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Teaching Your Child To Not Be The Victim

My daughter Em is in 5th grade at a fairly small private school. We moved to the area three years ago, and quickly realized that the girls in her class are exceptionally clique-y. She has done a good job of making friends since second grade, and feels comfortable with her classmates, but the dynamic hasn’t changed much, especially for new students.

Last year, a new little girl came to the school and apparently had a very hard time making friends. We will call her Lizzie. I encouraged Em to try and be friendly with Lizzie, knowing that it can be hard for ‘the new kid.’ Em would routinely come home with stories of Lizzie getting into loud, vicious arguments with basically everyone in the class, and said she wasn’t comfortable pursuing a friendship with her because she wasn’t nice. I let it go, and told Em that as long as she wasn’t actively being mean to anyone, she didn’t have to hang out with Lizzie.

At the beginning of this year, I was at Back to School Night and met a woman who turned out to be Lizzie’s mom. She launched into long, complicated tale of how she moved here to escape Lizzie’s abusive father and to get medical treatment for Lizzie’s rare cancer at the children’s hospital in the city. She told me that Lizzie had a hard time in fourth grade but all she really wanted was a friend, and that she was really very sweet but scared and sick and that manifested itself as her being aggressive. She gave me her phone number and asked if we could try to get the girls together.

I went home and had a long talk with Em about Lizzie, and we suggested that maybe she would be nicer if she had some close friends to spend time with, that she probably felt like an outsider and was just hostile because she had a hard life. Em resolved to try to be her friend, and I was privately very proud that she had decided to show compassion and kindness to someone who was not particularly nice to her without my prompting.

Well, that was two months ago, and I cannot even begin to describe what an absolute disaster it’s been. Lizzie is by turns outright cruel to Em, ignores her, obsessively calls her and follows her around, and then the cycle begins again. She will send her a nasty text messages saying that Em is a stupid loser and that she is embarrassed to be seen with her, and then she will call her an hour later and invite her stay the night. The next week at school, Em will say hi to her, and she will tell her that in school they shouldn’t speak because she only wants to talk to ‘popular’ kids. She has pulled her chair out from under Em at lunch, and accused her of stealing from her desk, and been generally terrible. Em has decided that she is just going to ignore her, and I agree.

Unfortunately, Lizzie’s mom still texts or calls frequently to get the girls together, and I am torn whether to just sort of give her the brush off, or to actually tell her how Lizzie is acting and because of that, Em doesn’t wish to be her friend.

I have contacted the school, and they are no help, they ‘make it their policy not to get involved in playground disputes.’ So it’s basically up to me to either ignore this woman, which I don’t feel is right, or to add to her already significant burden by telling her that her sick daughter is acting improperly. It’s my opinion that those who seem the least lovable are the most in need of love, but I don’t want to teach my daughter to be a doormat. Help! 1103-13

I know some parents will try to use other children to address behavioral issues with their own….BTDT.   Years ago a mother told me how much she loved when our DSs got together because mine was such a good influence on hers and she proceeded to tell me of her son’s problems.    Hmmmm……  I wasn’t aware there were behavior issues with the other boy and subsequently began to scale back the amount of time the boys were together in the belief that it is not my pre-teen kid’s job to be a supervisor, cop, teacher or in any way responsible for training another person’s child.

Lizzie needs professional counseling because she is profoundly angry at the world for dealing her a harsh hand.    Her father is abusive and she must deal with the stress of cancer which is hard enough as an adult, let alone by a child. Lizzie cannot control much about her life so she is being manipulative to control other people’s emotions and lives.   It’s sad and she needs help.*   Lizzie’s mother needs to be made aware of what it looks like from the “friend of my daughter” perspective and why her daughter is having such a hard time making friends.  You are not doing Lizzie or her mother any favors by being discreet regarding Lizzie’s behavior.

