08 March 2011

advice needed...

let me ask you something...

say there's a rather rude group of twelve year old girls with zero social skills and bullying tendencies who chew with their mouths open and have tremendously gross parents with matching amounts of social skills. and say they are wearing the heck out of one of my girls.




would you talk to the parents or let your babe work it out herself?

one of my friends called one set of parents clueless, and my thought was that i am more than willing to give them a few.

it's maddening. these weirdo parents are oddly hella involved in the parts of their kids lives that don't really matter, and insanely oblivious to the parts that do...i honestly feel a little lost.

it's hard to navigate around crazy.




so i'm worrying. you know me. but then lill came home from school and she'd worn the most gorgeous j.crew tee with the lightest, most delicate sprinkling of shiny chips around the collar and halfway down the shirt. it's gorge and simple.

but one girl had to say, in front of everyone, "gross! who designed your shirt and put all the sparkles around your boobs?"

and my sweet, innocent, unable-to-protect herself lillie answered, "your dad. the skeeve."

oy. i may just have lill give the parents a clue.

will you tell me what you'd do? i need some advice. but only if you have a second. xoxo. OH! AND! she wore three twisted little buns just like i showed her on joanna's site...and these girls were all what is wrong with your hair?! and she said IT'S ON A CUP OF JO! apparently, twelve is not joanna's demographic. soon enough, girls. soon enough. sixth grade would be a better place, yes? tattoos from here and here.

45 comments:

Kelly said...

i am available for bodyguard duty and quite good at telling off twelve year old girls. and their parents.

raleigh-elizabeth {bunnyvictorious!} said...

i have a lot to say on this. when we were in cleveland, i was the victim of a lot of bullying by equally horrid girls - being the new kid is never easy, and it seems that once you've been new, the old girls never forget you're the new girl, even six years later. and to say that this era of life scarred me doesn't begin to do it justice. i'm not sure there's anything you can do, though, except give her the tools to be able to deal with it. teenage years are the worst years of your life, in that there are SO MANY mistakes you can make that will have a negative impact on your life and there's so little you can really do to have a visibly positive impact right away. but learning how to let this stuff roll of you is something we all need to learn, and practice, for ever and ever. i work with a woman who brings me to tears on a regular basis, same bullying, but it's only because she's insecure and unhappy. while we can all look at these clueless girls and know, as adults, that they're just jealous of your darling babies (and i know that darling shirt you're talking about it... it really is fab) and their darling shirts, it doesn't make the hurt go away any more. just make sure she has lots of other girls her age aorund her (even seperate of schoool friends, totally different friends) who aren't cruel. but the thing is, the girls who were cruel like that in middle school never really seem to get over it. except, this one girl who WAS really mean to me in school? she started following my blawg. and she sent me an email saying she was really sorry for all those times. i don't think she knew how mean she was being. nice girls, i think, feel the sting of meanness even more, because once you make hte effort to be nice, you're making it because you feel the difference. and how big that difference can be. and how much that cruelty can hurt.

just make sure she knows there are a lot of us out there who put up with this... and the great revenge will always be being the hot 20 year old who is nice, lovely, and with REAL friends, even if that's really long away in the future.

karey m. said...

you two. my faves. xoxo.

Barchbo said...

My professional opinion (as a former middle school teacher: 12 sucks. For everyone. It's why I picked middle school. Poor ducklings.

Let her handle it. It's SO HARD to do so, but it isn't worth talking to the parents. It often makes these worse because sharky girls can smell blood in the water. I would suggest talking to her teacher(s) if you know she has one that gets it and can keep her eyes open. Sadly, some don't get it.

It's hard to be the coolest girl in class.

karey m. said...

