My daughter is 7. I never imagined we would have this talk at age 7. Sure, I felt left out at that age, but my sweet girl has had some mean kid drama at age 7. Read that again, AGE 7.
Some of the things that have been said to her:
- You are so fat just like a chicken nugget!
- You need a bra.
- Why do you have 5 chins?
- You talk stupid. Why can’t you talk right?
- Why do you always have a book? You aren’t reading all those. You aren’t smart enough.
- Why does your stomach look like a big watermelon?
- You run like a retard. ( Yup- the R word) Yes, kids are still saying this. In 2019, who actually stills says this??
As a Mom, I wanted to go kick some little kids butt. Or get on the phone with their parents, or run right out to the school or activity and demand answers from these kids and demand an apology. But I sat back. Kids have got to figure things out on their own, right?
In two instances I have not sat back, because the picking ultimately became bullying. Because of this my sweet girl developed anxiety over attending school and any other event that involves her peers.
My daughter, who is 7, has come home in tears over the above mentioned things said. Sadly, it’s not just at school. She is not immune in any situation.
My daughter has a tender heart, so when she started to tell me things– I quickly dismissed them, believing she was taking things too much to heart. I mean who is that mean in 1st grade? Or so I believed.
Then it got worse. She would cry when we went to school. She would cry when we would go the pool. She would cry when we went out to eat. She would cry at bedtime, because she was so fearful of what the next day would bring or who would be there. When the guidance counselor called me one day to come to the school, I knew something was horribly wrong. My sweet girl was no longer innocent to the mean in the world. She had truly been exposed. Enough was enough for this little girl.
She got slapped at school in the pick-up line. She had a bruise for about two days on her face. I asked did she say anything to upset anyone? No. Did she start a fight? No. Did she taunt anyone? No. I had teachers vouch. The principal went to bat for my sweet girl. She was frighten that she was in trouble and that she had done something to deserved to be slapped! Heart breaking.
Her little tears were ever flowing and it all came out. Every. Single. Word. All the mean. All the hateful. All the hurt. My heart was literally breaking.
At this point, my Momma bear was in full rage. It had to stop. NOW.
I advocate for my child to the fullest. I shed tears. I loose sleep. I worry. I’ve considered quitting my job to be “around” more so she would feel more secure.
I told my girl I was sorry for not really listening. That won’t happen again. Ever since —I’ve been listening and I haven’t stopped.
We were going to get back up and fight. Fighting in the sense, the nicest way possible.
I had a youth leader once teach me, “Kindness kills.” We even had shirts made. We all wore them with pride.
I refuse to raise a mean girl. I refuse to let the world create my sweet girl into a mean girl.
My ears have been “ON” since these particular incidents. Now we have weekly meetings with a lady that helps her talk through her anxious thoughts about attending school and extra activities. How to respond to her peers. How to react. How to overcome the hurt. How to trust her peers and develop good friendships.
Let’s set the record straight- I know kids will be kids and things are said. I get it.
But we’ve got to do better when we talk to our kids about being a friend. How to be kind. What is appropriate to say. What is NOT appropriate to say. What if this was your child? What if your child was slapped in the face over talking to another kid in the pickup line? What if your child cried herself to sleep for nights on end, because she was afraid little Johnny was going to make fun of her speech?
So in my house— this is what is taught:
- We are all growing at our pace. Be kind. Love. Smile. And if I ever hear that you said something mean to another person, or I hear about it—- you will regret it. Trust me kiddo. Got it? WE ARE KIND.
This mean girl/kid culture has got to stop. I don’t know how to fix it, but I know one thing I’ve been teaching my babies to include EVERYONE.
- If you see someone not playing with anyone, go play with them. Even if they’ve been mean to you before.
- If you see someone that looks sad, be their friend and smile.
- If you see someone that is crying, ask them what is wrong.
- If they like volleyball and you like soccer, you can still be friends! Imagine that 😉
- If a friend is mean to you, tell them I can’t listen to that today. You aren’t being nice. Walk away.
And sweet girl, you won’t ever outgrow mean girls or mean people. Sorry to tell you, but it’s true. You think you do, but then bam! You are 35 and there they are again. They are always out there. Especially if you work in a field full of crazy, like I do. ( again, trust me on this one.)
It really does suck– mean girls, mean people, ( Yes, I used that word) but this is the other one true thing I can promise—-
the beauty of TRUE friendship IS worth it—–
- The ones you call when you argue with your husband.
- The ones you call when you aren’t sure if maybe you might have overdosed your kid on bendaryl and you stay up all night making sure they are still breathing. ( yes, this happened!)
- The ones that eat ice cream with you at 2 am because your boyfriend just broke up with you.
- The ones that see your beauty.
- The ones that see your inner strength.
- The ones that tell you how beautiful you actually are, despite your weight. Your c-section scars, or how heavy your heart really is.
- The ones that make you laugh so hard you spit soda out your nose.
- The no judgement friends.
- The ladies who call you up and just want to run to the nearest Mexican restaurant to eat queso and tacos to VENT— because it’s been that kind of week.
- The friend that comes to your house when you can’t get out of bed, and brings you a blizzard and says “you are stronger than this.”
- The friend that holds your hand when your Mom dies and says “I love you. I’m here always.” Then they never leave, even 15 years after the loss. They are still there. Letting you cry about how you miss her every. single. day. still. No judgement. Or telling you to move on. Just there. Holding your hand and giving you hugs.
- The friend you always go to the movies with.
- The friend that you know won’t talk about you behind your back.
- The friend that tells you that your hair looks absolutely ridiculous blonde- go back to brunette girlfriend! 😉 Cause she’s real. She’s honest. She truth.
Those friends— they are out there baby— I promise. Friends come. Friends go. But, nice friends. Good friends. True friends. They stay.
But on the days when you feel like an outsider, on the days when your best friend stops talking to you, on the days when everyone gets invited to the sleepover and you don’t, on the days nobody talks to you at lunch, on the days when you wonder if you fit in, if you are good enough, skinny enough, beautiful enough—–
on those days, my baby girl, I will remind you that love never quits.
Keep loving. Keep believing the best in people. Keep smiling. Keep seeing the good. Keep shining so bright they have no choice but to see the beautiful girl you are. Because you are gold and gold never tarnishes.
Keeping pouring the love on the mean, —-
because, love baby girl– it always conquers.