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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What would you do?

Friends, tonight I come to you requesting some advice.

Emily is a month away from being eleven. She is having a tough time with girls her age. I think you can all relate in one way or another. Either yourself or your daughter. I can sure remember this stage.

Today at school she was called * beep * beep * beep * by a couple of the girls. Last week one of the girls who she has been close friends with, excluded her from her birthday party. That in it's self is not that big of a deal (I have always told the kids you can't be invited to every party). But, the way she was excluded was mean. The girl came up to a group of girls and told Emily to go away, and then proceeded to hand out the invitations.

As well, just last week I had to call the principal about yet another girl who has been hitting Emily.

I tell her to ignore these girls, and to stick with the people who she knows are her friends. Easier said then done, isn't it? My heart breaks for her, so how must she feel? Actually, I can remember the feeling, and though she acts tough on the outside she has to be hurt.

Why must girls this age be so mean? Is it being on the cusp of puberty and something to do with the hormones? On the other hand, it doesn't always stop with girls, I have known adult women to act this way!

Another thing I am worried about is peer pressure. I can remember the yearning to fit in, and because of that turning against true friends just to fit in with the other group. It's a game they play.

I have reminded her of what she is learning in her bible study, and to try to apply those things.

What are your words of wisdom?


Lori said...

this is always such a tough age. as a parent you see your child as well your child, but at the same time you don't want to step in and "help" because she is at the point where she needs to stand up for herself. I would encourage her to find the positives in herself... what makes her special? Remind her that not everyone is going to like her and that is ok, but she needs to be nice to everyone even the people who are mean to her. I know this sounds odd but there was a Little Bill episode that dealt with teasing that was really good... "Big Bill" told little Bill that when he knew that what was being said was not true, and that the person was just saying stuff to get his attention just look at the person and say "So!" Or she could also say "whatever" and just walk away. Remind her that the "bigger" person can and does just walk away

Jill (Sneaky Momma) said...

I think the one thing you can do is try to build her up positively at home. I'm sure you're already doing this, but I think I would make a conscious effort to compliment her more often and tell her how much you love her. I dread the day when our girls get old enough to get their feelings hurt by other kids. :(
Have you considered getting her involved in a sport or something else where she could make friends that do not go to her school?

Tasha said...

wow this is a tough one...I'm sorry I have no advice, but I hope she follows her heart and sticks with the good girls.

blueviolet said...

It's definitely the worst age, those middle school years. Part of the fun for those nasty girls is very likely seeing her reaction and seeing that it hurts her. If there's any way she can react flippantly to their remarks and as if their goings-on are inconsequential, it reduces some of the fun they're having with it. I know that's easier said than done though.

I remember being excluded from things about that age and as hard as it was at the time, it did cause me to look elsewhere for friendships with people who had far more substance to them anyway and I ended up being so much happier.

In fact, I learned to be a much more empathetic person because of it.

I'm so sorry for your daughter's pain.

Small Town Mommy said...

That is so tough. My daughter is 9 and the social situation is getting tougher. I have been speaking with her teacher and the school psychologist. I don't know what mile school is like, but is there someone at the school you can turn to?

MarciaBrady said...

I don't really have any words of wisdom really.

My daughter, who is 13, has been going through the same thing since about 10. And, it seems it's different girls each year. I don't know why they do have to be so mean. I've always just told her to be herself and to ignore these girls, because giving in by name calling and being mean back just encourages the mean girls to keep it up because they know it bothers her. So, most of the time it works. It might take a little while, but after enough of her ignoring them, they start to leaver her alone.

I know it has to bother and hurt her, but she does keep on a brave face and learns to deal with this. I just keep letting her know that she always needs to keep being herself and never let them intimidate or bother her.

I think because she is so outspoken and does her own thing, other girls pick on her because she won't follow them. But, I'm glad she is like that. It will help her when she gets older.

Anyway...sorry, didn't mean to write a book.

Ter said...

It's funny, I recently met up with a couple girls that I 're-met' on Facebook, and we were talking about how horrible it was when we were younger, and discovering that we each went through periods of time where we were either bullied or just excluded. I was not even aware that the other girls were going through the same thing as me!!

So, your daughter needs to be aware that the other girls are probably dealing with low self esteem issues as well, and that she (your daughter) can not be offended by their behavior. (Easier said than done, I know) And while it may hurt, and it WILL hurt sometimes, I think as long as the other girls behaviors do not cross the line (to full on abuse, where lives could be at stake), she should do her best to ignore them and find friends who treat her well. Maybe the other girls will come around, but if not, it's their losss, they're missing out on a great friend in your daughter.

Sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps a little bit. :)

MOMMY-MOMO said...

i dont have a girl or a older kid dealing with this for that matter. It makes my heart ache though. Kids can be sooo mean! I really hope i raise my boy right and to never treat others like this. The only advice i could give that I've heard alot lately is.... for girls especially a strong father presence is HUGE! If she knows she is loved at home from her daddy she wont seek boys attention else where. Thats all i got :)

Kristina P. said...

Thre's a book called Queen Bees and Wannabees that I would highly recommend. It's all about how to help daughters with mean girls in school.

Laurie in Ca. said...

Oh Pam,

Some things just never change and this problem is one of them. You know my past, and when that would happen to me, I fought back and ended up in the principals office often. Not good and I would not advise Emily to follow my lead. I do know that she is such a cutie and the desire to be accepted is so huge at this age. I have found so many women my age that never outgrew the need to be catty and downright two faced mean. I agree that Daddy can be a huge help in helping her find her inner beauty and character, along with you helping her see it too. There is no easy fix, but pointing her in the right direction to do the right thing will last her a lifetime and make her one of the most desirable friends to those who deserve it. I will pray for her to be able to shield as much of the meanness as possible and be able to forgive the rest. Forgiveness is for her to be able to go forward, not letting the others off the hook. I am praying for your heart too as being a mom in these situations causes our hearts to ache too. I love you Pam.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

Nancy said...

all you can do is keep telling her those girls are wrong, she is perfect and they are losing out by not wanting to be her friend. When this happened to my oldest daughter I told her something that really stuck with her for some reason (I hoped it would, but you never know...)
I told her these girls would not know how to be mean if someone close to them had not been mean to them. This could be a mom or a sister or brother or their father. She asked me why would a mom or dad want to be mean and I told her, "not on purpose, but many girls dont have a mom or a dad, or their parents are so busy they ignore them. This makes them feel bad inside and they take it out on other people so that they wont cry all the time." I guess that helped her. I am hoping I dont have to tell this to my youngest.
Emily is beautiful!

Yaya said...

:( This is so sad.

Why are kids so mean??

Maybe teach her some empathy in the situation. Like to distance herself not bc it's her fault but bc the girls are obviously going through issues of their own that they are trying to deal with and are in turn acting out on others.

So sad. :(

Jennifer said...

She is beautiful, make sure she knows that. Her beauty radiates from outside in. Let her know that none of these things are her fault, since they are not. It must be painful as her parent, the need to protect. Girls can be very mean to each other and yes, I know grown women who are sadly the same way. I am sorry she is going through this. She will become stronger and more empathic and will find some true friends. It just takes time.

Upstatemomof3 said...

Yuck!! This problem just goes on forever doesn't it? She is obviously a wonderful little girl with plenty to offer anyone who is smart enough to be her friend. Words of wisdom - I just don't know. However, a few things that helped me and I hope will help her. One try making friends at church. You still have to deal with school but having a few good church friends can help you get through it. Two try making friends with some of the boys at school. Not in a romantic way (she is too young for that) but guys are not as fickle as girls. Sports, music and other club like things are another great way to make friends that won't act like that.
The biggest thing is to remember that she is a good person. That God loves her, her family loves her and she is above the nonsense going on. I hope that helps. I am not looking forward to those days.

Nancy said...

I had to come back and tell you something more about this. There is something she can do herself. Type out in big block letters and tack it over her bed so she can look at it before bed and as soon as she wakes up, the words, "I HAVE A LOT OF GREAT FRIENDS AND IM HAPPY!" You can also add anything positive to that effect. I'm telling you this helps. I have tried this with my younger daughter when she was discouraged over not being a fast runner and a girl being mean to her. We wrote "I am the fastest runner. Its like I have a motor in my shoes. I always win when I race Rachel! And she is happy for me!" Within, oh 3 weeks, I was hearing these words come out of her actual mouth. My oldest daughter has done this with tests at school. "I am doing well in algebra" etc. A little bit of self affirmations cannot hurt here. If you see it written about yourself, you are more likely to start believing it and exhibiting behaviors that cause these things to happen. Its just positive thinking in action. My oldest daughter is very smart but got picked on in Science one year. It was really scary because it was a bullying situation. After I had met with the teacher and done all I could as a parent I helped her come up with something positive she could tell herself everyday before going in to that class. I asked if she could believe the mean kids would like her? And she said NO, and so we changed it to "the mean kids leave me alone" I made her say this before getting out of the car every day and at first she rolled her eyes but eventually she started saying it with a little conviction. Can you believe in less than a month she had the mean kids on her side? She announced one day that since she was the only kid who the hermit crabs did not pinch, that a mean girl said "you have a way with animals probably" and everyone agreed and she was suddenly accepted. These things are sudden I think. Keeping positive is so important.