BETSY! totally value your opinion. TOTALLY. and i feel much better now. xo

Caroline said...

ditto what bunny said. i too remember people being awful in those years. letting it roll off is key!

i think your darling already has confidence for replying with what she did. and you know? she has her sisters. . . that in itself is a gift. at least once a day, i'm thankful that my lil sis is always the first one to stand up for me - and she's a pistol, that one.

amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay said...

stay close- but give her space too. Teacher chat? lips zipped- pinky promise that teacher will just watch for a bit. you want her to be able to fight her battles- but OMG. i have NO ADVICE> this is too hard. Why? What? I might start to cry. i love you. It will all work out. Right? Right? xoxo

Asher Seveland said...

karey,
i've only commented a few times, but i love those girlies of yours. i even tell my husband stories about your girlies. :) i was a new kid that did NOT fit in. it was a city to small rural town move and it was brutal. i did not stay the object of bullying though. some of the nastiness i endured shaped my positively. i'm super inclusive b/c of it. if you're not a part of the conversation, i'm the one who will drag you in. i think you need to encourage your girlies to just keep on being themselves. lillie's response was perfect. these girls will move on soon enough. i would want to talk to the parents. honestly, i would have the urge to make these girls and their parents' lives as difficult as possible. but i wouldn't. the world is full of assholes. no time like the present to learn how to deal with them. that being said, i'm sorry you're sweetsies have to deal with this. :(
ps: i was floored by grae's essay! amazeballs. so good.

karey m. said...

caroline. yes, she had grae and esme, who will fight to the death, yes?! ugh.

amy. you do have advice...and just by leaving your little bit of panic, i'm breathing easier. xoxo.

asher. it BREAKS MY HEART that you tell stories about my girlies! I LOVE THAT! it's one of the nicest compliments i've ever gotten. thank you.

thanks, guys. i am breathing easier now. you are helping. xoxo

Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

karey, my heart hurts for your lillie. as the victim of bullying myself, i will tell you that sometimes, it's best for you to let her handle it. things can get infinitely more complicated if you step in. my mother tried and as a result of everything, i went into high school without a single friend. but had i stuck up for myself and found my voice then the way i did in later years, i think it would have been easier. lillie is strong. she won't let herself be a victim.

Ashley said...

6th grade is such a hard time. let her work it out on her own- she can obviously stand up for herself (I like it, I'll take a page from her book...). Also, I wore my hair in the 3 twists, and everyone liked it. Clearly, these 12 year olds are not up and coming fashionistas..

Mallory said...

LOVE that last thing Raleigh-Elizabeth-Bunny-Victorious! (what do I call her? Raleigh? Bunny? Wise?) said. She's exactly right about success and happiness being the best revenge. Kill 'em with kindness Lill! Let the onlookers know that you're the classy one and those mean girls are just misguided.

Kelly and Kelly said...

oh my goodness, I have no idea. I am so dreading that age as I remember it being more than difficult. good luck.

Idle Wife said...

As someone who was in the same types of situations all throughout school, I'll tell you what my mom did. She asked me. Do you want me to come and talk to the teachers and the parents or do you want to deal with it yourself? I always said I'd rather deal with it myself. Having a parent come through on your behalf would have created more backlash later. And worse, it would be reduced to "you don't exist to us" which is just as stressful as being outright teased. Looking back, I think it built character and helped me learn how to deal with people like that, and I still think that school's not really for learning about stuff in books, it's for learning how to interact with all sorts of people. The bullies, the nerds, the jocks, the bitchy girls. They're all still out there in the adult world. Best to learn how to work around them at a young age.

A. Houghton said...

This is something I have wondered about my whole life from my own experiences and now, thinking about the future for my own daughter. Why are girls so freaking mean? I do think it comes down to jealousy and self worth, which is clearly something inherited.

I agree...talk to the teacher.

Argh! It makes me crazy.

Robin said...

Oh god, it makes me sick to my stomach to think of your sweet baby dealing with nastyness like this. I am so, so sorry.
My dad gave us a motto of sorts when we started school: be nice to everyone but don't take crap from anyone. I have to say, it always served me well. Sometimes it is good to kill with kindness, sometimes better to ignore - but don't let them get you down. Plus, you have already armed your girlies three with the best possible skill: self confidence. That, my friend is what will make the hard things in life easier, having such a wonderful family who totally celebrates her!
xxoo

blu said...

its good that she is sharing all of this with you. i have a friend who went through years of this bullying crap and her mother never knew and it ate her up alive to keep all of that in. what a good bond you have with your girls and i know your lill will get through this with you by her side.

karey m. said...

you guys are all so nice to me.

you've no idea how much that means to me, do you? xoxo.

also? this parenting gig is for the birds. like, woodpeckers. ugh.

kate said...

