View Full Version : Name calling
9th May 2005, 09:17 PM
When I was reading Deirdre a bed time story last night, she interrupted me to say that three little boys in her class have been calling her names. I tried not to sound too upset, and asked her what names they were calling her. Because of her cast, they're calling her a "turtle". When I heard this, I tried to reassure her that in no way did she look like a turtle and that she was a very pretty little girl. I told her to ignore these kids, but one of them she has a serious crush on. She's ONLY in junior Kindergarten, how cruel can these kids be ? What should I do ? Should I speak to their moms ? Should I wring their little necks ? :soapbox:
9th May 2005, 09:47 PM
hi, i'm becky and i'm really new here but i have a few ideas. however, i'm 18, pretty naive and NO idea what it's like to be a mother so feel free to disregard what i say!
1 - forgetting momentarily the bullying, how does your daughter feel about her cast/scoliosis? you told her she's really pretty (thumbsup) but does she have a PMA (positive mental attitude) towards her condition, not just her general looks? i know it's really hard to have one, it's taken me four years to get over myself and look at my situation positively
2 - teasing often comes from misunderstanding. are these boys just curious? do they know what scoliosis is? my guess would be know as they are, 5/6 years old? (sorry, i'm british and ignorant of other education systems :D)
3 - big round of applause t your daughter for telling you about it, she obviously trusts you. so many kids hide the fact that they're being teased (again, experience speaking, though i wasn't teased for scoli)
i think you have a few options. if your daughter is confident/capable, you and she could sit down with the boys and their mum and explain scoliosis, or you could even do it with her whole kindergarten class? they're possibly unfeasible ideas, or could draw unwanted attention to her (i only have your post to go on) but if they can understand and give her support...
to go off on a bit of psychobabble for a sec (i'm a psychology student, and i know a little about development) there's a difference between sympathy and empathy, and especially in young kids, it's hard for them to comprehend a situation they haven't experienced themselves so whilst they can give their friend/peer a hug, they struggle to understand why they're upset and exactly what's wrong (if you ask me, this isn't just related to young children, older people do this too) so because they don't yet have the ability to step back, see something from another's point of view and try to understand what they're feeling, they need to be helped out, then they can reciprocate by helping the person who feels down.
i think it's really important to look at the positives in a situation (which the other members here have helped me do even though i only joined last week!) and how kids learn whilst they're young dictates how they react to similar situations in the future.
although wringing their necks would be short term satisfying, helping them understand may be beneficial for your daughter so that she can be a little more accommodating.
best of luck, hope some of that makes sense!
9th May 2005, 10:03 PM
I think it's best to ignore it.When I had my Milwaulkee brace, the TV detective ironside was popular.So I was ironside.I got over it and it did no lasting damage.
Just tell her that sometimes other kids just aren't smart enough to understand why people are different.If she were older, say nine or ten, I think it would have more of a negative effect.Unfortunately, it's a sacrifice that has to be made to prevent them from calling her worse names.
9th May 2005, 10:15 PM
Wow, I can't believe it's happening so young! Still, I guess kids are getting older quicker these days so it's only to be expected. Your post reminded me of an Australian friend - her daughter just turned four and had a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle party, just so that she could get everyone to dress up with what she had anyway. They made a big thing of it and in turn I guess the kids understood why she was in the cast.
It's something i've been thinking of recently - whether to let Erin start school without mentioning it, or whether to go into the class and explain why Erin has to wear a cast and that she's no different to anyone else, or whether that will be drawing attention to it. We've got a while before she goes to school to think about it, but it's good to hear of others' experiences (although not bad ones!).
If it were me, i'd probably keep an eye on it, but make no moves yet. Kids being kids, they pick on anything - glasses, being short, being tall, fat, thin etc - and wearing a cast is just different. As long as she is upbeat and confident about who she is and her body, I think she'll ride on through it and the kids will move on to something else within days. Obviously if it becomes persistent, action will need to be taken, but I'd just sit tight for a week or so and see how it goes.
