Does bullying ever stop? Nope, it changes. It gets more sophisticated and nastier as we enter the jungle that is motherhood. Not only do parents have to endure sleep deprivation, bedtime battles, eating battles, sibling battles, now we get mommy battles, complete with judgement and backstabbing. I follow quite a few mommy blogs and I'm shocked at the comments I read. Here is a wacky thought. If you don't like someone's blog then don't read it. Don't ridicule and complain about it. Go read someone else's blog. Most of the mommy blogs are funny, amusing and an outlet for tired, overwhelmed and frustrated moms to vent. The other (über) moms have to get offended, critical and judgmental and voice their nasty opinions instead of letting people have their voice. The only thing worse than a third grade bully is a grownup bully. We all know who they are. They are always right. They know best. They are better than the rest of us. They are permanently stuck in the third grade where they thrived by picking on others. Everything is a competition and they have to win at any cost, even someone else's feelings.
Right now, we are trying to teach our third grade daughter to stand up for herself but also let some things slide. She needs to learn to let things roll off her back, not get riled and ignore the girls who bait her, pick on her and put her down. It's hard as an adult to do that. How do you do that as an 8 year old? We have told her to ignore, walk away, say "you are entitled to your opinion" and "you are not the boss of me". It's starting to work. When a girl tells her "you are so annoying to me that I'm going to punish you. You cannot play with xxxx", instead of getting riled up, crying and getting into a fight, she calmly said "you are not the boss of me or xxx". No, we don't call the girl's parents. We don't want these issues to become major issues. We want her to learn conflict resolution and independence. I don't want my 7th grader running to me to solve every little problem. During her life, she will encounter some real pieces of work and need to know how to handle them. The problem is, Sara is very much her mother's daughter. She wants everyone to like her and will keep trying way too long. Sometimes perseverance isn't a good trait. She thinks that if she changes this or that, then this girl will miraculously start being her friend. We have assured her repeatedly that she doesn't have to change anything about herself. It's ok that this little girl doesn't want to be her friend. She has lots of friends, good friends who treat her the way she should be treated. Every day, when she comes off the bus, I can tell by the look on her face how her day went. She has a terrible poker face. If this girl gave her a hard time, it shows on her face. We have told her over and over not to let anyone have that much power over her. Not there is an upside to this kind of conflict, but I hope she learns a few things from this experience. I hope she learns to stand up for herself. I hope she learns to maintain her sense of self no matter what others say or do. I hope she learns to treat everyone with respect and dignity and ignore those who don't give it back to her. And above all, I hope she never, ever becomes a bully who needs to put others down to feel better than others.