Bullies are the worst!! Those little low self-esteem brats are the ones that will have gained 75 lbs and be too embarrassed and miserable to go to their 10 year reunion. Looks like you've taught Lillie well and as long as she keeps coming back with those sharp and quick-witted comments those horrid little nuisances are sure to stop their ignorant remarks. Maybe if it gets any worse you could speak to the teacher first and leave it to her to bring it up in a parent/teacher meeting?

JAMIE said...

sending LOVE to lillie and you. those girls sound horrible and i would be ashamed if my future children ever treated someone else like that. i think there parents deserve a phone call making them aware of how awful there children are making others feel. but what do i know...
hugs love hugs.

elisabeth said...

Your story was like a time machine back to middle school--what an absolutely horrific place. I hate to say it because I'd like to give those parents a call myself, but I'm not sure calling them will do anything. Rotten mean girls tend to have the most rotten mean parents. There was this New York Times article a few months ago that talked about preschool or kindergarten mean girls (!) and I remember just being horrified at how in most cases the parents seemed to almost create and perpetuate it. It actually makes me sick to my stomach.

One of my biggest hopes for my little girl is that somehow she just rises above all of that--that she is kind, sweet, and thoughtful to everyone and that she is able to brush off the nastiness because she knows those kids are sad and pathetic. I guess I'd like my little girl to turn out the way yours are. Your Lillie is so very lucky to have a family that obviously loves her to pieces and sisters (thank goodness for sisters). It doesn't hurt that she seems quick with a comeback either. Her little pinkie could outshine all those girls put together.

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

why do girls have to be so cruel? i'll never understand it, ever.

your three are so incredibly special, and the love and confidence-building goodness showered upon them by you and uncle sugar is what will prevail in this situation (and all those not-so-nice moments in life).

although it would be hard as hell for me to keep my mouth shut and my fists in my pockets, i would let lill handle it unless she comes to you and asks for help.

so sorry.

Emily said...

ugh....everyone complains that middle school and high school are the worst, but compared to 5th and 6th grade, the rest was a breeze. i know it killed my mom a thousand times inside, but i'd come home crying at that age because it seemed like at least once a week, lines were drawn and the girl you were friends with last week had 2 new friends this week. for REAL...one time my "group" all came to school wearing their hair in messy buns (one on each side of their head, a la princess lea). they left me OUT! (praising jesus now, as i can't think of a more unflattering look). i don't even want to think about recess! what a tortuous 23 minutes every day!

that's all to say, the GREAT news is: i made my BFF in 6th grade. and once i had her around, it wasn't about competition or leaving someone out or being clique-y. we just WERE. and we have been ever since. i love my mama and i love my sister, but i agree with a few of your other virtual buddies up there--it's best to stay out of it. i hope that if lillie doesn't already, she finds a forever friend who accepts her and thinks her j.crew tee is fab (outside of her SO loving family, of course) because it's just one extra layer of protection against all those mean BITCHES (whoopsie, bad word!) this is so long winded, but i know how you feel and i know how she feels and it makes my heart break, but it will get better :) :)

Richie Designs said...

I was also bullied in the 6th grade as new girl in town. I can say it ruined the rest of my schooling even though the girls backed down finally when I went toe to toe in a screaming match.

by the way...at my 20th reunion? the ringleader...still wanted to poke her eyes out and trip her while she walked by. but. i'm. not. bitter. at. all.

dunno what to say about it for her. a part of me wants you to go pull on those little shitty kids pig tails and threaten to do harm to their small animals but the other side says let her work it out.

girls are mean...women are mean it never gets easier

Callie Grayson said...

I so love the fact that she came back at them with "It's on a cup of Jo!"
Lillie totally rocks. Please let us know how is all works out.
Tell lill to be strong and herself... she is the cool kid!

xx
callie

kathleen said...

i love lillie. fantastic.

bink and boo said...

