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A Mom Worries About Bullying At School
A mother wonders how to handle the bullying of her 10-year-old daughter
The school year usually begins with excitement: new pencils, new books, new friends, and reconnecting with old ones. But when your child is being bullied, it can cause serious concerns for parents. Addressing the problem may entail working with school personnel.
Dear Friendship Rules,
My 10-year-old daughter has been having a lot of trouble with friendships recently.
Some of the problems are caused by “boy drama,” and the "He said, She said" game. Kids have been spreading rumors about her, and I just don't know what to do.
I’ve tried many times to give my daughter suggestions about how to deal with the rumors. I’ve also spoken to other moms about their children's behavior, but that has only made matters worse.
I’m feeling so frustrated that I’m considering getting permission from her principal to change schools within the district, although I really don't want to do this. These kids have all grown up together, and I recognize that they are going to grow apart, but it’s hard to understand the cruelty.
Dear Concerned Mom,
Changing schools can be very uprooting academically and socially, so that should be a last resort. Hopefully, the school will be able to help you and your daughter resolve this situation.
Childhood friendships can be fickle and kids can be hard on one another. That said, if these rumors are persistent, your daughter is being bullied. This must be painful for you and her and is clearly unacceptable. It isn’t something that can be ignored or pushed under the rug.
We’re glad that your daughter has confided in you and told you about this. If your prior attempts to support your daughter haven't been successful, the problem may now require intervention from her school. Contact your daughter's teacher or the school principal so they know about the bullying, and can develop a strategy for addressing it.
Is your daughter feeling the effects of these rumors? Is she depressed? Anxious? Have you noticed a decline in her school performance?
Given your concerns, it could be useful to have her see a counselor outside of school, who is experienced with children her age who are being bullied. This person could help your daughter develop and rehearse ideas about what she should say and how she should act at school with these kids.
In the meantime, keep the lines of communication open with your daughter. It’s imperative she has someone to talk to and confide in.
Additionally, it might be helpful to create opportunities for her to socialize outside of school, perhaps by taking a music, dance, art, or sports class until things calm down. This can help take the focus off the bullying while providing enrichment and an opportunity for her to meet new friends and enjoy and learn new skills, while strengthening her self-esteem.
This information on bullying from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services may have some helpful tips for you and your daughter.
Irene & Sheryl
Child or adult bullying is unacceptable and has to be taken seriously.