Well done Deirdre for telling you though :D
9th May 2005, 10:22 PM
God they learn so fast don't they? I would be inclined to ignore it, I think at that age they have such short attention spans that to make a big deal of it could just prolong it in the other kids minds.
It is good that Deirdre is telling you about it, but maybe have a quiet word with the teacher so s/he can keep an eye on things as well.
Keep up the good work
10th May 2005, 03:17 AM
Marmite, are you really only 18 ? Wow, I can't remember being so in touch with things at your age. :-D It's unbelievable that the teasing is starting up already. I was expecting this from other "girls" much later i.e., grade three or four and NOT from boys in junior kindergarten. It's hard enough dealing with scoliosis and trying to keep it under control without also having to worry about the psychological aspects of wearing a cast or brace. I'm glad she told me about the name calling and I hope she continues to let me know whenever something is bothering her. I wonder if she expects me to take action ? I'll just ignore it for now and hope that it passes. Two weeks from now I'll ask her if they're still calling her names and if so, I will mention it to the teacher. If nothing is done about it - I'll speak to the parents.
10th May 2005, 04:00 AM
Wow, that is quite early.. I never got teased until I was in 4th-5th grade. I think it is true that teasing comes from them misunderstanding the situation and why she is different. Sometimes I think if I could go back I would have been more open and positive about my condition rather than telling my brother and having them go kick the person's behind who teased me. :angel:
I would just say to let it go but to tell her that she should stand up for herself if they do it again and explain the best her little self that can how it isn't nice of them to do that to her because it hurts her feelings. Instilling confidence in her at a young age will make it easier for her when she starts to get older. I always say those experience just made me learn to be stronger!
10th May 2005, 05:09 AM
I'm probably contagious all hacking and coughing and yuck but I wanted to answer this post. I promise not to breathe on you. Sealy, Well done, your daughter thinks enough of you to tell you her troubles. I'd probably ask her if there is anything she wants you to do about it. If not right away maybe she'll feel like letting it slide this time but she'll know she can come to you if she can't handle the teasing. Generally its better to let kid arguments go - in a week they may be best buddies. But again be sure you tell her that the kids were wrong to tease her. Some extra reassurance never hurts tell her all Mommy's grown up friends think she's very terrific! AND we are very proud of her.
10th May 2005, 10:26 AM
I agree with Marmyte, Shortgirl and Amazed.....the most important thing is to buid Deirdre's confidence up so if she does get teased, she'll know that it's not *her* problem, but these kids are just being ignorant.
I had a bad time as a child because I always felt it was my fault for being different, and I didn't understand that it wasn't. If I told my parents about being teased, they would make impatient-sounding noises and tell me to "kick them in the teeth". I was never taught to have confidence and always felt inferior to other kids, and I know I could have dealt with it better if I'd felt confident that my parents were on my side.
If Deirdre's school/kindergarten does Show-and-Tell, maybe she could show off her cast sometime, or photos of Xrays? "This is what all your backs look like inside", "this is what mine looks like", "I have to wear this so my back gets straight again", sort of thing.
Sorry I can't help more :(
Sarahs Mum aka Chrissy
10th May 2005, 10:32 AM
I just want to put my comment here too.
Firstly - well done to Deirdre for telling you about these kids, she was obviously upset enough to having spoken to you about it.
As I work in a primary school, we will not tolerate any bullies whatsoever, and I expect Deirdre's teachers would be appalled by what has happened. So I would mention it to her teacher's and ask them to keep an eye on these boys.
But at the end of the day, kids are cruel, even at this age. It doesn't matter what is wrong with you, but if you are a little bit different, fat, thin, big or small they will find something nasty to say, just from the fact that you are different!.
