How to equip your child to deal with bullying... - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter feels she is facing some mild-ish (to her) bullying at school. We have very open communication her and I and she brought this to my attention yesterday. I really don't know what to do. I asked her what she would like and she didn't know either. At this point, she does not want me to talk to her teachers because she fears that it will get worse, because she will be known as a narc. I have talked to her about not reacting (she can be somewhat emotional and cries easily... which would not do anything to help the teasing in 6th grade), to definitely talk to an adult at school, or myself or my spouse at home, if she feels threatened.

I think that part of the problem she is "different" is because of her views on religion and homosexuality. I think that people, especially peers, are shocked not only by what she believes, but because she will not hesitate to speak up when the topic comes up (and it does far more than I would have imagined) when she is normally pretty shy and soft spoken. I feel somewhat bad because I have modeled to my children to speak up for what they feel is right and I think because of that, she won't ignore those topics and won't just agree to fit in... I dunno tho. In addition, she is not... I don't know how to put it. She is not the social butterfly that many her age are. She is very mature, but she is perfectly happy at home with us. She prefers to hang out with my spouse and I rather than go outside with the other kids. She spends a lot of time with ds2 (who is 6.5) because she likes to hang out with him. She has the beginnings of interest in boys but is not obsessed. She is just a bit different than her peers and I don't think that they know what to make of that...

I am so very glad she talks to me, but I am kinda at a loss on what to tell her on this one...

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#2 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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Just responding quickly, but I wanted to say that 6th grade, and girls in 6th grade, can be really tough. Here 6th grade is midde school, and that's just a world unto itself.

Is she feeling actually bullied, or is it more feeling left out of social groups? It's such a difficult place to be-we want our kids to be strong, and confident in themselves and their feelings. Yet, a lot of what goes on in the emotional lives of kids is about feeling like part of a group, having a place, and fitting in. It's a balancing act.

My dd isn't terribly social in large groups-in fact she's prtty shy. But, having a group of 3-4 good friends ("good friend" is a topic in and of iteslf, lol) makes a world of difference. Does your dd have this? It is one of the ways kids arm themselves against bullying.
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#3 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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She sounds a great deal like my oldest. He's always been very much his own person, with unconventional opinions and thoughts. To boot, not a burly guy, but slender, attractive (in what could be described as a "pretty" way), very in touch with his emotions, etc. There was never any real hard-core bullying, but some milder stuff. He was called gay (and variations thereof), emo, a cutter, etc. I think I've mentioned that he was pretty well pushed out of Scouts (except for one friend and his Father).

But my son, somehow, has always had a very strong sense of self and has never much cared for what others think of him. And I can honestly understand why some consider him odd. Not many young men would: walk around HS with a shirt proclaiming his willingness to give Free Hugs every Wednesday; walk out to the track for gym class, spinning around in circles, arms thrown wide, face to the sun; sit in class, silently weeping over the beauty of a particular turn of phrase (in English), the poignancy of a passage (in music), the perfection of a proof (Calc), etc.? My son did all of the above. And more. LOL He did have a pretty solid (and large!) group of people who loved him for who he was - mostly girls. And eventually, his peers grew to admire him for ignoring everyone else's drummer and marching to his own. Now that he's in college? He has found that he's not all that odd.

None of this may help you much. But it may help you - and your daughter - know that kids can and do cope with being the lone voice in the wilderness. Only to find their choir in time.
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#4 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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This might be unpopular but...

When you say her views on homosexuality are "different"... do you know what she is saying? I ask because many of the "different" views of kids in my high and middle school made these kids bullies themselves. You don't have to beat someone up to be a bully. These kids repeated hatespeech and very, very horrible, hurtful things that their parents or church had told them... and those things ostracized, stigmatized and oppressed the GLBTQ population of students.
Do you know what kinds of things she's saying?? All the difference in the world can be made between, "I feel that xxx is wrong for me" and, "xxx is wrong": one is an opinion, the other is a statement as though it's fact.

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#5 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh no! We live in a fairly.... Conservative... Area (trying to be delicate here) and she is not. She (well we, my family) are absolute supporters of the LGBT community. She is verrrry quick to let people know that she does not think that anyone would be going to hell for being gay. That some of the people she loves most in this world are gay and are amazing people and that there is no way the are going to hell, if hell exists, which then usually leads to the religion discussion because she is not sure there is a hell at all... And when she tells people her thoughts she is good with her phrasing. She makes it clear that SHE doesn't believe the bible is infallible and that SHE doesn't believe that being LGBTQ makes a person evil and that others may believe differently and they are allowed to have their own opinions...

