It is a real situation when your tween is being bullied and excluded. This is the age where they begin to be concerned about weight, looks and appearance. They want to be accepted into things like sports, drama clubs and activities.
Yesterday, I heard a story about a little girl, 12 years old, who was in this same situation. Her mom came to us and asked for advice. Her daughter was being teased for her weight gain already and was then cast as a Pig in the school play, to add fuel to the fire. Her mom said that her daughter doesn’t want to do it because it will give the meaner girls more reason to tease her. However, it seems to be the only place she’s made any connections.
We gave her our advice, but then we reached out and asked other moms to offer their best advice, as well.
1. “I would have a talk with the school administration about the bullying. Also, I would talk to my daughter and build up her self-esteem and tell her she’s beautiful, smart, intelligent and the others are just jealous. If she wants to be a part of the play then to do it with pride…no matter what anyone else says. Let her know she is unique and one of a kind and to do the things she likes. It is good to be her beautiful self and be confident in who she is.” ~Debbie D
2. “Does she really want to participate because it is one of her passions or does she feel like she has to do it so she can fit in? Just let your daughter know that whatever decision she takes, you will be there.“ ~Leticia V
3. “Support her in whatever she decides. I know what it is like to be bullied. For people that have never been overweight or bullied, they cannot understand. See if it has to be a pig, maybe it can be another animal. Talk to the drama teacher and explain. She may decide that with you empowering her to make it her decision, that she will do it. I really think the most important thing is to empower her by letting it be her decision, but give her lots of support.” ~Wilma D
4. “As she has to deal with the bullying, I would let her make the decision on whether or not to be the pig in the play. It is also wise to talk to teachers/school administrator about the bullying. If she decides not to do the play I would have her speak privately to the drama teacher and explain why. This way she can convey how appreciative she is for being selected, but she is concerned the role would increase the bullying she is already receiving.” ~ Denise T
5. “Do the play and be the best pig she can be. She was chosen and it’s a way to show those bullies her talent and that she’s not afraid to shine in something they cannot do. Plus, if she connects with those kids in the play it’s something to keep her mind off the hurt she feels from the bullies.” ~ Kim M
6. “One of the best ways to shut down a bully, or teasing is to truly own the things that they are teasing about. It’s hard as anything, but teaching her to stand tall, exude confidence, and be the best, show-stealingest pig ever will get her noticed in positive ways. She does not have to be a class clown, but if she shows confidence in herself, others will notice. One of the things bullies feed off of is perceived weakness. Additionally, help her find friends and activities outside of school to engage in and boost her confidence with. If she knows she can find confidence from within, because of the interesting things she does, others may just take notice.” ~Elizabeth M
7. “If she is enjoying drama group then encourage her to not give up. Bullies are often mean because they are jealous or feel threatened so encourage your daughter to smile and project herself with confidence, believe me, the bullies will soon get bored. If the bullying and exclusion is hurting her then you should speak to the school and, yes, expect them to do something about it. At twelve, she is feeling much more self-conscious so build her up as much as you can.” ~Laura B
8. “Please do not give up. Support her in everything she does.” ~Bethany V
9. “Do not make the decision for her. Let her talk to you, you offer advice, and let her know you support her in whatever she decides. If you make her do it, she will be angry with you when the bullies attack her for being a pig. If you tell her she can quit, then you are telling her the bullies win and quitting is the solution. However, if she makes the decision, she is owning her choice and that can be the biggest confidence boost one can have. If she chooses to do it, have open conversations with her on how to handle the bullying. If she chooses not to do it, tell her she needs to be open to explaining to the drama teacher why she is backing out. Either way, she is in control of her decision and how to handle the outcomes.” ~Lisa N
10. ” Pigs are extremely intelligent. Some more than dogs and very small children. My sons had experience in this area, sadly. We focus on strengthening his resiliency and self esteem. There will always be people who are mean and nasty. Encourage her to be bold, and kind to those people. Also, getting her involved with other groups outside of school is a good idea. That way she has more opportunities for friendship, and not have “all her eggs in one basket” so to speak..” ~Rose M
Some tweens deal with entitlement and others are dealing with bullies. It is a hard age and we need to support our children. Stop by our Facebook page to read parenting stories & share your advice with other parents.