Have any of you witnessed anything like this - especially if you have tween/teenage girls? Apparently "bullying" (for lack of a better word) is more prevalent than we realize, largely because girls tend not to talk about it.

Anyone care to share experiences, insight, advice?

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Oh girls are downright mean! My youngest was bullied from 3rd grade on.... she's now in 8th grade and having social & emotional problems because of it. It took awhile but I finally got the school to realize it was effecting her grades - she's now in a special class in the mornings to help her with whatever she needs help with. She has an IEP written up because of this. And she scored above average on all the testing they did... kids were just that cruel that they changed who she was.
All I can say as a parent is... don't stop fighting. It's not right. There are still teachers out there who think it's ok, it's no big deal, "they do that to everyone" (I heard that one personally).
My daughters have not experienced this themselves, as far as I know. But they have told me of occassions where they see it happening at school. Kids need to be more outspoken with each other and jump in and say "hey, you're not cool for picking on so-and-so and get a life" or something to that affect. Unfortunately, at this age everyone is just trying to fit in and speaking out about something you feel is unfair takes a lot of courage for some kids since they don't want to viewed as the tattle tale. If you think it is a problem for your child or even if your child tells you about it happening to someone else you should contact the school and bring it to their attention. Our school system has a very strict policy on weapons and things that could cause physical harm but I think they could improve on how they handle the stuff that causes emotional stress as well.
The schools in my area have pretty good anti bullying programs in place but all three of my daughters have been bullied at some point. Not physical but emotional bullying. My oldest had the most severe reaction to it but my youngest was the most seriously picked on in middle school. She is a very strong person but it took a toll on her. Her school did have some mediation about it but no one was punished for it. Some of the kids improved, others just go underground with it and talk behind the targets back or act nice in a mocking way, so it isn't as obvious. The kids don't always want to report it because often it makes it worse. Encourage your child to speak up for themselves and let them vent to you as much as they need to, if they can't stop it just having someone who is listening and on their side helps relieve the pressure. You can try to role play how to deal with different scenario's so they aren't always caught by surprise and vulnerable. Kittilicious is also right. Don't stop fighting for your child. Keep the lines of communication open so that you recognize behavior change and even small signs in your child that might signal depression.
My daughters' school invited author Rachel Simmons to come and speak on girls being mean to girls. In her book "Odd Girl Out" (excellent read) she refers to bullying amongst girls as hidden aggression. It's vicious, hurtful, and because it's hidden, teachers don't see it unless they know your kid and who she hangs with really well.

As I read the book I was more observant of how the girls in my daughter's circle were treating each other. I also visit my kids' Twitter streams - what can appear as innocent conversation can disguise such underlying aggression. For example, girls will plan their weekends openly on social networks, while purposely excluding the girls they decide they don't want to hang with anymore. There are inside jokes; photos posted. It's not so much physical harm; the weapon is the withholding of friendship and exclusion. Ouch, right?

I spoke to my daughter about what I'd read and she surprised me with her amazingly mature opinion (by the time a girl turns 17, 18 she is a young adult; I keep forgetting that!). Bringing in a teacher is social suicide; sometimes you just gotta back off as a parent and let these kids work it out amongst themselves. My daughter also pointed out that, in the most tame scenarios, friendships simply taper off as interests change. She did agree though that some girls can indeed be outright catty, a behavior that my 17-going-on-30 daughter simply dismissed as "so middle school."

