My 14-year-old daughter was bullied, and more than once this past year.
In each case I stayed calm. I was my daughter's soft place to fall and a safe place to share.
I let the appropriate adults involved in those situations know that there was a bullying issue and I needed their help in keeping an eye on things.
I am happy to report that in both cases those adults - other parents, a dance coach and teachers at school- did the right thing and helped my daughter. All acknowledged that she was a victim and had done nothing to bring on the bullies.
In each case I did talk to the mom. I made the conversation about "our" daughters and never pointed out that it was in fact "their" daughter who was the instigator.
And in both cases, I eventually encountered push back and aggression from the moms.
Sad to say, the apples did not fall far from those trees.
Now my daughter is emotionally free of both of these girls and their passive-aggressive, bully-like behaviors that included the tell-tale dirty looks, leaving her out of activities and conversations, sleep overs, outings, which were then posted all over social media for her to see. The biggest heartache for my daughter, telling other girls to not be her friend.
I know these scenarios could have become much worse, physical even, and I thank God they did not and I thank God that things seem to be running smoother, for now at least.
In each case my daughter honestly did nothing to bring the passive-aggressive behaviors on, it just happened for whatever reason.
And, I don't say this as her mom and take the stance of "my child is perfect." Believe me, I did my homework! There were other girls and their moms who would tell you the same thing. These bullies just came after her without provocation or reason, at least not for reasons anyone could verbalize. In both instances, I learned from other girls and their moms that these particular girls have a history of such bullying antics.
October is bully awareness and prevention month.
Please know the signs of your child being bullied and browse around the internet sometime this month. I found several links that share tips on recognizing and preventing bullies from coming after your kid - and/or tell you how to recognize if your own kid is a bully.
Please reach out to other adults in your child's life when you suspect bully behavior in your child or your child becoming a victim of bullying.
Bullying is not always physical, obvious and dramatic, it can be subtle with words, whispers and dirty looks.
Bullying can be done through social media to taunt your child.
Be aware of your child's emotions. Is he or she taking themselves off of social media or out of particular social outings? Are they sleeping more, or are they having trouble sleeping? Are they eating less? Are their grades slipping? Are they unusually moody?
Do not wait until bullying becomes more aggressive. Do not be afraid to be your child's advocate at the first sign of bullying.
Do not hesitate to call other adults in your child's life like teachers, school counselors, coaches. Don't be afraid to have a conversation with the parent of the bully.
Remember, if you do not speak up for your child, no one else on this planet will!
Bullying is at its worst when the aggressor thinks no one is paying attention.
Please, dial in parents. Our children need to hear loud and clear that we have their backs and that we will not tolerate cruel, unkind behavior!
Until next time, love each other ....
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