How early do children start getting bullied in school?

Last Thursday, I attended my daughter's Back to School Night at her elementary school. After a presentation from the principal regarding the school's philosophy, parents were invited to their children's classrooms to meet with the teacher and get to know her and her teaching philosophy a little bit better. My daughter's first-grade teacher had us doing a little exercise in which we basically had to answer four questions regarding first grade and our expectations and fears for our children, among other things.

After she shared each of our answers with everybody, she told us our first-graders had done the same and we went through some of their answers posted on the classroom wall together. While we shared some of the same expectations with them, we didn't really share the same fears. I'm sad to report that most first-graders in my daughter's class said they were afraid of being bullied. 

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Read more in ¿Qué más?: Defending my daughter from a bully

I'm not 100 percent sure what's the reason behind this answer, but it definitely made me extremely sad, discouraged and even worried. Although my daughter was not one of the children who said she was afraid of bullies, the majority of the kids did and it was hard for me not to shed some tears at the notion behind their answer.

I'm not naive enough to think that there's no bullying going on in my daughter's school, but I must admit I was extremely surprised to hear that kids so young are already worried about this growing trend among students. I mean, my daughter just barely turned 6 years old three weeks ago and I honestly had wished this was something we'd be worrying about much later in her school life.

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When I asked my daughter if she knew what bullying meant she thought I was talking about bowling. I couldn't help but laugh, but I made a note to myself to bring this subject up, since her teacher says that although it doesn't happen regularly, bullying CAN start as early as kindergarten! I'm heartbroken, but I know I have to talk to my daughter about it and I'm so not looking forward to telling her about the harsh realities of life...

Is this normal? How old were your kids when they started being worried about bullies? Share your thoughts with us by leaving us a comment below. 

Image via trix0r/flickr

Topics: bullying  how to parent  school