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Old 01-02-2006, 11:01 AM   #1
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Unhappy Sound Familiar?

DEAR ABBY: My daughter is a tall, thin, blond-haired, blue-eyed bully. She calls other girls at school fat and ugly to the point of bringing them to tears. The mothers complain to the teacher, who calls me and her father. Today her teacher told me that a schoolmate asked my daughter for a piece of candy, and she replied, "You don't need it. You're fat enough already." The kicker, Abby -- my daughter is only 5!

I don't know where she learns these things. We have always taught our children never to call names or pick on others because they are different. She has certainly never heard things like that at home. Her older brother is a sweet, well-mannered child who has never given us a moment's trouble.

Before this, I always thought that bullies were from homes where they were neglected or abused in some way, so they took it out on other kids.

But my daughter comes from a happy, loving family, and I can't for the life of me figure out how she can be so mean-spirited at such a young age. I didn't think kids that age were even aware of their appearance, but my daughter will tell you in a heartbeat that she's "beautiful" or "skinny." Her father and I talk and punish, but it does no good.

Is she just spoiled, or is this something serious we should be worried about? -- DISTURBED MOM IN DELAWARE

DEAR MOM: If your daughter were my child, I'd be concerned for a couple of reasons. She seems never to have learned that while "pretty" is an asset, it's more important to be a nice person. Regardless of how attractive people may tell her she is -- or she thinks she is -- she has developed an extremely unattractive personality trait. And her fixation on "skinny" could lead to an eating disorder when she's older.

I am also concerned because your daughter seems unwilling or unable to learn when you correct her. A child psychologist might help you understand what's going on. If I were you, I would have her see one NOW. You need to understand why your child has no empathy for others, and why she doesn't learn from being reasoned with or punished.
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Old 01-02-2006, 11:07 AM   #2
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It's sad that a child can be that nasty at such a young age, especially when her parents have talked to her about it and it continues.
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Old 01-02-2006, 11:16 AM   #3
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yeah oh my goodness I was totally shocked that the parents were miffed.....I always assumed it was a taught behavior....
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Old 01-02-2006, 11:17 AM   #4
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Wow! 5! Actually she has probably been told that she is so pretty so often that she thinks that is what matters. Especially if the parents are clothes, etc consious. Good that it is 5 and not a teenager. It's easier to reprogram her (yes I said that). Trips to the phycologist (if she followed abby's advice) should help with reteaching her. Sounds like her parents don't want her to think that way. That's a positive too.
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Old 01-02-2006, 11:23 AM   #5
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I beleive it is taught behavour and while it might not be the parents in this case, maybe you should look to who she is friends with or what she is watching. As sad as it is it could be the fact that there are things she feels she can't do with you (not an accusation, really) and that is a part of her anger towards weight. I don't know you personally but from my own experience with my daughter when she was five and I was working all the time, she got attidude whenever anyone mentiond work and would throw temper tantrums when I would leave for "work" but if I left for any other reason then she was fine. Now she is twelve and a very well mannered young lady and understands that all those times were because I needed to provide for her and she is more acceptable of me working now. There is hope.
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Old 01-02-2006, 11:29 AM   #6
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Wow! 5 years old, that's amazing!

I wonder what tidbits of information her mother may have left out. Has she been dieting to drop baby weight? Is she herself fixated on pop-culture and models? What mothers do has an impact at a very young age. There are 5, 6, 7 year olds with anorexia because of their mother's obsessive behaviors in regards to food. This isn't something that girl just picked up, it was taught.
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Old 01-02-2006, 12:28 PM   #7
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Lack of empathy could be something that neither the parents have taught nor the child has learned. I wouldn't assume that her "bad" behavior is "bad" parenting. My nephew has Asperger's and I'll tell you this mean spirited behavior and lack of empathy for other's is part and parcel for that disease. 5 year's old, yeah that's when my nephew was diagnosed . . .
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Old 01-02-2006, 12:38 PM   #8
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I was just thinking of that, Alethea. A very good friend of mine has a son with Asperger's and it is heartbreaking to watch him struggle to understand how to get along in our society.
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Old 01-02-2006, 06:39 PM   #9
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Thats A Evil Looking Hamburger Ha Ha!
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Old 01-02-2006, 08:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alethea
Lack of empathy could be something that neither the parents have taught nor the child has learned. I wouldn't assume that her "bad" behavior is "bad" parenting. My nephew has Asperger's and I'll tell you this mean spirited behavior and lack of empathy for other's is part and parcel for that disease. 5 year's old, yeah that's when my nephew was diagnosed . . .
Bad behavior != bad parenting, but alot of things ARE conditioned into children. Much like racism, a child won't act intolerant towards someone's weight problem unless they are conditioned to fixate on weight. It's not a matter of simple politeness, it goes well beyond that. Children of chronic dieters (even overweight ones) are more likely to be prejudice towards overweight people than children who have never been presented with a weight issue.
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