It was the 5th grade when I finally had to step in on the insane dynamics of the “mean girls” which means it was also the 5th grade where I learned that you CAN’T go tearing up to school ready to kick some mean girl ass when your daughter has been wronged.
Because if you do, what happens is this… you make it worse for your kid. If you thought they were ripe for the picking before, go up to the Principal or Counselor’s office on your “taking names” agenda. The administration will do everything they’re supposed to do.. they’ll listen to you, make the necessary head nods and promise to take care of the situation. After you leave, they’ll call up the offenders and that’s where the problems really begin.
Now your child, who was already in a bad spot, has to deal with the repercussions of Mommy coming to save the day.
So that’s when I learned that I had to do all my fighting from the sidelines. It’s hard.. you have to do the role playing and coming up with different scenarios to help your child deal with the problems they’re having without Mama Bear coming to the rescue.
When the latest round of drama started happening at school, we went thru the same role playing situations, had long conversations about what a good friend looked like versus a toxic friend and so on. I try to equip the girls with the tools, information and empowerment that they need to stand up for themselves, not be taken advantage of, not be cruel (like their offenders) and maintain their dignity.
But sometimes, you have to be a Mama Bear.
I was sitting in my office at home when I started getting the texts. The girls are not supposed to text during school, obviously, so when one comes thru it’s usually pretty important. This particular one tells me that the situation that we have been dealing with and talking about had gotten to the point where she was literally sick to her stomach. Could I please come to school and talk to the Principal? I asked the question “can the two of you go to the counselor” but in the end, I got the message. It was time for Mama Bear to show up.
I had a great conversation with the Assistant Principal – explaining the situation as I knew it. Making sure that I offered the disclaimer that our daughter may have said some less than nice things and that there are always 3 sides to every story. She explained to me what she was going to do and that she was going to leave my involvement out of it. I left the school pleased with the conversation and with some new tidbits of knowledge for my arsenal.
- Once a kid is 13 years old if they make a threat, they can be prosecuted
- 13 year olds often reek havoc (i.e. Bully) because they think they’re still flying under the radar. They can do whatever they want because “no one is paying attention”. A common side effect of that bridge between childhood and being a teenager
- 13 year olds can still get the shit scared out of them and still have some respect for authority. All is not lost. Yet
It’s a tough road we parents of teens are all traveling right now. While I’m sure this won’t be my first visit to the schools to mark my territory and protect my young; I can only hope that by the time I have to do it for #3 it will be like everything else.. a road more traveled.