Train your daughter to recognize the source of certain behaviors and how to confront bad behavior from alleged “friends” because Lizzie will not be the last manipulative person Em will encounter in her life.   Lizzie is the type of manipulative person who tells two different narratives which confuses the intended victim.   Lizzie is exercising power over Em by jerking her back and forth emotionally.     Em needs to learn to recognize when this happens and basically call the manipulative bluff by forcing Lizzie to be honest to one narrative only.  For example,  being invited for a stay over hours after receiving a nasty text message….Em can respond as follows, “Lizzie, you are being manipulative and I am not playing this game.   I won’t be jerked around by you this way.  You texted me that you were embarrassed to be seen with me and I am taking you at your word that this is how you view our relationship so I am declining your insincere offer to stay over tonight.”   Ditto for the “shouldn’t speak (to me)  because she only wants to talk to ‘popular’ kids” scenario.   Once Lizzie has played this manipulative card, Em can rebuff future friendly overtures as both insincere and yet another avenue to manipulate her emotionally.   Em takes control of her life back and learns how to be the one who determines the outcome of a difficult manipulation attempt.

*Suggest to Lizzie’s mom that she look into a therapeutic horseback riding program.   It’s not just for people with physical disabilities.   There is something about handling a 1000+pound animal that is good for the soul of a troubled child.  It is a large, powerful creature that can be controlled  when everything else feels out of control.   Horses are very honest and will give you exactly what you input into them, i.e. try to be manipulative by asking the horse to go forward with the legs but not go forward with the reins and you’ll likely get bucked off because that is exactly what you told the horse to do.   You’ve commanded it to move in the only direction it can…up.    Kids learn to respect the horse as a partner and that partnership can yield wonderful results.


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  • Mae November 13, 2013, 4:51 pm

    @Rachel, comment #99- So you think even thought Lizzie is bullying Em, that Em should just take it and be her friend?

    The first time the mom urged Em to be friends with Lizzie, she tried, it didn’t work out so well. After the moms had a talk, Em’s mom encouraged the friendship again and Em tried. Lizzie is mean and only wants to friends when it’s convenient for her. She has tried to hurt Em physically (chair incident) and has been emotionally cruel to her (doesn’t want the “popular” kids to see her talking to Em, texting Em to call her a “stupid loser”, accusing her of stealing).

    I’m glad that you & your mom were able to be compassionate to people who bullied you. Em is in the 5th grade, which makes her 10, maybe 11. It’s not a 10/11 year old child’s job to be nice to someone who is cruel & is bullying her . Em has tried to be compassionate but Lizzie doesn’t seem to care. I’m 40 & if someone I tried to be nice & friendly to was treating me like Lizzie is treating Em, it would be over, quickly.

    I’m not suggesting getting the police involved or having a huge conniption fit. I would simply tell Em to stay away from Lizzie & if the mom contacted me for a playdate, I would decline & explain that considering that the 2 girls are not getting along, future playdates are out of the question.

    I think another thing that are upsetting some people is that Em’s mom seems more concerned about Lizzie than she is her own child. Wanting Lizzie to get help is great but she needs to be concerned that her own child is being bullied and what effects that may have on Em if it is allowed to continue.

    Also, the school saying they don’t get involved in “playground disputes”- that is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a while. I think this has passed a simple playgound dispute and their refusal to step in as needed is negligent.

  • Rap November 14, 2013, 12:23 am

    “Also, the school saying they don’t get involved in “playground disputes”- that is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a while. I think this has passed a simple playgound dispute and their refusal to step in as needed is negligent.”

    Why? Why do you think the school should step in? What has actually happened… not “Maybe Lizzie pulled a chair and *maybe* Em could have been hurt!” and not “Lizzie texts Em and Em’s Mom can’t possibly tell Lizzie’s Mom to tell her kid to stop” ?

    What can the school do that won’t spark Lizzie’s mom to pursue legal action against the school for unfairly persecuting Lizzie? Please step up, Mae, and tell us all what you can prove the school has done wrong and what the school should be doing that won’t provoke Lizzie’s mom to sue the school for jumping on her daughter.

    What has Lizzie done in what the OP said that is definable as assault and isn’t two ten year old girls being nasty?

    I am not defending bullying. I am asking for a definiton of what Lizzie did that is so openly above and beyond “a playground dispute” that she needs to have the school slap down on her even tho OP won’t even tell Lizzie’s mom there’s a problem. And what should the school slap Lizzie down with?

  • Mae November 15, 2013, 4:03 pm

    Direct quote from the OP ” Lizzie is by turns outright cruel to Em”, “She has pulled her chair out from under Em at lunch, and accused her of stealing from her desk”. THAT happened at the school and the school has a responsibility to protect children and provide a SAFE place for learning. If you think I am wrong, try calling the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

    Since you are on your soapbox, Rap, maybe you should go back and reread my last comment. I didn’t say the school should “slap Lizzie down”. Do schools no longer have ISS, OSS or after-school suspension as punishment?

