Dear Annie: This is about the young girl who was being bullied by some schoolgirls. Our daughter got bullied, and I want to share how my wife handled it. She invited the mothers and daughters over for coffee and dessert. She made it clear the invitation was mandatory. They all came. It was a nice meeting.
She explained what was going on and why bullying is unacceptable. If it didn’t stop, she said, she would take further action, and no one wants that to happen. The mothers were surprised to hear what their daughters were doing. It not only stopped, but the girls all became friends. I’m sure all their lives changed. Bullying can scar some people for life.
Dear Solution: It’s amazing that your wife took the high road and taught your daughter to do the same. It is good that the bully and her mother showed up. If they had refused, more serious action like letting the school know would have been mandatory.
Many readers reacted to this column. Read on to see more letters on cyberbullying.
Dear Annie: You missed one important piece of advice to Concerned Mother about her daughter being cyberbullied. Contact her school. Most schools have programs in place to deal with students who engage in cyberbullying. The mother and daughter are obligated to try and prevent this from happening to others, and the school needs to be made aware that this is happening, even though it didn’t take place in a classroom setting.
Dear Annie: I have been in education for 18 years. I have been a teacher, department chair, dean and an assistant principal. So I read with interest the letter from Concerned Mother about her daughter being cyberbullied. Mom needs to contact her daughter’s school principal. Even though the party took place outside of school and off school grounds, it is still affecting the daughter and her schooling. In most states, the principal can still take action against the girl(s) who posted the modified picture and made disparaging comments. Additionally, the school might have mental health professionals who could help her daughter.
Dear Annie: I would like to add to your response to Concerned Mother, whose 14-year-old daughter was bullied over social media by someone she thought was her friend.
I think you missed an opportunity to teach both girls a life lesson. The parents of this young lady, in my view, should have reached out to the other girl’s parents in person to talk about what their daughter is doing on social media. They might be unaware. It would give them a chance to hold their daughter accountable for a very negative behavior. It would also teach the girl who was victimized how to stand up for herself in an appropriate way.
It might be better if the parents, after talking, arranged an in-person meeting between all four parents and the two girls, to talk about accountability for rude, hurtful behaviors and the full impact they can have on another human being. I would want to know if my child did that to another.
There would definitely be consequences, such as no social media for a while, no phone, monitoring her posts and contacts, as well as therapy.
If my daughter was the victim, I would have therapy for her as well.
As parents, our job is to teach our children how to be good people with integrity. We need to teach by example, with love.
Dear Empathic Parent: Thank you for your letter. I love the idea of taking a hurtful situation and turning it into a learning opportunity. That is the only way we can stop bullying from taking place.