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#6 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Karne, she does have a couple of close friends and she is fine with quality over quantity... She does feel like people, a couple in particular are teasing her and being mean-ish... She would just rather be left alone if they don't like her, instead of being upset that they don't want to be her friend

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#7 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mtiger, that does help me and I will share that story with her. Your son sounds awesome :-)

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#8 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mackenzie View Post
Oh no! We live in a fairly.... Conservative... Area (trying to be delicate here) and she is not. She (well we, my family) are absolute supporters of the LGBT community. She is verrrry quick to let people know that she does not think that anyone would be going to hell for being gay. That some of the people she loves most in this world are amazing people and that there is no way the are going to hell, if hell exists, which then usually leads to the religion discussion because she is not sure there is a hell at all... And when she tells people her thoughts she is good with her phrasing. She makes it clear that SHE doesn't believe the bible is infallible and that SHE doesn't believe that being LGBTQ makes a person evil and that others may believe differently and they are allowed to have their own opinions...
Oh, oh I see! Sorry for misunderstanding. I wasn't entirely sure which 'side' you were speaking from... That's awesome that she's so thoughtful with the way she communicates her opinions. Good on you!

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#9 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No worries I should have been more clear, it's just so much a part of who I am that I didn't consider she would have any different thoughts than she does... Lol

And thanks! I have to say she, and my boys are pretty great... :-)

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#10 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 10:48 PM
 
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Do you know what kind of a culture there is at school, ie is there support for kids who experience bullying? I know at my child's middle school, bullying has been a class discussion for several weeks now.
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#11 of 27 Old 10-28-2010, 11:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by littleteapot View Post
This might be unpopular but...

When you say her views on homosexuality are "different"... do you know what she is saying? I ask because many of the "different" views of kids in my high and middle school made these kids bullies themselves. You don't have to beat someone up to be a bully. These kids repeated hatespeech and very, very horrible, hurtful things that their parents or church had told them... and those things ostracized, stigmatized and oppressed the GLBTQ population of students.
Do you know what kinds of things she's saying?? All the difference in the world can be made between, "I feel that xxx is wrong for me" and, "xxx is wrong": one is an opinion, the other is a statement as though it's fact.
Bullying on these issues happens on both sides, in fact in this society it's the kids with the conservative views that are much more likely to be singled out and bullied than the other way around now days. Heck, you used the term hate speech yourself to describe people that don't agree with your views.
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#12 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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Bullying on these issues happens on both sides, in fact in this society it's the kids with the conservative views that are much more likely to be singled out and bullied than the other way around now days. Heck, you used the term hate speech yourself to describe people that don't agree with your views.
Uh... no. Just no. In the biggest way - no. To everything you said. I'm not going to try and clarify for you why I was talking about hatespeech and not "people who disagree" because I don't really think you're interested in the answer.

But I do need to say this: that is an incredibly heterosexist thing you just said. Do you actually believe that white, Christian kids are the victims of more oppression and bullying than GLBTQ kids? Gay kids are dying. Sorry girl, but you have a lot to learn... and what you just said was very offensive, and very ignorant. I hope one day you can see why.
After seeing this thread turn this way, I'm going to unsub before I witness something even more ignorant come out of someone's mouth. Peace.

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#13 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 12:54 AM
 
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in fact in this society it's the kids with the conservative views that are much more likely to be singled out and bullied than the other way around now days.
Really? I find that very hard to believe, from what I've observed.
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#14 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
Bullying on these issues happens on both sides, in fact in this society it's the kids with the conservative views that are much more likely to be singled out and bullied than the other way around now days. Heck, you used the term hate speech yourself to describe people that don't agree with your views.
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Uh... no. Just no. In the biggest way - no. To everything you said. I'm not going to try and clarify for you why I was talking about hatespeech and not "people who disagree" because I don't really think you're interested in the answer.

But I do need to say this: that is an incredibly heterosexist thing you just said. Do you actually believe that white, Christian kids are the victims of more oppression and bullying than GLBTQ kids? Gay kids are dying. Sorry girl, but you have a lot to learn... and what you just said was very offensive, and very ignorant. I hope one day you can see why.
After seeing this thread turn this way, I'm going to unsub before I witness something even more ignorant come out of someone's mouth. Peace.
I absolutely agree with Littleteapot here. Just. No. No way, no how. I am pretty sure I have not read of any kids committing suicide because they could no longer take the taunting and bullying from others due to their straightness or perceived straightness.

