So my kindergartner came home with some scratches that I'm 99% sure could not have been self inflicted.

They are at the wrong angle and too deep - I tried to do it to myself and I couldn't and I'd hurt too much to continue. They are also staggered in a half moon at the start and the end of the the scratches. The half moon is the right size for one of her classmates so I'm not worried about an adult being the cause.

When queried about this last night she initially identified someone who has been a social bullying problem in the recent past. Part way though our discussion, she changed her story and said it was self inflicted. And then she flipped back again.

Today we talked to the caregivers. The accused denies it. None of the adults in her care noticed it happen, but there was an argument with the accused yesterday.

Now this evening she's recanted again, but has also indicated she is afraid of getting someone in trouble.

If the accused didn't it do it, someone else must have. Any suggestions on how to get the info out of her? Or is the well poisoned?

  • 3
    Before any good answers you need to make the care givers aware of the problem. You are not there to see, they are there and they are being paid for that it should be the best for your child. The answer that they didn't see or hear is not legitimate. Bullying and everything that falls under that category could have disastrous consequence for a child later in life.
    – Nachmen
    Jan 29, 2016 at 9:16
  • 1
    "Getting" the perpetrator is not as important as making sure she knows it's not her fault (unless she hit first).
    – Jeff Y
    Jan 29, 2016 at 12:52
  • Care givers are aware of the social bullying side (they've noted their own observations on the matter that are consistent with out own)... we're monitoring from our end and if necessary will raise it to the next level. "Privacy laws" prevent them from telling us how the perpetrator is being dealt with (which we understand the need for).
    – BIBD
    Feb 1, 2016 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


Try focusing a conversation or two around making her relaxed about the subject. She might be worried about the social consequences of "telling", backlash, maybe she actually likes the child who did it and they made up, who knows.

You'll have to not just tell her it will be ok, but make her feel safe to tell you what she's worried about. This has to be done in a way she doesn't feel like she's giving up her ability to keep the situation under control. Once she tells you, she probably feels like she won't have a say anymore over what happens. So try and match her sense of proportion about it, and once you've established that tone, you can probably get her to tell you. Just gently work towards what to do about it and try and make her feel good about it, or you might lose her trust for next time.


Try roleplaying with a toy or a doll. Play nursery, have a doll be her, one for the caregiver, a few "friends"... and then suddenly one friend is angry! Oh no, what happens?

Kids often don't (want to) tell things, but when playing, use a mix of both fantasy and their own experiences to create situations. Ask follow up questions: why did the doll do that? But that never happens to her, right? Oh it does? You can have the caregiver console the hurt doll, and (gently) tell the bully-doll not to do that anymore - or have the doll stand up for herself and tell the caregiver or her mommy.


I heard a tip the other day that is similar to the role-playing idea. Make it a game, asking silly questions about the people in their class. Have one of the questions be something like "If aliens came down and took one person away from your class, who would you have them take?"
Phrasing things in silly ways like that could help kids open up, because it's not "real" - and help you notice patterns.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .