Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Non-Shrinking Violet

Violet has always been my 'shrinking violet'. She is shy, easily intimidated and sensitive beyond belief. Early on in her school days, she was dubbed the 'crybaby' because she cries at the drop of a hat (seriously, she even cries at weddings...what kid do you know that does that? Violet, that's who). I knew that we would have bullying problems because kids can be evil and they will spot your faults and use them against you for shits and giggles, because they are assholes like that.

Not surprisingly, Violet had a few problems at school with some 'mean girls.' Sixth grade is BRUTAL people, and sixth grade girls, lo, they are bitches. At the time, I tried my very best to turn each incident into a learning experience for Violet, when I really wanted to march into that school and smack those girls in their bitch faces give those girls a piece of my mind. Alas, trying to explain to a pre-teen girl that it's not the end of the world to have people make fun of you at school was like trying to get Lily, my younger daughter, to let me brush her hair so she didn't look like she styled it with a fork every day. That is to say, my attempts were futile and I knew we were in for a long haul with middle school.

Nonetheless, I stayed the course every single time and encouraged Violet to stay above the fray. My instructions were simple: try to be friends with everyone and if somebody says something about you, starts a rumor, or just acts like an asshat in general, IGNORE IT because they are looking for a reaction from you. If you don't react, they will get bored and go away. And, if you hear someone talking about someone else behind their back, you should be a friend and stick up for the person getting trashed because you know how that feels.

I could never be sure if my message was getting across until several months later when Violet mentioned that some kids were laughing at one of her friends in the cafeteria that day because she has cancer and has no hair, and it was making her friend cry (I told you, bitches, right??). When I asked Violet what happened after her friend started crying she said "I remembered what you said, Mom. So I went over to those girls and told them that she can't help that she has no hair and that she is way prettier than they are because they're making themselves look ugly by making fun of someone who is sick."

When I recovered from the shock of my Violet asserting herself, she went on. "Then I told them that if they want to make fun of someone, make fun of me instead, because I don't care what they say about me and I can take it. And other than that they should keep their mouths shut and quit being rude to everybody because they just look stupid."

When I asked how the mean girls responded, she said "They didn't say anything else after that, I think they knew I was serious. And my friend felt better after someone stuck up for her, so you were right, Mom. I'm glad I stood up for my friend."

That, my friends, was a proud parenting moment. She's not such a shrinking violet after all.


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