MOTPG, does your daughter still talk about what happened in middle school? Hugs to you - it's not easy to see your girls being mistreated. Scraped knees we can all deal with. But when a girl's friends turn on them...it's heartbreaking.
My oldest daughter was the victim of her social group turning on her and it had a far reaching and serious effect on her and the choices she made that nearly destroyed her life. I am going to be writing about some of this in my blog, though I keep putting it off because it is depressing and she is doing great now. My youngest is in her 1st year of high school, so still attending with people who made her life miserable, but they had never been her friends and that's what hurt her. Why are these people who don't know me saying mean things to me? She does talk about it. When it was happening she wanted to vent and for me to just agree with her that they were the most horrible people on the planet but not talk to the school. She had a terrific young writing teacher who recognized it happening and stepped in to help. She created her own strong friendship group that can support each other when dealing with the "Meanies". My middle kid is kind of a mixture of both reactions, but all of them have been very open with us about what was going on. It does break your heart.
I don't agree with bringing in a teacher as social suicide - it is if it's done the right way, but a good teacher will know that. I have talked to teachers/school counselors in the past and they are very good about helping indirectly. I guess you could call it reverse psychology in a way... they let the kids bring up the problems even though the teachers already know.
Yes, kids need to work things out for themselves, but at the same time, how many kids want outside help? Sure, they say they don't, but give them that chance and 9 out of 10 times they will take it.
You're right. When my daughters teacher stepped in he did it by letting them know it was his observation and did not bring up any specific names or incidents. So she did not have the stigma of having "told on them". He had them sit and talk about bullying in general. He asked who had experienced it and if they would describe how it made them feel. The teacher was someone they admired and some of them felt ashamed and actually changed the behavior.
I had walked away but something was eating at me and I finally realized what it was. I think I can illustrate why our girls may hesitate to ask for help. When my oldest was in 8th grade she belonged to a popular crowd.Good students, involved in school, that type. It was hard for her because we were more strict than most of her friends parents but she was hanging on. Then we found a vile, demeaning, and outright pornographic note she was given by a boy. We were shocked & upset but she begged and outright cried when we said we were calling the school. We thought we had taught her a good self image. That her talents and attitude were what defined her. We turned in the note, the boy was suspended. This was a popular boy. That was when the others turned on her like jackals and proceeded to rip her life apart. It is really sad when our daughters don't see their own self worth. I mean that for mine as well as the girls who stood up for this little creep, because they thought getting his attention, even demeaning attention was so important.
As moms our first instinct is to bring in an adult "ally" in the form of a teacher or guidance counselor. Understandably, these kids are terrified that the act of "ratting" will backfire and the bullying will only get worse. My daughter requested to handle it on her own terms. But when she came home one day asking to change schools, I spoke to the one teacher my child trusted the most. The teacher's first reaction was one of surprise (she hadn't observed anything untoward was going on); so my daughter still relied on her own coping instincts to get her through the remainder of the year. She and I had many long and emotional conversations about it. I was only too relieved she was coming to me for help.

However in the following semester, this teacher did start to notice cracks in the seemingly "perfect/BFF" veneer these girls shared since middle school. She spoke to them individually and with great tact. The outcome: an uneasy alliance that is visible only while this teacher is in the room. The kids are at the very minimum, civil to each other. It's still really hard for me to see my kid go through it.
I would be interested in reading your blog post on your experiences. My daughter has also given me the okay to go ahead and write about it, and other milestones in her senior year (like her first breakup). Again, her maturity astounds me; she has grown so much in the last year.

This process of writing it out is - I suspect - more cathartic for me than it is for my child :) Some days, it takes all of my strength to refrain from talking to the parents of the girls in question...Have you ever felt that way?
A Hug for you! It is hard to see our children in pain, and hard to step back when our instinct is to protect them. Trying to deal with things themselves is part of their growing process but it is a good thing when they will be open with you about problems so you can see when it is time to step in. It sounds like you are finding a good balance with her and like you are raising a strong young woman who will grow from her experiences.

Girls ar much meaner and more sly than guys when it comes to bullying.

There is agreat boook called Odd Girl Out that I highly recommend if anyone's dealing with this.

Thank heavens our daughter who was the focus of bullying not once buy twice had a school change that wound up separating her from the girls.  She then chose to attend a performing arts high school that once again saved her from this particular group of girls. 

Talking with teachers and others these are usually the popular girls, their parents are very active in school so their daughter's actions are viewed through different eyes. 

The most important thing is recognizing it for what it is.  Bringing it to the school's attention, even if they don't believe you your meeting will be documented in the records for future reference.  Support outside of the arena is also very very important.

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