My Kid Was Being Bullied, So I Did What I Had To
Growing up I had very definite ideas about what I would and wouldn't do once I became "THE PARENT". I vowed I would let my kids wear anything their little hearts desired--I also distinctly remember making this vow during one of the many arguments I usually found myself embroiled in with my own mother who DESPISED my second hand clothing addiction and said she didn't want a daughter walking around dressed like she was homeless. I vowed I would never pressure my kids to do anything that they felt was antithetical to their nature-- I also made this vow when my own mother seemed to rattle off a blueprint for the type of social life she expected me to adhere to, one that at the time felt very antithetical to the friends I coveted. Of course, as a kid, it was easy to critique my mother as I had no real perspective or understanding of the complexities raising a child entailed.
Weathering the Teen
This summer began with the greatest of expectations. We enrolled my daughter at a camp that held the promise of swim instruction by a former Olympic gold medalist, hours spent at volleyball nets, basketball courts and yes lots of amusement park trips. I personally salivated while drinking in the lush curriculum and all the opportunities my girl would have at a real summer camping in the woods. But this parenting thing is never as easy as that- and while as an adult you can have the greatest expectations and plans for your child, the reality of what your child needs and wants can be vastly different.
Unfortunately, instead of soaking up all the lanyardy goodness, my daughter could not find her safe place among the girls in the group. Of course never one to quit- especially after knowing her parents forked over a large sum of money for her camp experience-- my daughter soldiered on. And each day when I retrieved her from camp- I could see in her eyes that dejected feeling- like with each passing day spent at camp a bit of her self esteem was being chipped away. Over the course of these past three weeks, always one to bear a grin- my daughter became a sullen kid...who would come home from camp and retreat under the covers and feign sleep like a depressed middle aged woman. Of course I'd hear her muffled cries behind her closed bedroom door and while I tried to console her and arm her with a thicker skin to be able to tackle the mean girl spirit which seemed to thrive in her camp group- each day she just seemed to get a little smaller.
While I never wanted to be that parent who would allow my kid to give up and be beaten down by a gaggle of 11 year old girls, sometimes as a parent I think there are no right answers. We don don't live in a perfect world, and yes my daughter will encounter others in her life that simply want to tear her down, and in those instances I might not be able to help her. But right here and right now- she is still 11 and I am lucky that I can still protect her and provide her with a safe place to fall. And yes, I can change her environment if I need to. As a parent I'm also learning that there are no blanket right or wrong answers- it is not a one size fits all. As a parent, you need to do what feels right and hope your decisions reverberate as such. And if I can have any control over keeping my kid from being in pain- well that decision is a no brainer for me.
If your kid was being bullied and you could remove her from the situation- would you?