Hang on in there,
Love Chrissy XXX
10th May 2005, 02:40 PM
aw that is so not nice.....kids are cruel...and always will be...its so shocking to hear the things they do come out with (I worked in a nursery school with 3 and 4 year olds as part of my course) and I was shocked by the name calling....and these kids didnt have anything as major as a brace or a cast - some of them were swearing at 3 years old....I was like flip me!!!! :-o I agree with Chrissy - definately mention it...cos seriously - u may not think it but this will affect Deirdre in later life......I got bullied all through primary school and secondary school also - I was called stupid a lot, and that has had a major impact on my self esteem.....it has been hard but very slowly I am bulilding on my confidence.....but one little comment can really effect it again.....I grew up hating myself, and thinking I was stupid....I thought I could never do anything or go anywhere....but I will be going to uni in september, so thats something
Anyways enuf of my sob story....but I would make sure and mention it! well done Deirdre tho! :D
10th May 2005, 04:10 PM
Hi Sealy. I'm so sorry your little girl is having a difficult time of it. I wish I knew exactly the right thing to say that would make everything better for her, but I just don't. However, I do have a few well meaning suggegstiions for you.
I am currently an education major and I used to work as a Teacher's assistant in a Pre-Kindergarten classroom for several years. Such close contact with children the same age as your daughter has taught me a few things about how to handle such situations.
We once had a child that was enrolled in our class that was profoundly deff. He had a coclear (guessing at the spelling) implant that was obviouse. He also had difficulty with speech because of his disability. Realizing that this might make him a target for bullying, his mother came to his teacher and me and expressed her concerns. We decided that the best way to handle the situation would be to educate his classmates about his problems. The three of us got together and explained to the children what the little boy's coclear implant is and the problems that are assosicated with his hearing loss. We also answered any questions that the children had about it. We were amazed at how willing his classmates were to go out of their way to help out this little boy from that moment on. They also didn't feel the need to tease him because they understood what his problems were. You'd be amazed at how kind young children can be. At that age they are so willing to please and want to be seen as "good."
If I were you, I would talk to your child's teacher and ask her if it would be possible for the two of you to get together and explain to your hild's classmates what her problemes and difficulties are. I'm sure he or she will be more than accomdating. It's a teacher's job to educate. Education doesn't only mean teaching academic fundamentals.
My own personal experiences have taught me that this works. Children make fun of what they don't understand. If they are educated, then the jokes just don't seem as funny.
All the best to you. Let us know if things improve.
11th May 2005, 11:10 AM
You've already had a lot of good advice in this thread. Just in case it helps I'll add my own thoughts / experience:
I first experienced name calling at about the age of 6 or 7 (when I began to wear a brace). In retrospect I can see how my world completely changed, previously I had been a bright pretty little thing with many friends and had the carefree confidence that can bring. But bullying in any form of a child at that age can have a significant impact and in my case (unfortunately) it did. I withdrew completely into my shell (I couldn't tell my Mum as I thought she would over react and make things worse). I recently read my medical notes and at the age of seven I was noted as being a "pathetic little creature" by my then surgeon. The bullying continued throughout my school years.
I fully agree with Marmyte and Lindysmom in that I think much of the name calling etc could have been prevented had my schoolmates been a little more educated. They didn't have a clue about scoliosis, one of the names I was frequently called was "broken neck" - I assume because the brace was visible above my blouse collar.
11th May 2005, 01:38 PM
I can't believe any surgeon would refer to a patient like that - it's quite disgusting. Surely "shy" or "withdrawn" would have been a better adjective than pathetic. Everyone's comments and suggestions are really helpful to mums like Sealy and I in dealing with this issue and forthcoming ones at school. I'm sure i'll be seeking your further help at some point, but I just wanted to say I'm grateful for all advice and i'm sure Sealy is too.
11th May 2005, 02:57 PM
What a horrible doctor ! Is he still practicing ? Are they allowed to make remarks like that in the medical chart ? I do worry about name calling and the long term repercussions on her psyque. Up until now she has been a very sweet confident little girl.
Thank-you to all for the wonderful tips ! I will talk to her teacher and discuss the possibility of having a "show and tell" to discuss her cast. I don't know if I should bring in the very first x-ray ? That might be a bit much ?