And I assure you, if there is some far off land where gay is the norm (which is worlds different than being accepted, btw), it is not here. We live in Kentucky. It is sooo not here.

And as it pertains to my daughter, Laly is NOT a bully. As sure as I am that straight kids are not targets of abuse, I am sure of that. She is very much a live and let live kinda girl. More so than I even, as she will call me out on it. My feelings on such issues fall more on the extreme end wondering why people do or believe certain things (drive beastly SUVs, not tolerant of those that identify as LGBTQ, politics, eat craptastic food) and she will speak up to me and remind me that while I may not agree, people are entitled to their own beliefs and as long as they are not harming anyone, then I should respect that... (yeah, its a pain sometimes when your own teachings get spit back at you like that... ) She really does not want to see anyone being mean to anyone else (with her brothers being an occasional exception ). I think it is that unwillingness to disparage others that contributes to her being a target sometimes...

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#15 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 01:04 PM
 
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It's not just kids that are bullied, it's adults too. I lived in CA for 30 years, I can tell you that anyone that has a traditional view of marriage or is religiously conservative is singled out. Church adoption programs have had to close because they are not allowed to adminster their programs consistant with their religious views, people were fired and picketed for supporting traditional marriage in CA, freedom of speech limited because believing in traditional marriage is hate speech to some people.

Yes, the bullying happens on both sides.
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#16 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Uh... no. Just no. In the biggest way - no. To everything you said. I'm not going to try and clarify for you why I was talking about hatespeech and not "people who disagree" because I don't really think you're interested in the answer.

But I do need to say this: that is an incredibly heterosexist thing you just said. Do you actually believe that white, Christian kids are the victims of more oppression and bullying than GLBTQ kids? Gay kids are dying. Sorry girl, but you have a lot to learn... and what you just said was very offensive, and very ignorant. I hope one day you can see why.
After seeing this thread turn this way, I'm going to unsub before I witness something even more ignorant come out of someone's mouth. Peace.
It's not a contest, I never said MORE. I just said it happens on both sides, and it does IME. Really, your comments aren't insulting to me the way you probably mean them to be. I used to think like you too and when I did I thought it gave me the right "educate" and if that didn't work to force people to at least shut up about what they think. But that has changed and I won't go into why here. But suffice it to say that I'm NOT nearly as ignorant of where you are coming from as you think. I just no longer agree with you.
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#17 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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wow. I just saw this in new threads. As a lesbian mama myself, I can't believe you are actually posting this here, Arduinna.
And I will repeat what was said by Mackenzie, mtiger, and littleteapot: I don't think any conservative teens have killed themselves because they felt their views were against the mainstream.
And I say this as someone who, before I came out at age 23, was involved in evangelical Christianity as a teen. Someone who in fact lead an evangelical group in high school. I never felt targeted, bullied or ostracized for my Christian beliefs...different yes, bullied no. Coming out as a lesbian I faced discrimination, hatred, threats to my personal safety, threats to the existence of my family, challenge to my right to be a mother.
As a Christian, I faced people who maybe thought I was a bit uncool.
Not really equivalent.

ETA: Your daughter sounds amazing, Mackenzie! You must be so proud of her
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#18 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know how any of this became applicable to my daughter, but since it is still important and these are conversations she has, I can roll with it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
It's not just kids that are bullied, it's adults too. I lived in CA for 30 years, I can tell you that anyone that has a traditional view of marriage or is religiously conservative is singled out.
I wouldn't say singling adults out is bullying. And I will say that kids, at least those who my daughter discusses these issues with are very poor in communicating their views in a respectful manner. It is not a "I believe {this} but you may believe differently and that is okay "AT ALL! It is flat out telling my child, with absolute certainty, that people she loves are evil and going to hell. Oh and she is going "to hell too because the bible says being gay is wrong and if [she] doesnt believe that then [she] doesn't believe in the bible and that is evil"

That is bullying... saying ya know, I don't think I want to hang out because we don't have a lot in common is not.

Quote:
Church adoption programs have had to close because they are not allowed to adminster their programs consistant with their religious views, people were fired and picketed for supporting traditional marriage in CA
,

Some would say that is affecting change. People picket and protest, which is also a part of the first amendment, though apparently we can over look that one though I am sure the civil rights movement would not thank you if you did...

Quote:
freedom of speech limited because believing in traditional marriage is hate speech to some people.