    My *opinion* is ignoring Lizzie’s bullying behavior is negligent. What if Lizzie decides she wants to punch Em next? Or trip her as she walks by? Should the school ignore that? Because, hey, after all, it’s a playground dispute. If Lizzie cannot be stopped from potentially hurting a child because of what she has already done, then they can’t punish her for punching and tripping a child. If Lizzie’s mom is going to sue the school for punishing her daughter because her daughter is a bully, then I hope she enjoys spending money and spending a lot of time waiting in courthouse halls. How is she going to do that if Lizzie has a rare cancer and needs to go to the children’s hospital for treatment?

    I can also say that if Lizzie was doing any of those things to a child of a faculty member, something would have been done by now. Maybe that’s not the way it is in the school system where you live, but that is the way it works at the school system in my area.

    If children cannot be punished by after- school detention, ISS or OSS for being a bully, then we need to just close the schools down. But all of this could have been avoided if Em’s mom had left it alone the first time Lizzie’s bullying behavior reared it’s head or if she would just be a grown up and talk to the woman.

  • Mae November 15, 2013, 4:14 pm

    Something else- Maybe Lizzie is a complete angel when her mom is around and the mom doesn’t even know Lizzie is a bully. Kids can win Oscars with some of the performances they put on. She might be mortified if she knew how Lizzie was at school.

    One thing is for sure, if a Lizzie-type every bullied and tormented my child, they wouldn’t have to sue the school for coming down on their kid, because I would sue the school for failing to protect my child and providing them a safe environment for learning. Of course, my child has no problem standing up for himself and would not continue to try to be friends with a bully. If a bully pulled my son’s chair out from under him at lunch, they might just find themselves on their behind. And the school couldn’t do a thing because it’s a “playground dispute”, right?

  • Floofy November 15, 2013, 10:04 pm

    The first thing I thought of when I read this was “Stolkholm syndrome”. You know who else needs love? People who aren’t abusive to others. I’m agreeing with the other posters, you owe your daughter an apology. I understand wanting to teach your child empathy at an early age, and good on you for raising such a caring daughter, but this could escalate into something worse if she learns to put her gut feelings aside to help a toxic person.
    If Lizzie is truly suffering from this, then my heart goes out to her. Even if she’s not, my heart goes out to her for having a mother who is making up a sob story. The girl needs serious help, this isn’t something a 5th grader can give.

  • Rap November 16, 2013, 9:55 pm

    Mae, the problem we have is that we’re assuming OP is telling the complete story and that Lizzie and Lizzie’s mom might have a different story, that they would present to the school when and if OP gets the school to intervene.

    For starters – the school can’t act on “what might have happened”. Em has not been physically injured so the school can not restrict Lizzie for what could have happened. The chair pulling incident can EASILY be interpreted as two kids horsing around (if it even happened) and the most the school can do is tell Lizzie not to do it again.

    Second, you are assuming that “My child comes FIRST” somehow doesn’t count for Lizzie’s mom. Here, based on OP’s description of events is how Lizzie’s mom can respond. “I had no idea there was any issue, any time I suggested a play date, Op was fine with it. Frankly I was hesitant because Lizzie told me that Em stole things from her desk and denied and the school did *nothing* about the theft. She also apparently accused my Lizzie of pulling a chair out from under her, and my child says it never happened, do you have ANY witnesses? Em ignores her, and then takes her phone calls and comes over to play like there’s been no arguement. I don’t understand why the school hasn’t intervened! Do I need to pursue legal action to make this stop???”

    Do you see the problem?

    I’m sorry but you know what? 10 year old girls lie. And 10 year old girls sometimes have spats where they call each other names and are mean and if the *school* is expected to intervene, then I damn well expect OP’s mom to do something other than NOTHING to address the spats directly with Lizzie’s mom, rather than expecting the school to make sure that no little girls look cross eyed at Em.

