Samantha Walravens went into “mama bear mode” when her kindergarten daughter told her she was being bullied.
“She said, ‘The girls are being mean to me. I don’t want to go to school. They’re not letting me play with them. I want to stay home with you, Mommy,’” the San Francisco-area mother of four recalled her youngest daughter, Gigi, saying.
“Oh, my gosh, my baby,” Walravens described of her own reaction.
Walravens, the author of “TORN: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood,” recorded her daughter’s experience in an essay for ModernMom.com, where she recalled not being a victim of bullying herself until sixth-grade.
“We’re seeing bullying behavior, mean behavior in younger kids because of a lack of face-to-face time,” New York psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor told ABC News. “With technology, they’re on screens.”
Taylor says that another reason for bullying among the kindergarten set is a sense of entitlement.
“A five-year-old girl is the queen and center of her universe,” Taylor said. “Girls find that they can have power by making other girls feel badly.”
In Walravens’ case, she reported the bullying to Gigi’s teachers who, she says, responded by bringing everyone together to confront the “mean girl” dynamic.
“If you can see it this early and work through these issues before it hits middle school,” Walravens said, “you can stop it from getting really bad.”