Cinzano's mother had so much anger and resentment that it showed on her face, the result being that she looked rather like a bulldog chewing a wasp. Most of the other mothers had been on the receiving end of her temper at one point; consequently, most other mothers avoided her. She was one scary lady- large and manly in figure, tattooed, pierced, grubby- and Cinzano was a miniature version.
Bobby frequently came home from preschool in tears because of something Cinzano had said and, despite much tantruming and complaining on my behalf, the actions of the school had had little effect. One day Bobby again came home in tears; she had been given some pretty hair clips by her auntie and Cinzano had made fun of them. I comforted my small daughter, explaining that Cinzano probably said those things because she was sad that SHE didn't have pretty things, and was jealous of how pretty Bobby looked in her new hair clips. I (perhaps foolishly) added that poor Cinzano didn't have a nice mummy like Bobby did who would cuddle her and brush her hair etc etc and this would make her sad and cross.
The next day, Bobby trotted off to preschool feeling confident and loved. When I picked her up at lunchtime she was, miraculously, all smiles. I asked her how her morning had been and if she'd had any more trouble from Cinzano. She said, "Oh yes, mummy, but I just remembered what you told me. I told Cinzano that you said she only picks on me because she's the fat kid."
Nooooo!!!!!!! No, no, no scary mummy of Cinzano, that's not what I said!
Avoiding Bulldog Wasp Mama we legged it out of the playground. Unfortunate as the choice of wording was, it worked. Bobby and her friends had no more trouble from Cinzano, who evidently didn't want to be proved to be 'The Fat Kid', and I remained safe from her mummy.
Bobby and Peter have both been bullied at some point, especially since starting secondary school. Peter is a prime target as he is so odd, bless him. Thankfully both of them felt comfortable enough to tell someone and the problem was sorted out swiftly, with their dad and I monitoring every step to make sure the problem doesn't resurface.
If you have a child in this position, kick up a screaming fuss until it is sorted, and monitor closely. There is no shame in making sure your child is happy. You are the parent. If you don't do it, no-one else will.
If your child has never been bullied, keep a close eye on them. Chances are that if they are not in with the wrong crowd, or being picked on by the wrong crowd, they ARE the wrong crowd. That's teens for you, sorry and all that. Prepare yourself for a 'phone call...
Today: Where to get help if your child is being bullied
To keep them safe online http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/