    And seriously, the school can not put Lizzie in in-school or out of school suspension without allowing Lizzie’s mom to know and to defend her child. And Lizzie’s mom will ask if there’s any proof other than another child’s say so before Lizzie’s mom has to take three days off from work to deal with Lizzie’s out of school suspension. Let me be blunt. Parents do threaten legal action when their child is disciplined. Further, as stated, nothing Lizzie has done rises to a crime. She sends mean tweets? Has OP said anything to Lizzie’s mom? She has told Em not to hang around her at school? What has OP done, other than insist Em be friends with Lizzie ? Frankly as described, it sounds like Em is already handling it at school, the problem is that OP wants the school to deal with telling Lizzie’s mom that Op doesn’t want Lizzie and Em to be friends.

    What *legal action* can OP’s mom take considering Em has not been physically harmed, OP has made no effort to even let Lizzie’s mom know there’s an issue, and nothing that has actually happened has happened at school or rises above two little girls not liking each other?

  • Mae November 18, 2013, 10:12 am

    The 2 things I do agree with you about, Rap, is that Em’s mom needs to stop being a wimp about addressing the situation with Lizzie’s mom. Actually, if Em’s mom had just left it alone the first time Em said she did not want to be friends with Lizzie, this situation might not have happened at all. I also agree that the school has no control over any text messages that may have been sent.

    I think contacting the parent/guardian should should be the first step in addressing a possible bullying situation or any kind of school-related situation. The problem I can’t wrap my head around is that *if* Lizzie is doing something at school, the school cannot take any kind of action to address, prevent or correct it, without Lizzie’s mom trying to sue them. IF Lizzie is bullying and causing disruption as the OP has stated, I would expect the school to speak with Lizzie’s mother and give her the opportunity to address it with Lizzie. If it continued to happen after that, then the school should have the responsibility/right to take measures address it. Again, this is assuming that something is actually happening.

    Another thing I don’t quite understand is if Lizzie was “getting into loud, vicious arguments with basically everyone in the class”, why the school has not already contacted Lizzie’s mom? If you have a student who is arguing with the entire class, the logical thing to do would be to contact the parents and have a meeting. Maybe that’s a clue that this thing has gotten exaggerated?

    I’m still suspicious about the cancer situation. If the things the LW has stated are true, I don’t see how a sick child with rare cancer going through treatments has the energy to do half of the things that are in the post. I think the mom saying the treatments have made her “aggressive” and all she really needs is a friend, is a clue. Maybe she knows Lizzie is aggressive and uses the cancer story as an excuse?

    I guess the bottom line is until Em’s mom decides to be a grown-up and tell Lizzie’s mom that the friendship between the girls does not seem to be working out and she/Em are no longer interested in pursuing it, nothing is going to happen.

  • Rap November 18, 2013, 11:18 pm

    Of course, it’s entirely possible that *Em* might not be telling the truth about how Lizzie has loud vicious arguements constantly? Or are we not questioning the truth telling ability of one ten year old over another? Frankly if Lizzie was so disruptive in the classroom, yes I do think the school would address it… but as I have said, OP seems to be basing this off Em’s testimony. Em also apparently says Lizzie has no friends and ALSO tells Em not to hang around her when she is with the popular kids… how is Lizzie hanging around the popular kids if she is the class pariah who constantly has vicious arguements with everyone?

    Here’s a question – if Em has been accused by Lizzie of stealing from her desk… has OP’s mom been called in to school to address it? Your arguement that Lizzie might be on best behavior with her mom is equally valid for Em, you do realize that? And the school has to consider that.

    Since you’re a proud mama bear on the “My child comes FIRST” wagon, lets hear what you would do if the school called you with how your son or daughter, on the word of another child, needs in school suspension because they’re viciously arguementative and pulled a chair out from another child without causing harm. Hand on the Bible, Mae, would your reaction be to meekly accept how rotten your child has been or would you demand proof?

    If you would demand proof, then stop and consider that EVERY OTHER parent will demand proof as well, and if the school can’t prove it, then everyone would call the lawyers.

    Would you demand proof or meekly accept the school calling your child a bully and assessing punishment?

  • Rap November 18, 2013, 11:33 pm

    Personally I don’t know or care if the cancer story is true. “Rare” cancer doesn’t necessarily mean end stage cancer. Based on the OP’s story, I’d hope the school at least would look into the story, but having cancer doesn’t necessarily mean its impossible for Lizzie to act out.

