Author: Julie H., Foster Mom
Middle schoolers are Mean. Our little Miss D is experiencing cyber and in-person bullying. I’m not sure if it’s a girl thing or not. As a mom who has only raised boys so far, I’m amazed at the caliber of meanness in girls. I actually had to call my sister-in-law to vent, and she reminded me that I do know how to raise a girl and navigate all this. She reminded me that I coached middle and high school cheerleaders and dancers for the last 20 years. Then it all came flooding back into my brain. What worked with cheerleaders works with daughters. Let me tell you, it involves A LOT of talking, discussing, venting, circle time, moderating, intervening, listening, advising, giving examples, etc, etc, etc.
Let’s get back to the “Middle Schoolers are Mean” comment I said earlier in this blog. I am horrified at the extent to which middle schoolers bully kids on Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. This isn’t to say ALL middle schoolers are mean. Not at all! Most are amazing individuals who are finding their way through adolescence. As a teacher, it’s actually one of my favorite ages to work with. However, the recent screenshots I have of middle school girls name-calling, slut-shaming, threatening, and swearing are something I will not forget any time soon. The school is intervening, as are the police, but Miss D has a lot to process already in her life, to now add being bullied by local teens? It just doesn’t seem fair. Not. Fair.
My husband, Jason, goes from extreme anger over all of this, to then just feeling incredibly sad that Miss D is sobbing in her room over these comments from kids that she doesn’t even really know. And that’s the thing: they don’t know her. They don’t know the things she’s been through. If they did, I would hope they wouldn’t treat other people like that. Do their parents even know? I would hope parents wouldn’t let their kids treat others like that knowingly.
So what was my husband’s instinct last night after seeing Miss D sobbing in her room? Run to the store and get her some fun colored eyeliners. He’s a fixer. Gotta love him for that. I asked him “So, your solution to Cyberbullying is colorful eyeliner?” And he said, “I guess so!”. This morning when I drove Miss D to school after a really rough weekend of cyberbullying, I looked over, and there on her eyelids, was a fuchsia colored eyelid! Thank you, Jason! Did it fix being bullied? No, but I think it did make her a little bit less sad.