11th May 2005, 03:54 PM
Originally posted by Sealy@May 11 2005, 12:57 PM
What a horrible doctor ! Is he still practicing ? Are they allowed to make remarks like that in the medical chart ?
He isn't still practicing, he retired a long time ago. The remark was made in 1972 when I was 7 and I recall at that time surgeons were thought to be Gods (I can't imagine my Mother would have ever questioned him even if she knew what was written in my notes).
It shocked me little to read it all these years later and other remarks about my general demeanour (it seems I was very withdrawn at my appointments then). But one of the most upsetting things that happened to me while an inpatient at the NOC in Oxford was being paraded in my lower underwear (albeit with my back to audience) in front of what seemed like a mass of doctors (I think it was some sort of lecture theatre). I wasn't asked, just taken there by a nurse and told to remove my nightdress.
Good luck talking to your daughter's teacher, hopefully you can both come up with a good way to inform the class about scoliosis (pictures are a good way to communicate with young children so maybe using xrays of a normal and a scoliotic spine will be helpful along with any other material you think useful). In my experience chidren love to learn new things and will talk enthusiatically with other children and parents about them.
11th May 2005, 07:04 PM
Annie - that is so awful.....If I read that I would have slapped him I really would have!
I actually im very interested in getting a hold of my medical records.....cos even tho my scoli werent discovered until I was 18 - I just wana see if there was any signs or if anyone noted anything.....like my ribs sticking out from the age of 7
does anyone know of where I can get a hold of them.....and how long it would take to get them?
11th May 2005, 07:12 PM
If you want to go back that young, you'll only have a GP's record unless you've been treated at hospital in the past. If not, there won't be a hospital record from until after you were referred.
12th May 2005, 05:08 PM
As a parent i can understand the anguish you are going through, i can also empathise with your daughter, kids can be so cruel. I don't have any more to add than that has not already be said above but i just wanted to offer my support to you.
i recently got to see my medical notes from a consultant i saw in 1984, and although the guy was not as forthright in his comments as yours was his underlying sentiments were exactly the same. I also had to go back to school and suffer the taunting and bullying.
I have changed Drs three times and my medical notes have followed me. Thats how i got to see the letter from the so called consultant to my GP so i would imagine if you are still in the same practice your notes will be somehere. They are your notes so i wouldn't imagine they can stop you viewig them.
12th May 2005, 10:13 PM
on the topic of notes, i don't know how (sorry i can't help you there!) but my mum got a hold of mine (i was still a minor so i wasn't involved) and read them. i think it was because initially she took me to our GP then we got an appiontment with my surgeon privately so we had to have my notes? or maybe he let my mum look at them (my surgeon i mean)...anyways, we found out the GP had had the nerve to write "patient very thin, possibly has anorexia" or words to that effect (though i'm definite about the "very thin" part). what he didn't consider was: my age (i was 14 and growing a mile a minute) and that what he wasn't seeing (that i eat like a horse and never exercise, very lazy person) we were horrified, my mum hates all the GPs at our surgery!
sealy - yes i am 18 (my birthday was march 26th) i don't think i am in touch - give me a baby and i'd either drop it or make it cry!
13th May 2005, 01:04 AM
Anorexia simply means loss of appetite. It's possible he meant "anorexia nervosa", the eating disorder, when he wrote anorexia (the word is often used alone to mean the eating disorder), but it's equally possible he just referred to a general lack of appetite on your part that caused you to be so thin. Did he ever ask you about your eating habits? If not, then clearly he isn't a good doctor, so his opinion doesn't matter.
13th May 2005, 07:53 PM
he meant anorexia nervosa, and no he never asked. i've been to see a doctor once in the ten years i've lived where i am, and that was the only time. my surgeon didn't feel the need to follow it up, he knew i'd grown and my weight hadn't caught up with my height. i certainly don't look anorexic now! and i would have to agree that that doctor is indeed a bad one. but i do think GPs are forced into making assumptions - sometimes they're justified but in my case they weren't
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