My 7 year old daughter has been targeted by a bully in her class for three years. The bully has tried to isolate my daughter socially by threatening other girls if they play with her, and has told my daughter that she doesn’t belong in this world. The bully will often notice that my daughter is making friends with someone and then start playing with that girl at recess, and tell my daughter that the other girl doesn’t like her. The school is aware of the problem and says they are dealing with the bully. In the meantime she continues to target my daughter. The school has a social worker who is there a couple of times per month and does a classroom intervention, as well as an individual intervention with my daughter.

It is also true that my daughter is immature socially, and very sensitive. She had one best friend for all of pre-school they were inseparable, but when they got to elementary school a new girl joined the class and my daughter lost her best friend to the new girl. Since then she perceives the slightest thing as an insult that she describes as a rock building up in her stomach. My daughter is a generally happy kid, who gets along well and plays well with friends at home. In school she stays mostly to herself, but occasionally complains about insults that seem to be exaggerated.

My daughter’s perception of the bully is that she pitties her. She says all the time that she knows the bully can’t control it. We have been working with my daughter to handle these incidents on her own and building her resilience by writing about it in a journal and re-framing etc. But we don’t want the school to take their eye off the problem. When we speak with them about what is going on they imply that we are blowing the situation out of proportion since our daughter isn’t complaining to them, but we don’t want to discourage her from learning to handle it without running to the teacher each time. This is a small school where my daughter will likely be in the same class with this bully for the next 10 years. How do we address the problem without subjecting our daughter to a childhood full of insults?

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