Saturday, April 21, 2012

Playground Politics

When I was in PRIMARY SCHOOL, I was blessed to make some wonderful friends.  Some of them I still count as my closest confidantes.  That doesn't mean those seven years went by without little issues.  I don't ever recall being bullied.  I'm pretty sure that if I WAS bullied - I would remember?  There was the odd name calling or similar, but nothing really worth writing home about.  I do remember when I was in grade 3 and I had called another little girl a BITCH.  And I also remember going beetroot red when the teacher made a point, in front of everyone, of informing me what the correct meaning of a bitch was.  I think about this meaning every time I hear that word!  Cudos to the teacher....

I can also remember times when playground politics would arise.  There were a number of "GAMES" in which such politics could come in to play.....Here are but a few of them:

  * The Sacrificial Friend - Where one friend would cover another friend's butt, or their own, at the expense of the third friend, by lying about what had happened in the playground.  I am guilty as charged, and can remember one such incident 30 years later, because I still feel guilty about it.  If you're reading this T and S - sorry!!!

  *  The Merry-Go-Round -  Where one friend tells another who they can and can't play with.  You could be best friends with someone one day - and the next - you had no idea where you stood!  Luckily, we had a pretty awesome year level, so regardless of where you got off on that merry-go-round, you always found a friend, even just for that day.

  *  Friendship Monopoly -  When one friend will tell another that someone isn't worthy of an invitation to a party, a play date and well, just about anything really!  Another one I can remember well!  It all boils down to popularity I'm afraid.  I was the kind of girl who floated between the "popular girls", the "everyday girls" and the "unpopular girls".  This followed me right through until High School.  All the girls I went to Primary School with went their separate ways and made their own little groups.  They found their "place".  I did too, but always managed to mix between them all anyway.  But I ALWAYS had that one friend I could count on.

  *  Chinese Whispers - Self explanatory.  We ALL know how that one works.

You may be curious as to WHY I would be writing about this at age 37?  Well, simply because my daughter is getting through primary school NOW, and it seems the exact same games are still popular now!  And not only amongst the children.  If someone had of told me a few years ago that I would be faced with grown women playing these games, I would have laughed hysterically.  But two years ago, I was confronted with being what is, in this post-facebook era, now commonly known as "de-friended".  And it gutted me.  Threw me for an absolute six.  And devastated me beyond words.  I sorta kinda wrote about it way back THEN.  And I have wanted to write about it many times since.  Because it got to the stage where it CONSUMED me.  I had no idea how to cope with it all.  Being ignored, made to feel invisible and alienated was not something I was familiar with, and I ended up seeking help to deal with it.

I am pleased to say I am "over it".  But it does not mean that I do not notice the ever-changing dynamics of the school yard.  And put two and two together to realise they are not adding up to four!  It saddens me.

So this is my experience.  What I want to know is - Is this common in other school yards?

1 comment:

  1. It never ceases to amaze me that there are adult bullies. I never suffered overt bullying as a child, but I made a choice one year at school not to play with the girls. I think I was being excluded a lot and they were horrid, so I just walked away and had a lot of fun playing with the boys for that year.

    I suffered from bullying at work once and I will never let that happen again. I will always walk away as soon as I see it happening. I wish I was brave enough to confront bullies. Maybe if we all did that there would be less bullying. Usually they are full of hot air and back down when confronted.

    My eldest son experienced a little bullying earlier this year which was heartbreaking to see, but we developed some strategies and it hasn't happened again.

    Good on you for posting this!


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