“I hate you, Jordyn.”
Those were the words spoken to my daughter on her second day of preschool. Supposedly, some little boy who sits next to her during one of the activities, repeatedly said this to her. When her dad told me that when he picked her up, she was crying, I thought of the typical separation anxiety that so many kids experience. Never in a million years, would I have thought those words would be coming out of my daughter’s mouth.
“Mommy, he said he hates me,” she said through tears.
The initial hurt and anger I felt is indescribable. Not only did I want to hold and comfort my child, but I wanted answers. I wanted to know what would possess a four or five year old to say such a thing. I wanted to know what about my baby had conjured up such nastiness from someone so small. Was it because she was new and receiving more attention from the teachers in their attempt to get her acclimated to the classroom? Was it because he’s just an evil little snot? Or was it something more serious…like because she’s Black (this is a predominantly White school)? I mean, could this little boy even understand the heaviness of ‘hatred’? I didn’t know and still don’t, but I did know that I had to get my daughter through her first heartache.
Not really knowing what to do, I held her. I held her and told her that she had to be strong. That everyone was not going to like her and that was okay. As long as she loved herself and knew that her dad and I loved her very much, she didn’t need to worry about anything else. I know that it was hard for her to understand at 4 because it’s still hard for me at times and I’m 25. But it’s reality. And as bad as I would have liked to prolong this reality for as long as possible, it came much sooner than expected and it had to be handled. While I cannot change that little boy’s behavior or his feelings, for that matter, I can prepare my daughter for these types of people, both young and old.
How was your child’s first experience with mean kids? How did you handle it?