Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri: Bullying or annoying?
Editor’s note: Letters to Rhonda and Dr. Cheri come from around the U.S. via our website and are not necessarily from Prescott.
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My daughter said her long time best friend bullied her today. She went straight into her room and slammed the door. She was crying when I went in.
My daughter said her friend told her to stop wearing her “ugly pink shirt” because “it makes you look fat.”
My daughter sent a text to her friend saying she was hurt. She didn’t hear back right away so she texted her again and said she would never, ever say anything like what her friend said against her.
My daughter said she finally got a text back from her friend who told my daughter to stop whining and making a big deal out of it.
My sweet, but sensitive, girl said that it was going to take a long time to get over the bullying.
Her friend texted back and told my daughter she was ridiculous.
I told my daughter that this could be repaired and then my sweet girl got so mad and blew up at me saying that I never understand her. She then said she’ll never have the same kind of friend again and asked why her best friend had to bully her.
The next morning my daughter showed me a text from her friend saying that my daughter should stop being annoying so they can be friends again.
My daughter started crying again and stayed home from school because, “I can’t take this bullying.”
Signed, Mom of a bullied daughter
Your daughter was not bullied. As unpleasant as your daughter’s situation may seem … it isn’t bullying. It’s a conflict, disagreement, or a quarrel.
It’s just as important for our uber-sensitive culture to understand what bullying is not, as much as what it really is.
Bullying is not:
• An insensitive comment or two
• A mean “sound-bite”
• A clash
• A fight
• A difference of opinion (like the pink shirt reference)
• An argument
• A conflict
• Serious and intentional, with harm in mind
• Nonstop taunting, berating, belittling and oppressive
• Harassing, tormenting, intimidating
• Long-term physical, emotional, sexual, and/ or mental damage
• Continual persecution that’s often schemed
• Pressured, pushed, browbeaten into being controlled
• Forced into submission and influence
• Targeted and ostracized
• Repeated or habitual
• Complete betrayal
The word “bullying” can’t be thrown around like a common handshake.
Casually calling someone a bully is like crying wolf. It dilutes the real meaning of true bullying.
Your daughter is in the middle of a conflict. She needs anger management and conflict resolution.
You can help your daughter in four ways:
Love her, love her, love her
Define bullying with her and help her see the difference between bullying and conflict (you could use the two lists we have provided for you)
Encourage her everyday and let her know how proud you are of her efforts to move away from staying a victim and moving towards becoming a great leader
Don’t shame her for not understanding the difference between bullying and conflict
One more thing you can do for her: lead by example.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
All girls ages 8-13 and their moms (or big sisters) are invited to our FREE Leadership Academy. Learn how our Triangle of Triumph can help you get unstuck from being a victim and how our 5 C’s will help you both become great leaders. Nov. 5th in Prescott. Call-928-515-9996 or go to rhondastopbullying.org.
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org. Find out more about Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation at www. rhondastopbullying.org.