Rewind 3 years: We had the brand new Dora backpack and matching lunchbox. We went shopping for new clothes, new shoes, new hair bows. All of the school supplies were purchased, put inside her backpack, right next to all of the parent forms they want you to sign.
She was ready. I wasn't, but she was.
As I walked her up to the school, the last 5 years played on a loop over and over in my mind. Flashbacks of holding her in my arms for the first time, first smiles, first giggles, first steps. And here was another first: school. Kindergarten. My baby was starting a new chapter in her life.
For the past 5 years, she was, for the most part, all mine. She hadn't been jaded. Yet. She was surrounded by people that loved her beyond what she could ever understand. She was the center of the universe. And that's all she knew.
Once she started school, the world no longer revolved around her. In my world, it did. But when your child starts school, she is simply just another kid. It's hard for us parents to understand how teachers, and other kids, could not just be crazy about our child. I mean, c'mon! What's not to like?
When it first happened, my daughter didn't tell me. She kept it inside. I could see something was bothering her. Then one day she just came out and told me that she was being bullied. One of her "friends" was saying mean things to her. Telling her she didn't like her, that her mom (yea,me) was fat and ugly, she didn't want to play with her, she hated her, etc.
When she told me, I started crying. I couldn't believe it. She was 5. She had never been around ugly words like that. She wasn't used to being tormented and treated so mean. Like I said before, she wasn't jaded. Except, now she was. Now she understood that life is filled with all different kinds of people. And some of them are nasty. They can be jealous. They can be bratty. They can be straight up be mean, for no reason at all. I hated that she had to know this.
They don't tell you all these things in the student handbook. They don't prepare your children for bullies. That's OUR job. I sent my girl off to school and I didn't even THINK about this. I figured, hey, it's kindergarten. I have a while to go before I have to talk to her about this. I was wrong.
I'm telling you now, bullies exist, even in Kindergarten. So after you get all of the necessary school supplies, get their clothes ready, lunchbox packed, you need to sit your child down and have a little talk.
You need to let them know they are entering a whole new world, filled will all sorts of people. There will be different views, different ways of living. They might come across a bully. They might BE the bully. That's why it is so important to teach our kids to stand up and defend who they are . And we need to teach them to treat other people with respect. Because bullying knows no age.
It's important that you have this talk with your child. That way if they are dealt a crappy situation like my daughter was, they will be prepared. They will be able to talk to you. And if you are anything like me, this time of your life is delicate. As a parent you are overcome with emotion. Your baby is going to kindergarten! Your child might be excited, reluctant, sad. All of the above.
But it's gonna be okay. I promise. If I can get through this, you can too. Talk to your child. Prepare them for the world, which is most definitely different from what they are used to. With the right advice and your love, they can make it through with you by their side.