This entry is part of a series also being posted at www.managebullying.com. These are my unedited versions – anything in italics I left out of the finished version and am trying not to be too attached to what I turn in and to learn from editor’s alterations.
I am at once both blessed and cursed with a twelve-year-old daughter. It is a hard year. The girls are friends one moment, bitter enemies the next and back to being friends before I am even able to ask what’s at issue. When I do ask I am often met with stony silence and that parents don’t understand anything glare.
I’ve heard so many of the Mom’s with girls in her class repeat the same mantra, “Girls this age are so mean.” Does that make it okay and when and how mean does it have to be before it crosses our subjective “that’s unacceptable” threshold?
I was taught growing up that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. That it’s better to walk away, turn the other cheek. I probably have taken that lesson to a rather excessive extreme. I’m not sure if I’m better for it. Studies are showing now that children need to be taught how to respond in a calm, unemotional, positive manner to negative communication (i.e. bullying).
But first, parents are going to need to rethink what they were taught and educate themselves.