Swiss or Yank?

“The worst day ever!” yesterday, according to Millie, who came home from school and burst into tears (possibly not unrelated to the tiredness).

From what the Lovely Melanie has pieced together, she was bullied.  A bit.  Not a lot, but enough to upset her, and mainly because one of her good friends took the bully’s side.

Now, this is, to some extent, pieced-together conjecture, but Millie tried to join in a game with her friends at playtime; she didn’t know the rules; if anyone told Millie the rules, the bully warned everyone else, then  they would forfeit her friendship.  The usual kind of bully crap.

Millie apparently still tried to play, but without knowing the rules she was quickly laughed out of the game.  Even by one of her best friends.

The saddest thing about this is that Millie’s friend later said that she laughed at Millie only to avoid being picked on herself. 😦

Millie’s had the occasional run-in with this bully before, but her friend, I’m told, is a more regular target; so in a miserable way you can kind of understand her complicity with the bully.

Fortunately, the Lovely Melanie is friendly with the mum of Millie’s friend (excuse the torturous grammar here) and they’ve had an open and helpful chat about the whole thing.

This is where it gets sticky for any parent, however.  No one wants to hear their child is being bullied, however infrequently or lightly.

The dilemma for the parents is: do you play it as Switzerland or as the USA?  Intervene or stand aside?

Swiss flag         

I’m not the sort of parent to go banging on the headteacher’s door at the first hint of a problem (really!  I’m not!): Millie has to learn to fight how to fight her own battles – we won’t always be here to do it for her.  Our role, I think, is simply to ensure Millie knows we’ve always got her back if she ever needs us.

In this case, she needs some advice and sympathy from us (Swiss approach).  It’s not a big problem, and the bully in question isn’t a career bully; this just needs Millie to stand up for herself and hopefully to trust in her friends.

In fact, you might almost say this is “good” bullying, in that it’s relatively minor and easily dealt with, but still holds some good lessons for the future.

Good bullying – now there’s a new concept!

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