Annie’s Mailbox: Daughter being bullied
Dear Annie: Last year, my 16-year-old daughter had a bout of depression and anxiety and didn’t handle herself well.
As a result, she has been shunned by the friends she’s had since 7th grade.
“Lauren” has tried to make amends by apologizing, but these girls want nothing to do with her.
Through therapy, Lauren realizes she is reaping what she has sown, but several of the girls are just plain mean.
With my encouragement, Lauren asked for mediation to try to get one of the girls to back down from the nasty comments.
Unfortunately, the rest of the girls thought Lauren chose to bring one of them down, so now it’s payback time.
The bullying is exhausting for Lauren to endure, and she no longer wants to go to school.
I spoke with the principal, a social worker and the teacher whose class is the worst. They all agree it is a difficult problem because it’s quite likely that if the girls are admonished, the bullying will increase.
And they are probably right.
Lauren is a beautiful, smart girl. What am I supposed to do? We are told to speak up if a child is being bullied, but what about the backlash?
The school feels its hands are tied. Lauren is back in therapy so she can learn how to cope with these mean girls. Any thoughts?
— Frustrated Mom
Dear Mom: Even if Lauren deserved her classmates’ scorn, she does not deserve to be bullied.
The school is abdicating its responsibility by shrugging its shoulders and doing nothing.
Encourage Lauren to find other friends who will value the person she is now, and look into extracurricular activities that will allow her to meet kids outside of school.
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services has an anti-bullying website (stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov) that offers suggestions. If your daughter continues to struggle and the school refuses to help, it might be time to switch schools so she can start fresh.
Your daughter’s well-being comes first.
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