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Daughter Being Bullied

answered 12:45 PM EST, Wed February 29, 2012
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My 7th grade daughter comes home crying a lot after school because of a group of popular girls who are bullying her. They do not ever hit or punch her or do anything that is too obvious but they are tormenting her psychologically. They invite everyone to parties but make sure she never gets an invite. They call her names and make other people in her class laugh at her. They write notes about her and pass them around the class. Basically they are trying to do whatever they can to make her feel like she is worthless…stepping on her when she is down.

My daughter is a little bit shy but she is a very sweet and smart kid and she does not deserve the way she is being treated. I have talked to her teacher. She says that she can see that some of the girls are not very nice to my daughter but she says that since there is nothing physical it is very hard for her to catch anything that is going on and intervene. The teacher is at least sympathetic and I feel like she is on my side in this but the principle is useless. His attitude seems to be that girls of this age are mean to each other and that’s just the way it normally is and he’s not going to get involved unless there is blood in the hallway, basically.

What should I do? I do not know what to do at this point other than to get in touch with the parents of the girls who torment her myself. I have not done so yet because my wife thinks it’s something that could go badly and my daughter is begging me not to.

So what should I do? I know how hard this can be on a kid and I know how seriously girls of her age need the approval of their peers.

Jill Palmer Says...

Tough situation. You are the parent and have to trust your parental instincts on what to do. If you feel contacting the other parents is in the best interest of your child, you and your wife can discuss how to proceed in doing that. Your daughter might get mad at you but you are the parent. You have to do what you think is best and not have regrets later for not doing enough.

This isn't an easy situation and there are no right answers. We, as a society, have a problem with bullying but it won't change unless the adults do something about it. Since there aren't any right answers, trust your instinct. Do what you can. Continue to help your daughter increase her self-esteem, learn assertiveness skills and manage the disappointment of not always fitting in. She might get comfort from professional help so she can have a safe outlet in discussing her emotions around all of this. Being ganged up on can't be easy for her so she will need support in learning how to cope. A professional counselor working with your daughter could also work closely with you on how to move forward with parents and teachers. This professional would have more insight into how well your daughter is really dealing with all of this. 

Bottom line: trust yourself and your parental instincts on how to move forward.

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