Why my daughter? Why any kid? Why are these kids so mean? Why don’t their parents correct them? Why, Why, Why?
These questions I find running through my head every single night when the house is quiet. My daughter is in 3rd grade. She’s been bullied from time to time but this year at the beginning of the year things on her bus reached a new level. Luckily, she has a wonderful principal who made sure it stopped. I was always confident she would get to the bottom of it and she did whatever was necessary to fix it. However, that doesn’t stop the nagging questions in my brain that prevent me from sleeping. I worry about tomorrow, I worry about today, I worry I’ll give her the wrong advice(since my first instinct is to tell her to punch them in the face). I worry I will say something wrong and she will stop telling me.
One thing everyone should know about my daughter is that she has a heart of gold. While I am worried about her, she is worried about saying something because the bullies will get in trouble & she doesn’t want to do that to them. She thinks “maybe they are just having a bad day… again”
But it is not a bad day. It was a daily occurrence for almost two weeks. A small group of 4th-grade girls dictating who would be part of an exclusive group. If you were part of their group you couldn’t sit past seat #16 on the bus. If you were not part of the group you would be screamed at until you vacated their section. One of my daughter’s closest friends was deemed part of the group which meant she MUST sit in their section or suffer their verbal wrath. So my daughter would sit, alone, in front of her friend. The friend would sit, alone, in her designated seat. They would talk through the crack near the window and play games quietly so the others won’t know. It is wrong, it is horrible, it has affected both girls and it thankfully was stopped, for a while.
When the bullying returned two months later, I informed her to sit up front with a sweet neighborhood girl. Sit closer to the driver, sit away from the bullies. It’s not the way I wanted things to go as I would prefer to teach her to stand up for herself, however, most importantly I wanted her to be happy & feel safe. In 6 months they will be off her bus, on to the middle school & she will hopefully get some relief.
Some parents would question why I still put my daughter on the bus every day. I don’t need to. I could go pick her up, but I don’t because she hasn’t asked me to. If she asks, I will, but until then I will let her continue to stand up to them when she wants & avoid them at other times. She tells me giving up riding with her friends would be letting them win and she will not allow this. I was also blessed to be given a GPS tracker called AngelSense in exchange for an honest review on my blog. This amazing little product sits in her backpack all day. The one feature that it helps in this situation is the fact that if she needs to she can press a button & call me. She hasn’t needed to, but having the option makes her feel more confident.
Some parents ask why I didn’t speak up sooner. Maybe I should have, but I try to understand that my daughter is a sensitive child and respect her request to not get others in trouble for a “bad day.” I waited to see if this was a simple phase that would pass. But it did not. The principal got involved, she fixed the situation. She reaches out to my child to check on her.
Now, this is not new or exclusive to bus-time. Some of these older mean girls have been on her sports teams. I have heard them tell her she isn’t good enough or shouldn’t be on the team. One screamed at her on the field that she wasn’t playing good enough. Their parents have seen this. Their parents do nothing. My daughter may not be the best player on the team. In fact, many days she just might be the worst. But she loves it & most days she tries really hard, and with every passing game she tries harder & pays attention more. She uses their comments as fire to get better and tells me she just zones them out now so she won’t hear their comments.
So, I continue to hug her every day before she leaves. And I wait, holding my breath, as she gets off the bus. And I continue to stand up for her. And I continue to encourage her to stand up for herself.
Why? Because she is amazing. Why? Because she is kind. Why? Because she deserves everything.