No one wants to play with me!
Very sad, but unfortunately it does happen that a child comes to you on the school grounds complaining that no one wants to play with them.
A popular bullying method is to exclude. Typically a group of bullies will gang up against their victim and laugh behind their back, refuse to share with them and are generally mean towards their target.
Oh, that hurts.
When dealing with a situation like this, it is obvious that the bullies’ behaviour will be reproached and the very complicated process of teaching these meanies to change their behaviour needs to commence.
The same goes for the victim. To learn to become assertive and handle circumstances like these are difficult but sometimes there are things that can easily be changed to prevent your child from being excluded.
For example, one little girl I teach always has nits in her hair. Most of the times she scratches her head so roughly, I’m afraid she may literally pull her hair out. A few times she had caught a nits and squashed it with gusto into the desk. All the other children were disgusted! The school has asked her parents to treat her head lice, wrote letters and threatened them, but they do nothing. This is causing other children to refuse to sit next to her and they also avoid her on the playground.
My eldest daughter was the smallest girl in her class for a long time. I reinforced the feeling that her size may be her secret weapon as the biggest poison comes in small bottles. And boy, did she live up to this image!
Now, not all things that make you a target of bullying can so easily be changed. It’s easiest to change the child’s visual triggers; therefore start with it. Help your son to find his most attractive and a girl’s pretties feature and focus on that when someone is teasing them about a feature that cannot be changed.
Then move to the character traits. Your child has to know what his or her predominant positive trait is, for instance, is he friendly, caring, a daydreamer or a problem solver.
It’s also important for a child to be aware of what they can do well so that they know they have certain strengths that they can fall back on when there might be something that they may not be able to do so well and what may cause others to taunt them. One little boy in my son’s class did not progress in school as fast as his peers, but he could make the most delicious sandwich and when we immigrated, he made a special sandwich in my sons name.
When it’s not a bullying incident but an occasional exclusion, it may work to redirect the victim to play with another group of children when one group excludes him or her. For instance a girl wanted to play ball with the boys and on my request, they allowed her to catch the ball, but she missed it by a mile and they went on playing around her. Then it will be a good idea to encourage her to rather play with another group of children who are on the same developmental level as her.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just play together and get along with everyone?