A mother was very upset as she spoke about her eleven year old daughter who had a very possessive friend. The so-called friend wouldn't let her daughter play or get close to any other girls at school. She threatened her and was mean to her. The daughter was scared to go to school and had developed stomach aches and headaches.
I told the mother that her upset needed urgent action and said:"Of course you are alarmed and want to protect your daughter. But first, take a deep breath and think about the little bully. She might be a difficult personality who enjoys being in power. Yet some bullies often need to have control over others they perceive as weak because someone-else has control over them! She may have a dominant or critical mother or father who is making her life hell and so she does the same to your daughter.
You must sit with your daughter and write down the details of dates, times, places and what happened. If she can, get your daughter to give you some names of witnesses. There are usually some people who have seen the bully in action but do nothing in fear that they will be next. Sometimes the bully has directly threatened the others that they will be beaten up or ostracized.
Then you should make an appointment with the School Principal and the class teacher. Schools have very strict policies on bullying now (thanks goodness after all the years of ignoring the problem) and the school administration is the best option for investigating and enforcing their policy. They may call in the bully's parents and ask for their cooperation in teaching their daughter to be kind.
You may even get an apology!"
I have a client whose daughter just started Year Seven in a new school and was bullied. The mother went straight to the school and it was very professionally handled and solved within a week. If the mother had tried to solve it directly by approaching the bully's parents she may have found that she then became the victim of their hostility and denial.
Yes, trust the school and you may also ask for some counselling for your daughter. Perhaps the school will also provide counselling for the bully and her parents and some real good may come of that!
It's interesting that boys are usually thought of first when you think of bullies, yet girls are also good at it. The difference is in how they do it. Boys will tend to be physical, girls more emotionally manipulative. I never forget teaching thirteen year old Private School girls a workshop on bullies. One girl wrote some very damning feedback – "We don't have bullies at this school. We only have bitches!"
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Dr Janet Hall
Dr. Janet Hall is a psychologist, hypnotherapist, sex therapist, author, professional speaker, trainer, and media consultant. Dr Jan has authored eight books on family and relationship issues and recorded 42 CDs/MP3s, many use hypnosis. She founded the Richmond Hill Psychology Clinic - www.drjanethall.com.au
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