    And frankly its also possible that Em, who started at the school and didn’t fit into the cliques, per the OP, might resent the more protected status a sick child like Lizzie would get – teachers in my experience will jump in a lot faster when its the cancer kid getting teased.

    There’s so many issues at play here, I am seriously appalled and amused that Em is such paragon that not one word of her story to OP is to be questioned and the school needs to get Lizzie in inschool or out of school suspension or be sued because Em says she’s such a vicious little animal.

  • SarahB November 19, 2013, 1:51 am

    I can’t think of much to say that hasn’t been said. I do, however, want to address the beginning of MichelleP’s post (#48):
    “@LadyLelan, “your daughter was molested”??? Where on earth did you get that?”
    The word molest does not mean what you think it does. It means to annoy or pester or harass, often in an aggressive manner. Yes, this often correlates with some sort of sexual assault, but the word itself does not mean “sexual assault.” Em was certainly molested by Lizzy.

  • Mae November 19, 2013, 2:44 pm

    I do think it’s possible that Em is not telling the whole truth. Actually, I have been rereading the OP as I read your comments and I am beginning to think that the LW is exaggerating the story a bit.

    My comments regarding ISS or OSS are *assuming* that the LW story is true. Again, the part I can not understand is that if *any* child, not just Lizzie, is acting out/bullying, that appropriate disciplinary measures could not be taken without the threat of a lawsuit. I spoke to a couple of teachers that I know and they say that the school gets threatened with a lawsuit a couple of times a year by parents who think there child is being unfairly punished and 99% do not follow through. Of the 1% who, most get dropped when they find out how long the case will take and how much money it takes to pursue the issue and when the school provides video evidence. (The school can not let parents view the videos without a legal document, due to privacy issues)

    I don’t usually mention my children on the internet but I will make an exception this one time. My children are no angels nor have I ever claimed that they are. My oldest son got into 1 dispute at school because a child used racial slurs against my son and tried to choke him. The principal said the teacher claimed that she did not see the choking incident and could not punish the other child for it, even though my child had red hand marks on his throat. When my son had bruises the next morning, you better believe I called the police, not the campus police but an actual sheriff’s deputy, because my son had been assaulted. The child could no longer claim he hadn’t choked my son and admitted to the deputy he used racial slurs and choked my son because my son would not give him and his girlfriend a cookie from the box my son bought to support the school band. Do you think that qualifies as bullying? The child received 1 week of OSS, was notified that any further incidents would get him sent to the alternative school and his parents apologized to my son. They had no idea that their child would do such a thing.

    When my youngest son was in 8th grade, he was suspended from the school bus for the last 6 weeks of school because he got into a fight with a child who did not like the fact that my son was wearing a camouflage shirt. He told my son that “people like you are fakers and should not wear camo”. My son tried to ignore, warned him several times to leave him alone, but when he boy grabbed his hat and thumped him on the head, my son punched him in the face, broke the other kid’s nose, fractured his own hand and was removed from the bus by campus police. When we went to the school the next day, I asked to see the video from the bus and was told I could not because that would violate the other children’s privacy. I thought that both boys should be suspended from the bus, especially when several students corroborated what had happened but were not believed because they were friendly with my son (they live in the neighborhood & play ball together) but I had to either accept the punishment or go to a tribunal. Since my son admitted what he did, I accepted the punishment and transported him to & from school for the last 6 weeks of the year. Does that make my son a bully?

    I do not think any parent would just accept that their child was bully without asking for evidence, as a matter of fact, all parents *should* ask for evidence. I would fully expect Lizzie’s mom to ask for evidence and protest if it was not clear proof !

    I still think if something was reported or going on, and it was on school property, they school should at least investigate it but since Em’s mom was rebuffed when she did report it, that is what makes me wonder why the school has not even a done cursory review of the situation. I understand that there are things the school cannot do anything about (the texts and phone calls at home) but it seems odd that the school did not at least talk to Em and Lizzie. Sort of head it off before it became something else, IF anything, in fact, had happened. But that’s just my personal opinion and I understand that some people may not agree.

