Queen Bees

20 Nov

I attended a talk at our school yesterday about Relational Aggression.  (That’s the new term for girl bullying.)  My sweet pea has a myriad of issues, not the least of which are all the social difficulties.  It seems like every night this week she has gone to bed teary about how she “doesn’t have any friends” or how “so-and-so won’t play with me”…it’s sad to realize that this is going to be a part of her life for the next few years at least.

The other night she asked me “Mom, are you dumb or smart?”  I knew it was a trap either way, so I went with smart (all those years in the OR ought to count for something, right?)  She told me to say my ABC’s, and I did.  When I finished she said “You didn’t say them fast enough, so you’re dumb.”

I asked her if this is what they do at school – find ways to call each other dumb?  She said “yes” and I just shook my head.  It’s ridiculous!  Can’t they think of anything encouraging to say to each other?  Now we have to dog each other for not saying the freakin’ ABC’s fast enough?  Give me a break.

One of the varieties of bullying that was described was exclusion.  Now this is a tricky one, because everyone has the right to play with who they want to, and children in 4th grade shouldn’t be forced to play with someone if they don’t wan to.  But the issues start when it’s “I won’t talk to YOU if you play with HER”, etc.  Last night Sweet Pea was really upset about one particular girl who seems to be the Queen Bee -Pea described her as “really into herself” and “always in charge.”  On the field trip yesterday this young lady apparently told her mother to ignore Sweet Pea.  I asked if she did and Sweet Pea said “of course she did”. 

Guess who that mother was?  The lady sitting next to me at the Bullying talk earlier in the morning. 

Nice.

I know Sweet Pea isn’t perfect.  Far from it.  And I wasn’t there to see how this mother actually treated my daughter, so I’m reacting without all the facts.  But this hurts.  I want to kiss it and make it better like I used to, and that isn’t working anymore.  There is no Barbie Band-Aid to fix this.  And the reality is it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

I can’t shelter her from it, as much as I want to just keep her in bed with me all day and not make her go to that mean awful playground.    I can’t prevent her from being the bully, and I can’t prevent her from being the victim.   I can’t MAKE everyone be nice to her.  I can’t MAKE her be nice to everyone. 

All I can do is pray, and teach, and model, and hug, and wipe tears, and hug again.  And tell her I love her over and over and over. 

And over. 

*****************************************************************************************************************

If you’re interested in reading more about Girl Bullying, here are some recommended titles:

Girl Wars by Cheryl Dellasega and Charisse Nixon

Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons

Mean Chicks, Cliques, and Dirty Tricks by Erika Karres

Queen Bees and Wannabees by Rosalind Wiseman

The Bully, Bullied, and the Bystander by Barbara Coloroso

Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco

See Jane Hit by James Garbarino

Bullying in the Girl’s World by Diane Sern

Salvaging Sisterhood by Julia V. Taylor

Mean Girls 101 1/2 Creative Strategies by Kaye Randall and Allyson Bowen

And if you’re looking for books for your daughter, here are couple of titles just for her:

Friends:  Making Them and Keeping Them by Patty Kelley Criswell and Stacey Peterson

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles by Patty Kelley Criswell and Angela Martini

 

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8 Responses to “Queen Bees”

  1. Barb November 20, 2008 at 9:15 pm #

    My 3rd grader gets this stuff too. She has a friend who apparently is not so popular with several other girls. These girls have told Lauren that if she is friends with Miss A, then Lauren can’t be friends with them. Thank God that Lauren stands her ground with these girls.

  2. Erin November 21, 2008 at 9:49 am #

    Your post makes me want to rush back home to enroll Ella at good ‘ol Meadows Elementary before she starts school! We had it so good there…or is it just that times have changed?

  3. jane November 21, 2008 at 11:43 am #

    We just finished “The Smart Girls Guide to Friendship” recommended by a dr. Great read for the girls & takes some pressure off us moms.

  4. Spring November 21, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    I am so not ready for this. Writing titles. Will buy books. After sip tea slowly and breathe into paper bag.

    Was it like this when we were kids?

  5. anymommy November 22, 2008 at 5:07 am #

    Oh dread, I dread this stuff and the pain it causes so much. How to give them the inner strength they need to be above this meanness, I don’t know if it’s possible. You’re right, all you can do is love them when they come home.

  6. Patrick November 24, 2008 at 6:30 pm #

    You said it best when you said that all you can do teach pray, model, etc. Explain to her that there are mean people in the world and they usually get theirs in the end. Talk about what it was like in middle/high school and where the pretty/popular kids are now (at mine, they had not lived or aged well). We nerds who were taunted and teased were very successful. Tell her about your 10/20 year reunion. She could also seek out others who are treated the same way by those B!(@#&$ and form her own group of like-treated individuals. Let her know she is not alone and ask her about the girls who are treated the same way. She may think she is the only one, but talking about the others will show her that it is not personal with these “girls”. They would be the same way even if she was not there. The best way to make a friend is to be one with the other girls who are treated the same way. The girls today are VERY mean and can be vicious. Keep the conversations going. She is learning and hearing you. At this age, they lack the skills to put them into practice, but the dialogue will make a difference.

  7. Jenny November 24, 2008 at 7:45 pm #

    I love reading your blog and getting a glimpse of the issues I’m going to face a few years down the road. I also hate reading your blog and getting a glimpse of the issues I’m going to face a few years down the road! Thanks for providing such a good example, though, of how to be a good Mom!

  8. The Introvert December 4, 2008 at 10:33 am #

    I know I’m late in the game on this one. I went through the bullying in middle school and jr. high. Jr. high was the worst. I had nightmares about the seventh grade well into college. My best friend decided on a daily basis whether she was going to be my friend that day or make fun of me with a different group of friends. Usually depended on whether she wanted something from me that day. You’re right; it’s going to get worse before it gets better. But as long as she can get through it without hanging onto bitterness and resentment, she can at least learn from it and come out a better person.

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