Yes, the bullying happens on both sides.
It is VERY frequently just that. It is quite rare that a person can defend their position of traditional marraige without hate speech. Incase we need clarity on what hatespeech is:

Quote:
Hate speech is, outside the law, any communication which disparages a person or a group on the basis of some characteristic such as race or sexual orientation.In law, hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.
Straight people DO NOT (though I will give you the rare, incredibly extreme exception ) get disparaged for being straight. Gays are a protected group who are on the receiving end of prejudice, violence or threats of violence FOR BEING GAY. And defenders of traditional marriage are guilty of that by the prejudicial action of denying them the ability to marry. I know being guilty of hatespeech is a tough pill to swallow but those are the facts ma'am...

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#19 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 02:31 PM
 
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Yeah, sorry I ended up taking the thread off topic of your daughter. I forgot to post that before. That wasn't my intention.
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#20 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow. I just saw this in new threads. As a lesbian mama myself, I can't believe you are actually posting this here, Arduinna.
And I will repeat what was said by Mackenzie, mtiger, and littleteapot: I don't think any conservative teens have killed themselves because they felt their views were against the mainstream.
And I say this as someone who, before I came out at age 23, was involved in evangelical Christianity as a teen. Someone who in fact lead an evangelical group in high school. I never felt targeted, bullied or ostracized for my Christian beliefs...different yes, bullied no. Coming out as a lesbian I faced discrimination, hatred, threats to my personal safety, threats to the existence of my family, challenge to my right to be a mother.
As a Christian, I faced people who maybe thought I was a bit uncool.
Not really equivalent.

ETA: Your daughter sounds amazing, Mackenzie! You must be so proud of her
Yup, she is. She is otherwise pretty darn shy and quiet, until she needs to speak up... the adage "speak up, even when your voice shakes" is totally her. I do so loves her...

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#21 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, sorry I ended up taking the thread off topic of your daughter. I forgot to post that before. That wasn't my intention.
No worries. It happens. And as I said, its important and it helps me help her through these discussions because they are a fairly frequent occurrence....

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#22 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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oh, as for the rest. As I already posted, I used to be in your camp, nothing posted here is anything new. I've BTDT and used to say it all myself to people who think as I do now. I just no longer agree.
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#23 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 02:57 PM
 
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Have her practice a withering gaze and the long-suffering sigh reserved for people who just DO. NOT. GET. IT.

Seriously, it sounds like the level of aggression that is being directed at her right now is best ignored or dismissed with as flat an affect as possible. If she is already secure enough in her own values and personhood that she does not take what these kids are saying to heart, she can just say, "Yeah, you're right. Maybe I am going to Hell. I'd better make sure I pack my bikini." It's not like she will change their world views by arguing about their points of faith with them, and if she doesn't believe in hell, who cares if they think she's riding in the handbasket already? If she's a non-responsive target, they will likely get bored with the lack of reaction and move on. If they escalate and she feels threatened, I would absolutely want her to go to the administration and to you.

I work at a university, and there is an anti-harrassment policy in place here. I don't understand why there are not similar codes of conduct in place at K-12 schools. I think maybe a simplified code would be well-placed at the entrance to every school, and all students and their parents should have to read and sign one at the start of every school year. It states (bold itals mine) (and sorry that it made for such a long post, but I think it is worth reading in detail):

The University of Iowa is committed to maintaining an environment that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and that fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect. This commitment requires that the highest value be placed on the use of reason and that harassment in the University community be renounced as repugnant and inimical to its goals. Harassment destroys the mutual trust which binds members of the community in their pursuit of truth.

The University also is committed strongly to academic freedom and free speech. An educational institution has a duty to provide a forum in which free speech and differences of opinion are actively encouraged and facilitated, and where opinions and deeply held beliefs are challenged and debated. Critical to this mission is providing a nondiscriminatory environment that is conducive to learning. Respect for these rights requires that members of the University community tolerate expressions of opinion that differ from their own or that they may find abhorrent.
Harassment of any member of the University community is prohibited.

a. Definition of harassment as it relates to conduct. "Harassment" means intentional conduct directed toward an identifiable person or persons that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it interferes with work, educational performance, on-campus living, or participation in a University activity on- or off-campus.

b. Definition of harassment as it relates to the content of speech. When an allegation of harassment rests upon the content of oral, written, or symbolic speech, it falls within this definition only if 1) the content consists of those personally abusive epithets which are inherently likely to provoke a violent reaction, 2) the content is a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals, or 3) the content is a threat to a person or group of persons with the intent of placing the victim in fear of bodily harm or death. Conduct that constitutes a protected exercise of an individual's rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (and related principles of academic freedom) shall not be deemed a violation of this policy.

