Friday, May 20, 2011

Dear SFC,

My 10 year old is having a problem at school. Her friend M- said that my daughter told M- that she was ugly. M's mom called me and I talked to my daughter, who claimed she didn't say it. I made my daughter apologize for the misunderstanding. My other friend J- said her daughter B- heard M- say that she heard another friend, P- say it. Should I confront P's mom? Should I tell M's mom that B- said M- heard P- say it? Help!!!
HoverMother in SC

Dear HoverMother,

Are you fucking serious? If I had a dime for every time some kid hurt my feelings in elementary school, I'd have more money than I've made with this highly successful blog (that's $44.31, to be exact). Kids are jerks. They say jerky things, they act in jerky ways, they lack empathy, tact, and the filter between brain and mouth.

The very first mistake in this situation was made by M's mom. Why did she need to call you? She should have set her kid down, said "Honey, kids are jerks. You are beautiful and it doesn't matter what some jerky kid says." Or, teach her the retort, "So?" (I learned that one from Little Bill).

Last summer, Katie and one of her friends were prank calling another friend, singing songs and hanging up on her. The girl's mother called me in tears because her kid was upset. In tears. You know what I do if some kid prank calls my house? I pick up the phone and say "Knock it off, jerkface." and they don't call back again. I don't even have to cry about it.

There is a point when normal behavior crosses the line into bullying. There are times when it's appropriate and necessary for a parent to step in and take action. But before you do that, ask yourself - is this situation a detriment to my child's social life or learning environment? Or is this an opportunity for them to learn to stand up for themselves?

Also, what part does my kid have in this? Are they a target, or did they start it? One of the most difficult things to admit is that our precious snowflake is the jerk in question.

We get so wrapped up sometimes in providing our kids with the perfect childhood experience that we forget how important the sucky parts are. The sucky parts teach us humility and patience and kindness and courage and resiliency and a dozen other traits that make us successful grown ups. If we rush in to save the day every time someone farts in the direction of our kid, we're doing them a huge disservice.

Sometimes when we stand back, we teach them to stand tall.


  1. First.. I think I have a blog crush on you. Anyone who lets an f-bomb rip in the opening line is my hero.

    Second.. my favorite role playing w/the girls was when I finally got to the "all bets are off" one and taught them how to say 'jam it' with force and conviction. Okay..they were in kindergarten & 2nd grade and I wasn't ready to be called in to the P's office for their first use of the F-bomb. 5 years later, I'm ready for that call.

  2. Thanks, Kristen! I'm so glad you stopped by - I am knee deep in 4hens right now! We had an incident in kindy where I had to teach Katie "BACK OFF!", but I love 'jam it' even more. That's a call worth taking.