Protecting Our Children

First off, Stella is okay, but… 


Those are definitely six words you don’t want to hear at the start of a phone call from the school nurse.

A good URL turned IRL friend of mine wrote this post on Monday about one of the horrible games she remembered being forced to be a part of on her childhood playground. It made me shudder, both for her and for all of us who have been in similar situations as women and children. It also made me worried for what situations my own daughter would be a part of on her own playground someday.

That night, my husband and the kids and I were all sitting in the living room after dinner chatting about our days, and Stella mentioned for the first time ever that two boys in her class were being mean to her and her best friend lately. One of those boys (C*) is the child of a close friend of mine – he and Stella have always been buddies in the past, but “now that C* is friends with C, he doesn’t like [Stella] anymore.”


So that wasn’t great to hear, but I get that friendships are something that is an ever-evolving thing for kids. However, when we pushed for more information, it felt even worse.


Are you sure they weren’t just playing, Stella?

No, they’re being really mean to us. They push us and hit us and call us REALLY mean names.

Okay…where does this happen?

At recess and in our classroom.

Have you ever told your teacher about this?

No, she doesn’t know about it. They only do it when she isn’t looking. We don’t like when they’re so mean to us.


Um, okay. Bullying at 4 years old? Consider me supremely unhappy. In the classroom it’s a 1:7 ratio in the pre-school and she never had any issues last year. However, recess has both classes out there at once, and I have no idea which aides are watching them at that time, so I was concerned enough to e-mail her teacher the next morning to explain what Stella had said and to ask her to keep a closer eye for a few days on interactions in particular between them.

No joke, maybe an hour after sending that email, I got the call from the school nurse.

First off, Stella is okay, but she is currently being treated in my office because a boy on the playground threw a rock at her head and it hit her in the temple. 


No stitches are needed, but she’ll have a bump and bruise for sure. There were definitely a lot of tears, but the ice pack has helped a lot, and she’s going back to her classroom in a bit. 


Um, Okay. I literally just e-mailed her teacher about two boys in her class who have been bullying her. Who threw the rock?

Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that. It was *** who threw the rock. Is that one of the boys you were concerned about? 

*sigh* No, but I’m not surprised that’s the name you said.

(Meanwhile in my head, I’m even more fuming pissed because ***’s mother is a friend of mine who has been hidden on my FB timeline for a good year. Our political views are SO polar opposite that it wrecks our friendship if I can see the crap she posts. We had JUST gotten into it on Monday on a mutual friend’s FB post about how WORDS MATTER because she was defending the “locker room talk” and how in her opinion words aren’t part of rape culture don’t lead to actions in her mind (harumph). My head was almost exploding by the ridiculousness of it all. Her style of parenting is also polar opposite of mine when it comes to exposure to violent movies, video games, etc. because of this difference in beliefs about words affecting actions.)

Meanwhile… on the phone, the nurse is reassuring me again that my daughter is fine, she had just wanted to give me a heads up about the bump and let me know that an incident report was being filed with the principal’s office.img_17891

Clearly this could have been so much worse, but it was the first time I’ve ever not been able to BE PRESENT to physically protect my child when something concerning happened. I trust her teacher and her school, and I’m hoping they are swift and definite about punishment for altercations like this, but MAN does it get me fired up.

When we asked Stella what has precipitated the rock throwing, she told us that the two boys were being mean to the twins again, so Stella was protecting them and they were hiding from those boys. She said that *** (the rock thrower) thought that was mean, so he threw a rock at her.

I’m about 50% proud of her that this all happened because she was protecting the girls in her class who are shyer and less assertive, and 50% still just pissed off that throwing a rock at her FACE was this boy’s solution to his anger. Physical violence is NOT the answer.

Ugh, that being said, I’m trying to keep a cool(ish) head about this, because after all, they are just 4 years old and learning social interaction. It just sucks to not always be able to protect your kids, you know?