  • Mae November 19, 2013, 2:56 pm

    I would also like to say that I understand the incidents with my children color my POV on this but I accept that they make mistakes and do not always act perfectly. I never referred to Lizzie as a vicious animal that needed to be kept away from other children. Again, my issue is that any school could not take appropriate disciplinary measures when they have evidence of bullying, which the school in the post does not. But I do think that when parents report possible incidents of bullying/inappropriate behavior, the school should take them a bit more seriously instead of brushing them off as playground disputes.

    As far as the “since you’re a proud mama bear on the “My child comes FIRST” wagon”, yes- I am proud of my children, even with the mistakes they have made, and for me, my children do come first. I think that is pretty much a standard trait in most parents.

  • Rap November 19, 2013, 5:56 pm

    ” Does that make my son a bully? ”

    Are you asking me? Or the parents of the kid your son popped in the face? Because I imagine that yes, they might think the kid who hit their kid so hard he broke his hand on their kid’s face was a bully and I can see where they felt justified in complaining. And since your response is that if your child was accused of bad behavior, as a parent you’d demand proof and not simply accept the word of the school, then you’re proving my point.

    And I don’t find that unreasonable, except that you’re not seeing how it ties the hands of the schools when every parent threatens legal action against the school if they don’t feel the school is doing enough… or if they feel their child is being unjustly punished. You clearly feel your son was unjustly punished – how would you feel if the parents of the kid who’s face broke your son’s hand had *called the cops*?

    If you don’t think those initial steps toward pursuing legal action cost money, guess again. And I agree, most parents, as the costs add up, will drop it, but it does cost.

    And at the end of the day, when the OP in this tale goes in with the “I’m pursuing legal action if the school doesn’t do anything” attitude – my objection to everyone cheering that on is the assumption that as described, the school isn’t doing enough in a situation where no child has been physically harmed, the mjaority of the problem seems to be occuring out of school and that pursuing legal action against the school over their lack of doing anything is somehow the best option while actually letting Lizzie’s mom know there’s an issue is far down the list.

    I’ve asked – what rises to the school needing to intervene? As described, Lizzie says mean things to Em – should she get inschool for that? Lizzie only talks to Em when the popular kids aren’t around – how many days of suspension for that? Lizzie may had pulled a chair away from Em when Em went to sit down resulting in no injury – how many days of suspension for that? Keep in mind the school will have to advise Lizzie’s mom why her kid is getting suspended and Lizzie’s mom has the same right to protest. The texting can’t be controlled by the school. This is asking the school to step in to two little girls arguements, with the unstated threat that whichever side they take, the parent of the little girl who gets the short end of the stick will pursue legal action.

  • Rap November 19, 2013, 10:11 pm

    Mae – I trust you understand that if your child comes first, then any other child has to come second? And that the parents of that child you deem not as important as yours JUST MIGHT disagree with your pecking order?

    I’m not trying to pick with a fight with you – I just want you to understand that EVERY parent demands the school put their child first – and thats impossible and expecting the schools to accomplish the impossible when parents don’t allow the schools to dare judge their parenting or disagree with their parenting choices …. of course every parent these days is running to a lawyer the second THEIR CHILD is in any way inconvienced and if you don’t think that tendency is affecting how schools operate, guess again. You’ve completely proven my point – your child comes first – every parent wants the school to put their child first and wants the school to mete out punishment to the lesser “not their” children and will run to pursue legal action if it doesn’t happen.

    If your child comes first, that means someone else’s child has to come LAST.

  • Mae November 20, 2013, 9:52 am

    Rap- I am not saying the school should punish Lizzie. As stated, as I read your comments then reread the post, I see your point that the school can not really do anything about incidents involving Em & Lizzie, because as you stated, we have only one side of the story. What I can not understand is *if* a child is bullying another child and there is proof- injuries, reports, video, etc.- that a school could not punish that child without a parent threatening a lawsuit. If the school showed me evidence that my child was bullying another child, like it or not, I would have to accept that my child was a bully, accept the punishment and try to do whatever was needed to correct or change that behavior. If a parent expects the school to provide a safe learning environment and expects other children to abide by the
    rules and be punished when they do not, then they have to expect their child to also follow the rules and be punished if they do not.

