Elementary girls bullying can have a very corrosive effect on your classroom team. Some girls hesitate to report it, which makes the problem even worse.
Some of my girl students are not sharing threats to avoid my "no-tattling" rule.
My classroom has a rule against excessive tattling. Recently, I have encountered issues in which a student felt physically or emotionally threatened, but didn't tell me so as not to violate the tattling rule.
How do I help the students understand what is appropriate tattling and what is not?
Sometimes, that tattling does get out of hand, doesn't it?
And when it does, it can complicate the issue of girls bullying pretty quickly.
The difficulty, as youve discovered, is limiting tattle disruptions in your classroom while encouraging children to still report activity that's inappropriate...such as the activities of a bully in school.
I have devoted an entire page to tattling and tattlers and it includes ideas for turning situations such as these into "teachable moments."
However, I'd like to address the particular issue of girls and bullying as it relates to tattling.
Since your scenario involves girls, it's important to understand that they face different social pressures than elementary school boys face. Especially as they approach ages ten and above - which would normally be fourth through sixth grades in the elementary setting - they become much more socially aware than most boys.
No child should feel unsafe or isolated at school
They begin to feel peer pressure and an increasingly intense desire to conform.
Of course, this is not true of all girls, just as the opposite is not true of all boys. However, these general guidelines do apply.
When you're working on your anti-bullying program, you may need to have separate discussions with the girls in your classroom. Removing the pressure of having boys listen to their conversations will often allow them the freedom to express their true feelings about what is occurring around them.
In fact, having a discussion such as this with your girls will help them more easily determine what's tattling and what's a simply appropriate telling.
Most importantly, you'll become a trusted authority figure once you demonstrate that you understand the pressures they are under. Once youve built that level of trust, a girl will be more likely to approach you in confidence to share whats happened regarding a bully in school, even if she's unsure whether shes actually tattling or not.
Above all, keep your ears and eyes open for those subtle interactions that indicate tensions may be building between different children in your classroom. Just keep in mind that its sometimes more subtle when girls are involved.
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