Monday, February 06, 2006

Mean Girls

During our party last night (which went well, thank you), one of our friends mentioned that next year her son would be attending a different school. He currently attends a private middle school. The kids at this school had evidently been together in school since kindergarten, and her son was finding it hard to be socially accepted. He felt left out.

I found this amazing because he is smart without being weird, was dressed like kids these days dress, and fit right in with the other kids here last night, boys and girls. Though seeing each other infrequently, they seemed to have a great time.

His mom explained that at this school, there were four girls that ruled the class. They were the social cruise directors and said if you were in or out. They decided if you were cool or not. I asked why that was allowed. Evidently, the school "tries" to contol it, but cannot.

I had a sudden urge to pull some hair, just snatch these girls over for a "sit down". I envision a whole new career - "Bootcamp for Mean Barbies". I hear about these social queens all the time. I wonder that they can't be rounded up and taught by older, wiser, strong women what their actions and words are doing to others. I'd like to see them sent to work in the inner city with the underprivledged, maybe have to muck stalls with my girls on a farm, maybe send THEM to a new school and let them feel what it's like to be the new person.

I find it amazing that this sort of thing still goes on, but yet, all the education reform that we hear about concerns curricula and passing tests and content. Yet, when kids get out of school, what causes society the most problems? The ability to interact compassionately and maturely with other humans. The ability to form good relationships. Oh, how I'd like to talk to these Mean Girls.


pita-woman said...

Well, I can totally sympathize with her son... believe it or not, I was the one that was picked on mercilessly, either because of my maiden name, my hair, my height, you name it.
I know at one point I wished desparately to go to a different school, but that wasn't an option.
But perhaps, because I had to suck-it-up and stick-it-out, it made me a better person today.
I know his mother wants to protect her son, but maybe by allowing him to "run away" from the situation, she's doing him more harm than good.

feistymomma said...

As parents we all have the maternal instinct to protect our children. No one would sit by and watch as their children are tormented by mean spirited kids. If this mother feels she is doing what is best for her son then more power to her. She obviously knows her son best and has his mental & emotional stability in mind. If he can be relocated to another school and leave the taunting behind, he can then focus on what's most important, his schoolwork.

Anonymous said...

I was the one that was picked on in middle school (and high school) too. I wanted to go to a different school, but we didn't have that option either. My mom kept saying it would get better in college. And it did, but six years is a VERY long time to live through that pain before it gets better. I had to "suck-it-up and stick-it-out", but it left me with major emotional scars that have affected who I am today. I am still slow to make friends, find it difficult to trust, difficult to share. I have healed a lot over the last 3 decades, but I still wish I had had the opportunity to get a fresh start somewhere else.

Obviously, we don't jerk our kids out of school at the slightest hint of a social problem. But if after several months, or even a year, things aren't getting better, it's time to remove the child from the situation.

sewingmomteaches4kids said...

I can "feel" for any child who is made fun of, left out, or otherwise picked on. As a child, I never fit into any "classic" stereotypes. I was too short, had freckles, red hair, too smart, not athletic, too artsy, etc. I feel this is what made me a "shy" person. This really did not change for me until I went to college, and "felt I could start over." I became a teacher, and took up for the "underdogs." I still have a tendency to "guage" situations before I take part in them. This is also one reason that I home school now; I can give my kids the tools they need for situations like this - without having to worry about being made fun of.

expatmom said...

Life is short. Why would anyone put up with a bad situation when the means was available for changing things? I feel respect for this mom, and for anyone who is working to improve their lives within their means. I feel that if more people did this, we'd have more happy people, and more happy people would result in happier world. After all, true happiness is contagious.

pita-woman said...

At bunco last night, I told a friend of mine that is a youth-counselor that works with "troubled" kids, about this situation and she said, that even though it's our instinct to protect our child at all costs, the boy's parent, by allowing him to change schools just because he "doesn't fit in", is only teaching him to run-away from his problems instead of learning to deal with life and thereby reinforcing in him that it's okay to run and hide from our problems.

Counselor's Wife said...

The counselor I'm married to pulled his (our) daughter out of the middle school she was in when she went from a happy, confident child to an unhappy, sullen child with low self esteem. A year later, our daughter is smiling again, and has made new friends. I'm glad I took the advice of my counselor.

If you worked at a company where there was an absolute jerk in your department who picked on you and made your life totally miserable, but who was on management's favorite list, how long would it take you to start looking for another job? Six months? Less?

If your child came home from school every day with a bloody nose and black eye, something would be done about it. But what about a bloodied and bruised heart?

If you do choose to make your child tough it out, what tools are you providing him to help him get along? A child won't be a better person for having lived through a difficult situation unless there is active teaching involved - discussing better ways to work things out, etc. The child doesn't grow when left to his own devices... only the problem grows.

Anonymous said...

Thinking back to Columbine, I wonder if the boys who killed those children and then took their own lives would have been less likely to do the same thing had they changed schools? Apparently, they had been bullied and picked on before their plan materialized into action. Or what about all the suicides that have occurred due to being made fun of or left out? You shouldn't take chances with a child's mental health, in my opinion. By "sticking it out" what has been accomplished? The children all realize that it is okay to hurt others? Not sure who benefits from that approach. Girls are mean these days, no doubt about that.


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