Mean Girls: The Prequel
September 17, 2009 8:46 AM Subscribe
Two weeks into the school year, and my almost-tween daughter is being antagonized by another girl in her class. I want to help her deal with it.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (57 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
(Apologies for length.)
The two of them rode the same bus for a year in primary school. There were some basic personality conflicts. Other Girl is fairly rowdy, My Girl is irritated by chaos.
Now, they're in all the same classes and the bus in intermediate school. And Other Girl has decided to turn things up a notch.
Other Girl deliberately sits next to My Girl's best friend on the bus -- once you sit, you can't change seats -- and then spends the entire ride rubbing it in MG's face (e.g., "I'm sitting next to your best friend Soandso and YOU CAN'T!"). Soandso is equally annoyed by this, by the way -- so it's not like they are competing for her. OG is really just doing it to upset MG.
OG also calls out to MG nastily from her lunch table, usually reiterating her smooth seating move from the bus. There was also a time when they were in a small group project and OG announced (out of the teacher's earshot, naturally) "Since MG is the smartest person in the group, SHE should do all the work so we all get it right and don't have to do it again." Infuse that sentence with the nastiest tone you can imagine. The only thing MG had the time to do before the teacher came over was say "We're all supposed to do the work, OG."
MG is bothered by all of this, even though she has friends and this doesn't really affect her relationships with them, other than Soandso being annoyed by it. MG mentions it to me daily, with little prompting. I remember what being bullied is like. I want to help her with this, and I realize that climbing on the bus myself and punching this kid is not an option.
So far: I've told MG to reply to OG's crap with relative nonchalance, i.e., act as if she hears the words but not the tone and be at least civil, if not friendly. Yet, everything I've been reading on the sly suggests direct confrontation is the better route. This came up briefly as an idea, but MG pointed out that OG will deny any accusation and then she's back at square one.
MG doesn't want me to contact her teacher about this. But if this escalates much more (and it has been escalating), I'm going to revisit that option with her. I won't do it without her knowledge and consent. The district appears to be responsive to issues like this, but I don't have any firsthand information yet.
I've looked at other AskMes under various permutations of "bully," but most of them involve physical altercations. This may never get to that point because this stuff always happens within 25 feet of an adult. Also, I'm not kidding myself into thinking she won't have to deal with some version of this again -- and why not try to get the right coping skills in place now?
(For the tl;dr crowd: These kids are nine and ten.)
Thanks for any advice or suggested reading.