I have been reading eHell and the message boards for over a year now. They have provided me with hours of entertainment as well as extremely helpful advice. I thought the following would amuse eHell Dame and the rest of the eHellions.
BG: Last year, DD ran afoul of the class Mean Girl (MG) shortly after the winter break. DD is an outgoing, likeable child, athletic in interest and abilities, and has a wide range of interests as well as friends. For whatever reason, MG decided to make DD’s school life as miserable as possible. MG was a stealth bomber, meaning she would hurl her insults always out of the ear shot of adults but always in front of an audience, adding even more so to DD’s discomfort. MG also ignored personal boundaries, and was very touchy feely with DD (nothing that would get the authorities involved, but more along the lines of being annoying). Working with DD’s teacher, the guidance counselor and the vice principal (they were all fabulous) they were able to put a stop to MG’s behavior.
While the school was doing their thing, DH and I sat DD down to give her a little lesson on how to deal with people like MG. This was known as “eHell Elementary Edition, the Foundation of a Polite Spine.” We stressed the following salient points:
1. Being polite does not mean you become a doormat. Yes, we want others to treat us as we would like to be treated but sometimes you need/have to stand up for yourself. DH and I will always stand by you when you do.
2. A blank stare or better yet, a fearsome scowl is a fabulous weapon when dealing with bullies and drama llamas. My grandmother was a full blooded English woman whose facial expressions could convey a multitude of emotions without a single word passing her lips. Lovely woman, but that scowl….DD is about half way there, I really see it when she’s up to bat. J
3. “Why would you say that?” is an excellent way to turn an insulting/intrusive/impolite comment back on the person. MG had made some snarky remark to her and DD countered with “WWYST”. MG was flustered and upset because now, in front of an audience, she was put on the spot.
4. “No” is a complete sentence. DD found this extremely helpful when MG trampled her personal boundaries. If MG was coming in too close, DD would hold up her hands, away from her body and simply give her a firm “No”; lather, rinse, and repeat as needed.
5. Drama llama/extinction burst. MG was a drama llama as well as a bully. We warned DD that once MG figured out that DD was having none of her shenanigans, MG would change her plan of attack and turn it into a pity party (we’ve both seen it before). We were right. MG changed tactics and bombarded DD with requests for playdates, sleepovers, what have you. Every offer was met with a polite “No, thank you” and MG complained that she only wanted to be DD’s friend and DD was the mean one (um, no).
Fortunately by the time Valentine’s Day rolled around, MG was no longer an issue. DD kept her at an arm’s distance, polite but cool for the rest of the school year.
Fast forward to the start of this school year, and seeing that DD and her class will be moving on to middle school next year, they have started switching classes for reading, math, science and social studies. Anyone care to guess who was sitting next to DD in her math class? DD said MG waited about a day before she was up to her old shenanigans. Not as so much with the insults, but the trampling of personal boundaries. MG kept poking DD in the ribs, trying to tickle her, play footsies with her, talk to her while the teacher was speaking. DD approached her math teacher at the end of the first week, told her exactly what had happened last year, the issues that she has with MG and very politely requested that she change seats (we got an email from math teacher). DH and I are very proud of her handling this issue by herself although I offered to call on her behalf, only to be told that “you can be kind of scary” (Grandmother’s scowl, father’s voice of impending doom, deadly combination when used correctly).
PS: MG has changed seat partners three times since school started; apparently no one wants to sit next to her. 1004-16
AWESOME! Way to go, Mom and Dad! Etiquette once again becomes a powerful tool to take command of a situation.