In a couple of past posts, I’ve mentioned my daughter being one of the many teens experiencing harassment at the hands of a fellow teen hiding behind the confines of a keyboard to make terrible comments. I even expressed concern for her friend Ally, who was suffering from online bullying and even in person bullying at school. I was so wrong.
Ally, who is 13, recently started having sex with her boyfriend. She told my daughter about this. Someone told Ally’s mom about it, which was likely her sister who is close in age to her. Somehow, her ‘cool mom’ managed to get Ally to blame my daughter for this. Ally has now targeted my daughter. I read the text discussions between the two. While my daughter used language that is inappropriate for her age, Ally made threats of physical harm to her and tried to instigate a fight with her. I blocked Ally’s number from texting or calling my daughter’s phone. She went on ask.fm to anonymously harass her within 10 minutes of me blocking her. The next day at school, Ally and another girl named Leah tried to instigate a fight at lunchtime. They all had to go to the school office where they talked things out and the principal let me know they’ve smoothed things over, cried, and made up. This…was bullshit. I knew it, but I waited until my daughter got home to confirm my suspicion.
Ally continued sending her messages asking my daughter to punch her (so Ally wouldn’t be the one starting the fight) and telling my daughter she was too much of a coward to fight. Ally spoke to friends of my daughter and had them send her texts about fighting. Also, she told my daughters close friend Renee that she was talking bad about her at the lunch table. This is stupid on so many levels. I would talk to Ally’s mom again, but I think that she knows who her daughter is and is comfortable lying for her . I think she believes her own bullshit.
I’ve talked to my daughter, who doesn’t want anything to do with Ally, about the situation. She absolutely doesn’t want to fight her. She has verbally expressed that physical violence solves nothing in the matter of personal conflict and I am proud of her for that. She’s also said that fighting is for people who are “trashy”, which I agree. I’ve let her know that the only reason Ally is upset is because she’s ashamed of what she did when she had sex and her anger toward my daughter is misdirected shame for herself. I’ve also let her know that hanging out with people who do that sort of thing can unfortunately put a mark on her own reputation even if she isn’t involved in the same activities.
What I’ve learned is that I’m a sucker for a sad story and that I’ll defend people when I think they are going through something hard. I don’t lie, and therefore assume that other people don’t. Some naïve part of me wants to be the person who stands up for what I believe is right and fair. Sometimes, the two aren’t the same thing. I wasted an hour talking on the phone with Ally’s mom about her daughter being bullied at school and getting beat up for no reason, then getting suspending for egging it on. I did research for this woman on how to discuss the matter with the school board. I believed her because my daughter was being picked on and because she said that she was involved to the point of checking her daughter’s communication tools. These were most likely lies. The mom wasn’t being vigilant. Ally was lying to her mom and instigating a fight just like she’s trying to do now with my daughter. So either her mom is lying or she’s trying so hard to be friends with her kids, that she forgot to parent them.
I’d like to note that I know my teen daughter, and my other children, are not perfect angels who can do no wrong. Children and teens are young people who require that we nurture them and that we keep an eye on their path. They sometimes need a nudge in the right direction and sometimes need to be permitted to get lost and find their own way back or blaze their own trail. While I cannot watch and correct each move, I’m clear about my expectations. My daughter might not always say the right thing in the heat of the moment, but its unlikely that she would enlist people to hurt someone else through words or threats of physical violence.