I have a great relationship with my daughter. Admittedly, it was better last Wednesday. I made the choice to go against her pleas to say nothing about a girl bully on her sports team that. Over the past month, the bully had become the topic of conversation every time I picked my child up from practice. Samantha/bully (not her real name) hadn’t been able to leave her alone, although she was far from the only target. Still most girls don’t understand the covert social/relational bullying that Samantha engaged in, all to affect one purpose – being mean feels good to Samantha. Sure, most psychologists attached hierarchy and status to the reason for girl fighting, but for every one of us, we all know that our girl bully (and we all had one) gained enormous pleasure from weakening our self-esteem and devouring our confidence.
So what would you do if you daughter is telling you a familiar story, one that every single woman has lived sometime in their life. At first, you might be like me and ignore it. Acknowledge Samantha’s behavior as sociopathic, and tell your child how wonderful she is. What if every day, you notice a little piece of her confidence diminish and it’s replaced with another story about Samantha. The topics seem benign enough, “Freshman, go answer the door now,” but the control and required obedience is taking its toll. Then one day, the story seems a little more difficult for your daughter to tell. The narrative is about the same, but the internal rage is growing and the pain is eating away at her. You tell her to speak up and get a simple response, “No way, I can handle it. That’s just the way it is and I only have eight more weeks.”
“I can’t just sit by and let this go on,” I told her.
“You have to, because I’m asking you,” she emphatically replied.
Relational bullying or social bullying can stay with a girl for an entire lifetime. Bystanders become co-conspirators and I just wasn’t willing to be used that way. Silence, believe it or not, it one of the relational bully’s most powerful assets. So I went against my child’s wishes and contacted the coach and athletic director. My child refused to talk to me. As a mom and former 14 year old, breaking the cycle of relational bullying was vital to my daughter’s long and short term success.
What do you think?
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