Note: Sexual harassment is addressed by the University's Policy on Sexual Harassment (II-4).

c. Evidence of harassment. Behavior that may be considered evidence of prohibited harassment, if it meets the definition set forth in paragraph a above, includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) repeated contact with another in person, by telephone, in writing, or through electronic means, after the recipient has made clear that such contact is unwelcome.

(2) physical, visual, or verbal behavior directed toward another person or an identifiable group of persons that is intended to be or is reasonably likely to be interpreted as threatening or intimidating. Behavior that constitutes speech is included within this section only to the extent to which it has a direct tendency to incite an immediate violent reaction in a reasonable person or to place a reasonable person in fear of imminent physical harm.

(3) harassment proscribed by the Iowa Criminal Code, Chapter 708, including, for example, stalking (708.11), the placement of simulated explosives (708.7), ordering merchandise or services with intent to annoy (708.7), or false reports to police (708.7).

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#24 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for that. Sean (my spouse) says that KY passed *something* in recent years regarding bullying but I don't think it is as well lined out as that. We are trying to track it down...


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Seriously, it sounds like the level of aggression that is being directed at her right now is best ignored or dismissed with as flat an affect as possible. If she is already secure enough in her own values and personhood that she does not take what these kids are saying to heart, she can just say, "Yeah, you're right. Maybe I am going to Hell. I'd better make sure I pack my bikini." It's not like she will change their world views by arguing about their points of faith with them, and if she doesn't believe in hell, who cares if they think she's riding in the handbasket already? If she's a non-responsive target, they will likely get bored with the lack of reaction and move on. If they escalate and she feels threatened, I would absolutely want her to go to the administration and to you.
It is not so much just these discussions. She is pretty fine with THOSE. It is what she is experiencing outside of them, like taunting and remarks to other kids (they had to sit in pairs for something and another girl told the boy that was with Laly that she feels sorry for him and whatnot). Laly thinks that the feelings she has expressed on other issues are a contributing factor to why she is treated this way, if that makes sense...

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#25 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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I asked my son what he said when he was confronted with this sort of thing. He told me he said "I understand that we don't agree. And that's okay. I respect your point of view. I hope you can respect mine." And then walked away. He says he started that in MS, 'cause that's when the comments started.
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#26 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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Have you checked out the book Queen Bees and Wannabees? My daughter (11) and I read this book and the book Odd Girl Out recently when she was having trouble with a group of girls in a class (she is homeschooled). She wasn't necessarily the main target, but there was a lot meanness that my daughter didn't know how to address. I think it helped her identify what was happening. I think the way she has dealt with it has been to grow a thicker skin and keep an attitude of "I don't care what they think of me". Also she was empowered by standing up and speaking up for others. Unfortunately bullying between girls seems really subtle and easy for adults like teachers to miss.
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#27 of 27 Old 10-29-2010, 06:38 PM
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She sounds a great deal like my oldest. He's always been very much his own person, with unconventional opinions and thoughts. To boot, not a burly guy, but slender, attractive (in what could be described as a "pretty" way), very in touch with his emotions, etc. There was never any real hard-core bullying, but some milder stuff. He was called gay (and variations thereof), emo, a cutter, etc. I think I've mentioned that he was pretty well pushed out of Scouts (except for one friend and his Father).

But my son, somehow, has always had a very strong sense of self and has never much cared for what others think of him. And I can honestly understand why some consider him odd. Not many young men would: walk around HS with a shirt proclaiming his willingness to give Free Hugs every Wednesday; walk out to the track for gym class, spinning around in circles, arms thrown wide, face to the sun; sit in class, silently weeping over the beauty of a particular turn of phrase (in English), the poignancy of a passage (in music), the perfection of a proof (Calc), etc.? My son did all of the above. And more. LOL He did have a pretty solid (and large!) group of people who loved him for who he was - mostly girls. And eventually, his peers grew to admire him for ignoring everyone else's drummer and marching to his own. Now that he's in college? He has found that he's not all that odd.

None of this may help you much. But it may help you - and your daughter - know that kids can and do cope with being the lone voice in the wilderness. Only to find their choir in time.
I love how you describe your son, and am so glad that his personality wasn't squashed through that turmoil of adolescence. Yes, he will definitely find his tribe in college and beyond. I bet he'll be very successful professionally, too.
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