Janet said...

Oh Pam! How awful that children still have to endure this kind of behaviour. I wish I had an easy answer, but reading all your comments I am sure you can take a lot out of each one. My advice would be encourage, love and support Emily all the time! I also like the idea of her making friends outside of school, like youth group at church or a sporting activity. Sending special hugs from SA today - plse let us know how things are going!

Jenn(ifer) said...

My heart just breaks with you. I remember my 4th grade year of school beaing absolutely horrible. I was excluded, picked on, and friendless. Just show her a lot of love & support at home. The worst thing my mom told me was "They are just jealous." I knew that wasn't true and she was just trying to make me feel better. Those girls were beautiful & had the finest things. I was a bit awkward and they made sure to remind me of that. Just be honest with her & tell her that some girls are not raised any better and she has a good heart and that is what counts in the end. I always tell my boys "Would you want someone to treat you this way...remember that before you say something mean or hurtful." Maybe that will help her with wanting to give into peer pressure. It is SO very hard...but I think you're a great Mom & she'll get through this.

Meredith said...

Wow. I don't have any advice or words of wisdom, but I sure will be praying for your daughter and the girls at her school!

Dawn said...

My daughter China has had problems all through school, it is heart breaking to watch your daughter suffer.
I phoned the school and asked them to monitor the situation discreetly which they did but it didn't help. Then I decided to go around to the home of the perpertrators with my daughter to speak to the parents and the girl in question - this made the parents aware of their daughters behaviour. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to let each other know if there were any problems.
Then I also had to stop her going on MSN for a time because slights can be read when none were intended and the chitter chatter gets out of hand like chinese whispers...
My daughter is happier now but I found that it was worse in Year 9 (12/13 age group) and year 7 - just when they were to start Secondary school - some girls think they have to be mean and don't change I just wish they would realise the hurt they cause
Hope this helps

Dawn in England

Debbie said...

Well, I think you are certainly right to go to the school about the physical violence as well as the name calling. That just can't be tolerated. Does she have a good circle of friends? They can give such great insulation and protection against this kind of thing. I put my daughter in a girl scout troop of nice, smart girls at that age to help her with this.

babbler said...

Mrs. Slug says, "Slide away and take cover under some leaves." There is no way to change people. Sometimes indifference is the best weapon you have got against those who think they can upset you. In the meantime, Mrs. Slug will commission Mr. Slug to invent a machine that will help in this matter. Solutions can be found when we wag our tails together! Happy Sliding, Love and kisses from Mr. and Mrs. Slug at Slugs Rest in Oregon

Momma Mango said...

I don't have any good suggestions. I'm sure you've told her that her value doesn't come from her friends, or how many she has, or what they think of her, but it never hurts to keep on reinforcing that, and to keep on telling her WHO her value DOES come from. I'll pray for her (and you as a mom, I know it hurts to see our kids struggle with hurts!) My own girls will (God willing) be her age someday, and I fear it will arrive more quickly than I am ready for!

Yaya said...

How is everything going with this? Any updates?

jamaise said...

Ok I had to think on this a bit before responding. What a hard thing for her to have to deal with.

I think that you teach her to live separate of meanness. To do her own thing. As hard as that will be for her. I know at this age she wants to be a part of the girls.

I would explain to her that if she stays true to herself & does what she knows is right, that one day she will shine for the type of person she is. It might take awhile, but eventually people will recognize her for staying true & being a good person.

I went through a couple bad years in middle school as well. After a couple years, one of the girls that had bee mean to me came offering her friendship, but said I'd have to stop being friends with my friend Crissy. I told her she was a creep. Eventually it wasn't cool to be mean & her popularity fell off and I became quite popular.

Give her a mantra she can say in her mind when she is faced with problems - something like "self reliance conquers any difficulty" or simply "stay true" something to help her remember that she is making a choice to be the better person.

I hope all goes well for her. I hate that she has to go through it, but she's not alone :))

Sending her hugs :)) Tell her I said she's a cuteie :)