Monday, July 19, 2010


I always thought that growing young children was the most difficult time in the parenting journey. The constant needs and demands, the frustration of emerging communication skills, the getting up through the night. I always thought that babies were hard work and toddlers were challenging and tiring. That is until I have found myself parenting a tween.

It seems that my first born sort of skipped this awkward and tricky stage, mostly going from being a child to being a teenager in the space of a month or two. Her struggles and issues as a teenager are different and now at 15, revolve around developing a sense of self. She is striving for independence as she navigates her way through all the choices on offer to her. All pretty normal, and though at times frustrating and hurtful, we seem to be making some progress.

My second daughter, "the ballerina" is 12 and having a pretty tough time of growing up. She is a loving and thoughtful girl, loyal and honest, but very quiet. She has a wicked sense of humour too. Of course this is the girl that we know and love, and I am fully aware that she presents differently outside her safe and nuturing home environment.

At school she is having serious friend issues. These issues have been going on in varying degrees for several years, but now something has changed. She has gone from being popular and loved by many to being excluded, teased and even bullied. In the last week of school before the holidays she had been unwell and missed a couple of days. On her return the girls she normally plays with excluded her. One even picked up a dead bird and shoved it in her face saying "kiss this, it's the only thing that will ever love you"

Despite all of this she is resilient and strong. She goes off to school every day and remains positive and happy. But I know she is hurting on the inside. She is in Grade 6 and is hanging out mostly with Grade 5's who seem to be accepting and fun. I am worried that this is going to taint her experience of Grade 6 Graduation and Big Day out. Something her sister enjoyed immensely.

I am not an "up to the school see the teacher" sort of a parent. But both Mr M and I have spoken to her teacher and the principal. I feel that this has done little, and that my precious daughter has been labelled as something I think she is not.
Oh, how easy it is to meet the needs of a babe in arms, if my memory serves me correctly!
P.S pic is of cookies that she baked on the weekend by herself.


  1. That is so heart wrenching. I have no answers for you.
    Good on her for keeping her chin up and being as positive as she can under such stressful circumstances.
    In my experiences girls are so much worse at bullying than boys. Why??? So pointless.
    Hugs to you and her Laurel. You're both in my thoughts.

  2. Oh Laurel...what can I say...girls can be such B+@#$@#@!!!!
    sorry it's the only way to say it. (I've got 3, all totally different in personalities)

    Your beautiful ballerina will find that come to the end of the year, these girls will all be scrambling to be something they are not....and your gorgeous one will shine!
    I know it's so hard to just ignore them, but do....

    Just a thought...have you spoken to the parents of the girls involved (without the girls present),sometimes other parents aren't quite as involved in their girls life and think everything is just peachy...and it takes someone else to point out it's not.

    Love and all my thoughts with both of you...from someone who has been through it too.
    hugs Julz

  3. I hear you that nothing happens when you go see the Principal and teacher! We had the same trouble when Miss D. was being bullied at school(also Grade 6!)
    Miss C is absolutly lovely and I'm sure those girls will eventually realize they are missing out on a great friendship!!

  4. Oh that is just heart breaking. She sounds incredibly resilient for her age & the fact that she is going to school at all shows her strength. I really hope it works out for her very soon. It's hard to put an old head on young shoulders but I really hope she can see that people who can be so cruel & hurtful must really be quite sad themselves. My son was being bullied earlier this year & was terrified that we wanted to talk to the principal, but it really did help, & I think he also felt that he was safe to an extent because of the principal knowing what what was going on..Good luck to you and your sweet little girl.

  5. How horrible ! I have a 12 yo girl and I know exactly what you are saying . Girls can really be little @#$%%^ sometimes .

  6. So awful and heartbreaking to hear, kids and teens can be so dreadful and mean, especially girlsthere is not a day where I don't thank the stars I'm no longer a teenager.
    She sounds like she is being amazing, her story and temprement sound quite like mine at that age. There is so little that can be done, and that's the worst part,
    give her big love from me, and tell there's somehow out here, older and whose gotten through it. Sorry can't be more help. xo

  7. Laurel, how horrid. But you know what? She will get through. With a great family behind her, she will get through!!! What you've just described sounds like my school years between ages 10 and 15. It was hell. I know I have scars. But I survived and am better for it. Girls are seriously screwy between 12-16... But she, and you, will get through. Family love is far more important in the long run.

  8. thinking of you and your girl she is so lucky to have you and she is strong because of it, as mum to two girls now 17 and 11 I can relate to what you are saying and it breaks my heart that the bitching even starts younger than 12 I can also say I can relate to talking to the school and it doing nothing much at all, hugs to you and your gorgeous girl

  9. What a gorgeous looking girl she is - that photo seems to depict inner strength. My heart is breaking for her. I am just getting an inkling of this kind of stuff with my daughter who is only in grade one, I am not looking forward to dealing with it as she gets older.
    I am impressed with those cookies!

  10. Oh that sounds horrible! I really struggled at the same age, without the level of bullying she is going through- I can't imagine what she (and you!) must be going through. I can imagine the mother bear in me going crazy!

    How lucky she is to have such a supportive and aware family.

  11. Oh no, your poor beautiful little girl! Any teacher will tell you that girls can be disgusting creatures some times. I still remember being excluded from my group of friends too. It never lasted long, only until they decided to turn on someone else. In my experience it has always seemed to be 1 girl in particular leading the group, the rest do what they have to in order to stay in. Perhaps speaking to the leader about that behavior would help?
    Next year when they go to high school all will be in upheaval and she will more than likely find some new good friends.
    By yr10 things seem to sort themselves out a bit and everyone becomes friends again, or at least that's what happened in my school. The next few years may be a trail, but have faith in your beautiful girl. She seems so down to earth and happy with herself, I really hope she stays that way. :)

  12. you are right about parenting - it just gets more complicated the older they get. I'm finding parenting a fourteen year old even more challenging than the newborn stage!
    The bullying issue sounds like a tremendous worry - I think it's good that you went to see staff. It's important that your daughter realises there are protocols/strategies in place. Hopefully the principal and teacher will assume a supportive role - or at least the bullying is documented.

  13. oh this breaks my heart, these years can be horrible. i witnessed my older sibbling get bullied through this time. it was so cruel and i would stick up for him whenever i saw anything happening - a boy having a little sister stick up for him didnt always help the situation. kids can be cruel. with time it passed, occasionally teachers helped. i wish you guys all the best through this and hope the tide turns quickly and you get the support from the teachers thats needed. your daughter is lucky girl to have such amazing supportive and understanding parents xx

  14. Oh Laurel, I just want to hug you and your ballerina and make it better. The way we do as mums to our little ones. If only it were that simple... I totally agree with you that the teen years can be so much harder, and scarier, than the younger years (as you know I'm living with thi a mix of years in my family)

    The dead bird is outright bullying - I'm glad to hear you approached the school.

    My eldest is a beautiful, sensitive child who experienced some bullying and exclusion in primary school. It was so hard, and I know it was lonely for her sometimes.

    What got her through was the strength of one very close friend, her bff! And one particular bully girl, the ringleader, left in yr 6 too, such a blessing!! There's always a ring leader...

    Now she is in yr 8 and is surrounded by loving friends, some old, some new - all good kids - and she is thriving. She stuck to her guns and stayed true to herself - I hope your ballerina can stay strong too.

    The change of school (from primary to high) is a wonderful time for making new friends - the old primary school gangs/cliques are often disbanded, or at least dispersed... wish I had the answer of how to make it better in the meantime. All I can say is nurture and promote the good, healthy, friendships she has going - in any way you can.



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