    As far as the incident on the bus goes- the other parents don’t think my child is a bully. As a matter of fact, they know and are proud of the fact that their child *is* a bully and think my son isn’t “tough enough” to take what they though was a little “teasing”. If it had only been words, my son would never have struck the other child, but the moment he put his decided to grab my son’s hat and thump his head, game over. My husband and I taught both our kids that as long as it’s only words, ignore or walk away but when someone else puts their hands on them or get physical, they should defend themselves. Because what my son did was above & beyond defending himself, that is why he was suspended from the bus and we did give him 1 week of restrictions for fighting. His parents did not have to call the cops because the campus police had already removed my son from the bus and they were offered to make a report and they declined. I also offered to pay for their son’s medical bills and they declined. As I said earlier- they were proud of what their son did. I think it was unfair that their child was not also suspended from the bus but I did not do to the school threatening a lawsuit because I know what my child did was wrong.

  • Mae November 20, 2013, 11:03 am

    My child does come first to ME. Other children rank below that to ME. I don’t expect other people to put MY child first. I would expect them to put THEIR child first. As for schools, I think *most* of them try to let children be of equal importance, but we all know that in reality, that is near impossible because school administrators are human. I don’t go to the school and demand my child be the most important student in the school. MY children ALWAYS come FIRST to ME. No one, anywhere, will ever convince me that MY children should NOT come FIRST to ME but, again, I don’t expect other parents or the school to put MY child FIRST, unless it there is a life-threatening emergency involving ONLY MY child. I think as a parent, it is my responsibility to put my child first (except for certain situations), my family next and as callous or selfish as it may sound, other people & their children last.

    For the school to intervene, in Em and Lizzie’s case, would be if a) it became physical or b) Lizzie or Em shows a pattern of singling out the other and trying to cause harm- such as berating the other in the presence of peers or encouraging other children to intimidate, harass, threaten or bully the other. Of course none of this has been proven so it’s just my *personal opinion* as to why the school would need to get involved. Each year when student-parent handbook comes out, the school has several pages of reasons they would step-in and consequences.

    I guess at this point, we will just have to agree to disagree, Rap. I do see your POV and I hope you see mine. I like to hear other people’s POV, even if I don’t always agree with it. I also want to thank you for keeping our correspondence respectful and civil.

  • Molly November 21, 2013, 7:14 am

    OP, have you outright told you daughter “stop being friends with this toxic little monster?” It sounds like she’s still trying to maintain a friendship. I would recommend putting an end to that. It was nice of her to try, but if you haven’t, tell her you were wrong and that she should just ignore the mean texts, and just say “no thank you” to the requests to hang out (acting like she’s politely blowing Lizzie off will likely make her even less interested in messing with Em, because it’s not the response she wants).

    And for goodness’s sake, tell Lizzie’s mom what she’s up to. My parents did this exact same dance many years ago with the mother of a kid who I was friends with, but was kind of manipulative and obnoxious. My parents decided I wasn’t to be friends with her any more (not a huge loss honestly!), but refused to flat out tell the mother what they had decided or why. Let’s just say the whole thing would have been simpler if they’d said “We don’t want Molly to play with N any more because we don’t like her behavior.” Yeah, the situation Lizzie and her mom are in (if it’s true, the cynic in me wonders) is horrid but it’s not your daughter’s fault, so why should she suffer for it? Lizzie and her mom both need a reality check about this behavior.

  • Rap November 23, 2013, 10:03 am

    I do see your POV, Mae and I understand it. I just want people to understand that the school stepping in and refereeing their children is no where near as simple as they think it is. Particularly when all the parents want their child first and will threaten legal action at the drop of a hat no matter how guilty their kid might be.

    That case down in Florida where two girls were arrested for bullying a third into suicide? Guess what? the parents of the arrested girls are *suing* the police. Thats the mentality the schools are dealing with when they decide they aren’t stepping in to a playground dispute.

  • K November 28, 2013, 12:11 am

    Tell the mother;

    As someone who has had experience with an abusive relationship I’m sure you can realize how important it is for me to teach my daughter to respect herself enough to avoid people who repeatedly treat her badly. I understand that your daughter has needs but the fact is she treats my daughter badly and that’s not ok. I need to teach my daughter that no matter how much someone might need you it’s never ok for them to treat you badly and if they do it’s ok for you to stop being around them. Leaving someone who treats you poorly never makes you a bad person. Your daughter is not bad either, though i think she does need help, but my daughter is not obligated to help her and let herself be treated poorly.