now.