Joanna had always been the outsider in her class.
There were only three other girls and they had been a tightknit threesome since kindergarten. The boys tended to be controlled
by the bullies. Then a new boy joined the class. After a day or two he and Joanna became friendly. We were
delighted she had a friend, and for a while so was she.
After a week or two, though, we could see that something
was bothering her. Eventually she told us that pressure was being put upon her by the other boys to stop mixing with the new
boy. They didn't want to accept him and were trying to drive him out. I say this because one of the boys actually told Joanna
that they hated him and she had to hate him too or they would never speak to her again.
Joanna was a compassionate, caring child, and was very
distressed by this. Apart from wanting a friend, she didn't want to be cruel to this new boy because she knew how it felt. Eventually
she gave in and stopped mixing with him. A few weeks later he left the school.
We began to see a change in our daughter. She became unhappy
and withdrawn. At the time I felt she was feeling guilty and responsible for the boy's leaving because she had treated him
A few days before Chrismas Joanna's class teacher rang
us and said she was being very difficult. He asked us to fetch her home and keep her home for the rest of term.He said
that maybe not being allowed to take part in the Christmas festival would teach her a lesson.
We did fetch her home. When I told her the teacher
did not want her back that term she had what I can only describe as a tantrum. She had not had tantrums since she was two.
She fell to the floor and began to kick and spit. It went on for an hour and a half. She contiued to have these tantrums throughout
the Christmas holidays. I took her to our GP and he arranged for her to see a child psychiatrist.