Little girls can be so mean. My heart breaks for you and your little one. I can't stand the thought of someone being mean to my child (I am not at that stage yet).

I think you have to let Lillie try to handle it on her own. I am sure it's going to be hard, but it's times like these that help shape our character and bit of a tough shell (not too tough, but just enough) that she will need in life.

Barchbo is right, it is hard being the coolest girl in class.

Beth Janairo said...

i really think it's time for lil to start practicing the worst swears we ever made up. that, coupled with miss manners' advice to respond to such rudeness with, "How very kind of you to say!" or a pointed question, "Why would you say such a thing?"

probably insurmoutable problem: to fix the mean kids you must fix the parents, to fix the parents you must go back and fix the kids that were mean to them AND their parents, to fix all those people, well, you catch my drift.

better to plan, *and practice* great comebacks at home. it helps a lot to have you be 'bully-like' and have lillie practice telling you to f-off, in cutesy coy question form, of course.
beans

Kate said...

Eww, 6th grade is the worst! It sounds like Lillie has a pretty good handle on things, I say let her get some practice coming up with more quips like that one!

KeishaCory said...

and for this I am so glad Im homeschooling this year! Im going through this with a close friend and her daughter, and the mom is a wreck, maybe worse than the daughter:/
nothin peeves me more than girls who get away with this behavior. Its hard to imagine things really go uncorrected at home... the whole village idea about raising a child doesnt work here though
tough spot to be in, im not looking forward to next year and middle school!

Laurel said...

I'm going to put my opinion in here because those years of my life are still painfully close (Yeah, I'm probably the youngest reader of your blog, being 17. :P) and I totally understand how Lillie feels. I got teased a lot when I was 12 and 13, and sure, it was painful, but I got through it. I think, just judging by what you've written, I obviously don't know the whole story, that Lillie is handling the bullying OK by herself right now. I think if it gets to where she can't handle it on her own, you should definitely talk to the parents or a teacher. But at this point, it sounds like she's doing fine on her own. Tell her from me that 12 and 13 year olds can be some of the most obnoxious, toxic people on the planet, but they also have this beautiful ability to grow out of it.

Laurel

P.S. I personally think the three twisted buns are ADORABLE!

A-M said...

Don't know too much about these situations for the girls but I would definitely forget about dealing with the parents. They're the reason their offspring are so atrocious so time spent would be wasted. My boys have had their fair share of bullying... and end up saying things like "I am sorry you feel that way and feel so bad about yourself that you have to put me down to feel better about yourself" (Quote, unquote - 8 year old) ...and "you are obviously in a lot of pain. I understand that you have to lash out to cope with your pain" (big one - he's been hanging around me a bit lately and knows a bit about pain!). Your angels will be fine. They're fierce. They rock.... like their Mum! A-M xx

karey m. said...

you guys. talked me off the ledge. you did, you did.

and i can't stop reading your advice and little stories. thanks for doing this for me.

i needed it. and you. xoxo.

Jill said...

Ohhh! Girls are so MEAN! I love lill's response, though. Freaking brilliant. I was horribly bullied by female classmates in grades five and six. It was awful and I hated school, but I didn't have the self-esteem or confidence to stand up to anybody. It sounds like you've raised your daughter to be a smart, tough kid who can handle herself and her situations. Leave the parents out of it. If they're raising children who behave that way, I'm not sure you'd get far with them. Keep us posted!

anne said...

ooof. sixth grade is a brutal time. i still cringe thinking of how awful my classmates could be to each other.

that top sounds incredible (who can hate on some sparkle???) and so does lillie...love that she rocked the three twisted buns and defended herself (he probably is a skeeve)!

xoxo.

nataya said...

I like your words, i had idea to blog specially of my words and nothing ive done and you just kick me to make it real, thanks.

Elizabeth said...

