I was bullied at school. In fact at two out of my three schools. I was bullied because I was different, I was bullied because there were some nasty girls at my schools, I was bullied because I was too lacking in confidence to do much about it until my Mum stepped in - both times. I know a lot of it was from a strong desire to fit in an air of desperation and loneliness that I must have given off. Mum thinks that some children are just the "type" who get bullied. Maybe she is right. However, I spent a lot of my childhood at school being unhappy, until I finally found my voice, confidence and comfort zone at my final school.
As such I am acutely attuned to any hint of bullying or social isolation directed at Eve. She is a confident little girl around her friends but also like to fit in and be liked and seeks approval (oh so like her mother). There is one little girl in the playground, N, who is a couple of years older than Eve. I don't like N. I don't like her because she seems to enjoy excluding other children from her games. She will select one or two friends to play with and then, quite hurtfully, exclude the other children. This often includes Eve who, having been taught by her Mummy that if she wants something she should ask nicely, gets very upset when N tells her to go away. I came to the playground last night to find N sitting on a bench with one other little girl pretending to be on a boat with Eve standing nearby. She told me as I walked up to them that she was on the boat and Eve wasn't allowed on it because there were only two seats. Cue Eve getting really upset. I told her that there seemed to be lots of room and maybe we could all join her on the boat. She pointedly told me that Eve wasn't welcome. Eve started to cry.
Mercifully at that point N left the playground with her helper. H, our nanny, and I sat quietly with Eve and explained that not everyone is a nice person all the time and she had lots of other friends who would be more fun to be with. Eve gave a plaintive cry that she wanted to play with N and couldn't understand why she didn't like her.
To be honest, if it had been Eve behaving like that to another child I would have taken her to task about her behaviour. However, this is the city where 90% of children are looked after by helpers who have little or no support for discipline from the parents of their charges. I spoke to H about it, she had noticed it too and said that N's nanny knew about it but that she couldn't stop it. It would seem that the nanny fraternity in our playground have simply written N off as a spiteful bully. Sad for her when she is only 6 and sad for the other children who play there.