Journey came home from school last week and told me that a boy called her a “bitch” on the school bus. While this wasn’t the first time she had heard the word (that was on the playground!), it was definitely the first time she had been called one.

She explained that she was having a conversation with a “friend” on the bus. She was telling him something and he replied by saying, “What did you say bitch?” Like wow! It just rolled off his tongue like that! Obviously, he had heard that phrase before.

My momma bear instincts kicked in immediately and I jumped right into detective mode…

Me: “What were y’all talking about when he said it?”
(As if any topic that 8-year-olds generally discuss would warrant that response!)

J: “I don’t remember. Just talking.”

Me: “What was your reaction when he said it?”

J: “I didn’t say anything. I just kept talking like I didn’t hear him.”

Me: “Well how did you feel about it?”

J: “ I felt fine. It didn’t bother me.”
(Felt fine? Didn’t bother her? Her reaction took me by surprise. I was conflicted. I was happy that she had the good sense to ignore it, but disappointed that it didn’t upset her enough to make her snap back at him with some kind of snarky response. (Note to self: Give Journey a list of kid-friendly comebacks for insults.) After I took a breath, I remembered that I was talking to an 8-year-old who probably doesn’t even know what the word means.)

Me: “I don’t think you felt fine. If it really didn’t bother you, you wouldn’t have mentioned it. You knew it was wrong, that’s why you told me.”

J: “I mean I know it’s a bad word, but I don’t really know what it means.”
(I was right. Now how do I explain what it means?)

I took another breath and explained that the word “bitch” is an insult and just about the most disrespectful thing to say to a girl or a woman. I told her that it was not ok for the boy—or anyone else—to call her that. Then she got upset when I told her that I would have to tell her teacher about the incident. She insisted that it wasn’t a big deal and that she didn’t want to get him trouble. I told her that he probably didn’t know what the word meant either (although I’m not so sure I believe that) and the only way that he would know it was wrong was if he was told. I also explained that you teach people how to treat you and that you have to stand up for yourself when you are being disrespected or mistreated. And at her age, that simply means telling the person that what he said/did was not nice and not to say/do it to you again. It also means telling a teacher, which doesn’t make you a tattletale—the biggest fear of all kids around her age.

The school handled the situation appropriately and the little boy apologized. But I can’t help but give him the side-eye every time I see him at school and at the bus stop…

Have any other advice? What else would you have done in this situation?

HLI Blog Signature

11 Comments on When Another Kid Calls Your Daughter A Bitch

  1. I am hosting a discussion on my blog in the month of March on the topic of bullying. Would you be interested in writing for it? If you are email me at hastywords@gmail.com I have a 10 year old and am amazed at all the things I have had to experience already. Please think about it 🙂

  2. It sounds like you handled it appropriately. I think it’s important that he knows it’s inappropriate and that your daughter knows that it’s not okay for anyone to call her that.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

  3. My daughter had a similar situation at the neighborhood playground. She’s 2! As much as we want to protect our children it’s not always possible. Thank you for sharing this post. I am so sorry that your daughter had to experience this. You handled the situation very well.


  4. I have to agree, I think you handled it appropriately. Whether that little boy knew what it meant or not, he needed to understand that it is not ok to say that. And it was probably important for your daughter to understand what that was such a bad thing to say and to learn how to stick up for herself now. Thanks for sharing your story, stopping by from SITS.

  5. I am in agreement, I believe that you handled the situation appropriately. I have been in the situation of having to go in and fight for my daughter, I had a frosh and had a year of bullying and harassment. It was awful. You did the right thing here. Involved and educated your daughter and then allowed the school to educate the other child involved. Bravo.

  6. I noticed how your daughter didn’t want to get him in trouble. There are probably a couple reasons for that. I hope that you and your daughter can continue to keep an open dialogue whenever she feels like something happens at school. It’s when kids start hiding the things that happen at school, on the playground, on the internet and with friends that things can start going south! You did a good job! Good luck!

  7. Recently my 5 yo daughters friend who is our neighbor told this to my daughter : “my mom said I’m a good girl and you are a dog”. I should have seen this coming as many times this girl told my little one words like ugly, baby, disgusting. I told the girl to stop saying mean things to my daughter and from now on she cannot talk or play with my daughter. I even told the mom all this in harsh tone. The mom started defending & blaming my daughter but I walked away. Hope I did the right thing. I feel guilty for being rude.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.