I love reading your blog, even the tough stuff, as I have three girlies of my own. A little younger, but headed down the same road. May I recommend a book? Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. It's the non-fiction book Tina Fey used in part to write the screenplay for Mean Girls, and it is a super resource for understanding these girl dynamics (I think it'd be good for parents of boys to read too, as they're dealing with girls...) Anyway, my oldest is in third grade and has definitely found herself in the middle of some mean girl activity (last year one of her friends at school de-friended her because we don't attend church, ouch—it was worked out eventually, but thanks for the hard lesson). This book really did give us some good ideas about how to work through it.

Such good advice from your commenters. Making lots of mental notes for age 12 coming up.

the lil bee said...

I honestly don't know, but plan on reading through all of these comments for my own knowledge. Such a tough call. I think if the parents truly are clueless, you'd be better served talking to the teachers, who can probably discipline the girls without them knowing that you were ever involved. Also, I think that girl of yours is doing a pretty amazing job with the comebacks!!

kasey said...

I say step in if needed.
Or...drive by their home in the middle of the night and egg their house.
{but you didn't get that idea from me..}

Rochelle said...

Your Lill is brilliant. Her answer about the T-shirt was spot on. She has to learn to fight these little battles, but you have to be right behind her, peeking around the corner - so to speak - gently guiding her. She's a strong girl already. One book that helped us when our Mattiekins was in 5th and 6th grade was "Sticks and Stones" by Scott Cooper. Teaches them things like answering a question with a question - "Do you feel a little taller today?" Subtle, but cutting.

More than that, and I know you do this, encourage her to embrace her uniqueness. Her "quirky" is the most beautiful thing you've seen, right? My girl is the same way and I LOVE HER FOR IT. And I know you do too. Tell her everyday. Every other girl can have the perfect ponytail and the jeans down to their pubes. But my girl loves Frank Sinatra, Star Trek, and purple high tops. She's the most beautiful girl I've met. She's genuinely everything I wished I was back then . . .

but this is about Lill. With you and Legs for parents, she's on the winning team. Fo sho.

Hang in there, Mom. It's only beginning. Check out the book.

Kayla Poole said...

Hmmm. Such a tough call. But I say, let her ride this one out for a bit. Based on her response, I think she'll be okay. (And if not, you'll know).

I'm a former middle school teacher, and let me tell you, I was shocked at how my girls talked to one another. I honestly don't know what the answer is, other than remaining committed to raising your girlies to be true and kind and strong.

Keryn said...

Hey - I'm Keryn. First time commenter, recent RSS reader of your site. I have a suggestion for a short story you might get a kick out of. Have you heard of Stanley Elkin's "A Poetic for Bullies?" It doesn't directly help, but it's cute and bizarre and maybe might at least amuse you?

Keep your head up and tell her all day, every day how amazing she is. The more she believes it, the easier it will be for her to get through.

the space between said...

ugh been there.

my mom's advice to me was classy and short and left em wondering a bit...just have her look them in the eye and say,

"it's such a pity you can't recognize greatness and ridiculously amazing fashion sense when you see it."

ps i wore my hair in the three buns the other day....thanks for the super duper cute tip!!

Heather said...

sounds like lill may have it all under control. but i feel your pain, i don't miss those days...

melissa loves said...

That's IT! I am coming up there! I didn't want to have to but, I am going to have to open up a can of whup ass on those skanky 12 year olds ( that's right I called 12 year olds skanky)!! You tell that awesome Lill that I would kill for her 3 tiny buns and sequin shirt and that those horrible girls are just scared out of their minds. I know, cause I knew those girls too, when I was 12. Yes, I did. You tell her that they are scared out of their minds just like the rest of us, but, instead of taking it with even an ounce of learned grace( that's where the idiot parents are supposed to come in......"Um HELLO?! idiot parents?!) they defend themselves against the fear with striking out at others. Oh, and jealousy....that is another powerful motivator. I will be there tomorrow. Tell them to be ready. The playground. at DAWN. ;)
xoxo
Melis
"your dad, the skank"...I am going to use that, is that okay Lill?
oh, and maybe this for next time
"I know! Sparkly boobs! Isn't it awesome?! Don't you wish YOUR boobs sparkled?" (skank)