  1. Aww, poor Stella! It is very troubling that this is already happening at 4, and I would’ve been pretty upset too.

  2. This breaks my heart, but I know it’s within the realm of “normal.” Kids hit, they throw rocks, etc… Which is why they call it “preschool.” But it sucks when its your kid getting hurt or picked on. Matthew has not had these problems either year, but the teachers have said that the afternoon class last year and this year are very mean to each other. His teachers say that it starts earlier and earlier every year. 4 is too young. My heart worries about next year when I don’t know all the parents and there are older kids influencing the younger ones. I like my little preschool bubble.

    When you commented on that post yesterday, I wasn’t expecting a bruise as bad as this. Do you know if the boys parents were notified?

    1. Yes, the Mom was notified at pickup.

      1. And? We had about a month where a boy in Molly’s kinder kept scratching her. Now I know he is 3 going on 4 and there are a lot of big emotions but still your heart breaks when your kid gets hurt and you can’t do anything 😡😢

  3. Holy! I’m very glad that Stella is okay. You’re right, this could have been a lot worse. But I’m so sorry that you had this type of call.

    Unfortunately I have witnessed stuff like this in my interactions with students (pre-K all the way up to the college level). It does happen and is considered “normal.” What isn’t normal, though, is when it’s happening more often than not. It signals there’s potentially a lack of emotional control and even empathy. And, again unfortunately, home environment plays a lot into this.

    If you haven’t already, I would request a conference with the teachers/director of your program. I would tell them again what you heard from Stella and talk about, given what’s happened, what plan of action is in place to help resolve this. We had one child who was such an emotional landmine that there was always a teacher on him for this very reason. It’s not a perfect solution, but knowing what’s happening and the plan moving forward will help you and Stella with knowing what to do if a situation like this was to present itself in the future (and how to prevent it from ending the way it did).

    Again, I’m so sorry. Many hugs to you and Stella.

  4. I’m glad that it was only a bump! A temple area is a dangerous area, he could have killed her given into consideration how that bruise looks.
    If I were y iu, I would demand a meeting with the teachers, parents and the boy. He must be punished properly, as a lesson to himself and others. He is old enough and will understand. Otherwise, such behaviour will be seen again!

  5. Oh poor Stella , poor you – this stuff is tough. We have had minor things with Toby and his friends but mostly not so intentional things. I worry about this stuff as well all you want to do is protect your kids.

  6. Oh no 🙁 I feel so bad for Stella and for you!

    We are dealing with another girl bullying Gracie, but only with words. I tried to just help her from the outside for a while, but finally promised that I’d ask the teacher when they were going to move seats/desks since they sit in the same little four-desk pod. The teacher said not for a while and asked what was going on. I didn’t give her the details because I was afraid of being a helicopter mom, but I have no idea if that was the right move or not. It is SO STRESSFUL.

    It’s so good you emailed the teacher about it and have proof that stuff was awry even before she needed MEDICAL ATTENTION. I can’t even imagine how upset (in every form of the word) you must’ve been/still are.

    I have a book that I’ve had for a while now and read a little bit of months ago and think about reading about a million times a day when I’m busy with other things, but you might want to check it out for future “friend” issues. It’s not about the physical stuff you’ve been dealing with, but more just kids friendships in general. I feel like I need all the help I can get in this regard. Not because I had a bad/friendless childhood or anything, but just because we’ve all been there, and I have no idea what to say to help 🙁

    1. Thanks! I’ll check it out. I’m sorry Gracie is struggling with friendship / kid stuff too. 🙁

  7. So sorry to hear that! I’m about to put my kid to school soon on a sit-in basis since he’s only 2, and my main concern is bullying. Hopefully, nothing bad happens.

  8. This is some tough stuff. Really tough.

    It is true that this kind of behavior is normal, but it would be hard not to wonder if it has something to do with a mom who doesn’t believe seeing violence would make kids more predisposed to acting out in violent ways. I commend you for staying friends with someone you know has such differing views. I would find that really difficult.

    I hope Stella feels better soon, both her head and her heart.

    Hugs to both of you.

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