"I hate school Mom, PLEASE don't send me back there!" This was the text I got from my daughter this morning. It's the second week of school and already the vultures are decending on my 8th grader.
My daughter has always been socially akward. She doesn't fit in it and oftentimes can be found sitting alone. She is quiet and shy and has a hard time initiating any type of conversations.
The complaints I get from my daughter, have been the same since Kindergarden. "No one likes me." "No one wants to hang out with me." "They call me ugly." "The girls whisper and make fun of me behind my back."
This is all too familiar to me. I had a horrible experience in 8th grade. Being the new kid didn't help. I was always "different" than my peers. Chubby, with glasses, I was a prime target for endless teasing.
Until one day, I chose to stand up for myself. I was done with the rocks being thrown at me. I was done with the fat comments. I was done being the subject of many jokes.
I remember that day. Hot faced....I felt the power and courage fill within me. I whipped around, took my glasses off and asked this boy why I was so important to him, that he had to go out of his way to make me feel like crap.
He really had no responce, but I told him to grow up, and that one day he would be bald and fat, and may end up being on the receiving end of some cruel jokes. I told him to spend his time on something else, because I wasn't going to let him affect me anymore.
Eventually he did stop, and I had a pretty good year from then on. But did I really let go of him affecting me? To this day, I can remember how I felt...I relive the power this kid had over me over and over...so much for letting go, eh?
Even now, I find myself wishing... "If only I could have flawless skin and be thin...maybe people would like me." "If only I could have enough money..." "If only I could have a better personality." If only....
The teasing and bullying never really stopped for me....because I still let it affect me. I let what other people think of me, control my attitude and even what I stand for sometimes. I find myself trying to live up to the standards that other people set.
As for Bailey, all I can do is love and support her. She has the strength to overcome this. I am trying to teach her (and my other kids) that they are beautiful and strong people.
When kids bully and tease, I want my kids to know that THEY aren't the problem. It's not their fault. Some kids just need to feel in control...they like the power they get from picking on someone. They think it makes them inportant...or popular. Sometimes kids do this, maybe because it's the way they are being treated at home.
WAYS TO HELP
*Create a buddy system (strength in numbers)
*Really listen to your child, let them vent
*Contact the school
I know that my daughter is in pain. It hurts me, that she is hurting. But as her parent, I have to help push her fwd, and continue to encourage her. (even though what I want to do, is pull her out of school and protect her)
Sweet Bailey, those that matter, know how precious you are. Those that matter love you and support you. Those that matter will be by your side.