There’s bul­ly­ing at my daugh­ter’s ele­men­tary school

The Peterborough Examiner - - ARTS & LIFE - El­lie

Q: When my 11-year-old daugh­ter cried and begged to miss school, I learned that her close friend is being bul­lied by three of their class­mates.

My daugh­ter saw them sur­round her friend at re­cess. One pulled off her hair band, another tossed it into the dirt, while the third one mussed her hair.

My daugh­ter said she ran in­side to the bath­room, ter­ri­fied.

Her friend dresses “girlie,” wear­ing skirts and shoes with sparkles, etc. The “bul­lies” wear jeans and boots.

My daugh­ter fears that they’ll tar­get her next.

I said she should tell the prin­ci­pal and the bul­lies won’t know who re­ported them. Since I didn’t see any bul­ly­ing, I didn’t think my re­port­ing would be ef­fec­tive.

Bully Girls

A: Bul­ly­ing must be ad­dressed by the adults within the en­tire school com­mu­nity. Par­ents, teach­ers, ed­u­ca­tion ad­min­is­tra­tors, and po­lice have a duty to keep kids safe from bul­lies in school and out­side it.

You should re­port it to the school prin­ci­pal to start the record, and email/phone the par­ent list re­gard­ing bul­ly­ing, to meet within days.

Even a few in­ci­dents mat­ter, be­cause when a bully gets away with it, their power in­creases.

Send a meet­ing re­port in­clud­ing all bully in­ci­dents dis­cussed, to your school district’s di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion. In­sist on their tak­ing ac­tion now, not later.

If you don’t leap into ac­tion to pro­tect your child, who else will?

Q: I’ve had three se­ri­ous con­cus­sions, yet was re­peat­edly mis­treated by my fam­ily’s pres­sure that I still do ev­ery­thing they ex­pect of me.

I was forced to take psy­chi­atric drugs which made me want to die.

I be­came very fear­ful of doc­tors and very an­gry at my hus­band and daugh­ter who au­tho­rized forc­ing those psy­chi­atric meds on me.

I’ve since greatly re­duced my med­i­ca­tions (in­form­ing my fam­ily doc­tor whom I trust).

I’ve mostly re­cov­ered and made pos­i­tive changes. I med­i­tate, ex­er­cise, en­joy my work.

But my fam­ily (hus­band, daugh­ter, brother and sis­ter) can’t see the in­ter­nal dam­age I suf­fered or that I no longer can han­dle “ev­ery­thing.”

I try to help them but they have their own men­tal health is­sues they won’t see/ad­dress.

I was al­ways their “rock” and now I need them to help me stay healthy. In­stead, they de­pend on me, push me too hard and I break down and get sick.

If this pres­sure doesn’t stop, I’ll end the mar­riage and walk away from all of them.

There are some pros to stay­ing (hus­band tries some­times) but the neg­a­tives are too much.

I’m try­ing to see a ther­a­pist but still dis­trust­ful. Walk­ing out may be the only way I can have “peace.” I’m 60 and fight­ing for my life.

How do I stay and help fam­ily with their mess when they’re so de­struc­tive to my men­tal health?

Wronged by my Fam­ily

A: Stay fo­cused on the pos­i­tives you’ve achieved. Ask your fam­ily doc­tor to re­fer you to a ther­a­pist who doesn’t pre­scribe drugs. You’re al­ready on a help­ful treat­ment regime.

In coun­selling, dis­cuss why get­ting an­gry at fam­ily harms you more than them. When they ex­pect too much from you, you know the stress is un­healthy for you. So, don’t de­liver.

In­stead, pro­vide them with names of other ther­a­pists (not yours), and let them find their own path.

Mean­while, in your own therapy, con­sider what your life will look like if you leave on your own. A month’s “break” may be the best test … or maybe just dis­en­gag­ing will ease the pres­sure.

Mean­while, start coun­selling be­fore mak­ing any dra­matic changes.

El­lie’s Tip of the Day

School­yard bul­lies must be stopped by all the adults re­spon­si­ble for safe schools.

El­lie Tesher is an ad­vice colum­nist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your re­la­tion­ship ques­tions via email: el­[email protected]

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.