Welcome to Kira's Blog

Welcome to My Blog

Life with young children can be challenging, but with the support and advice of friends, we can feel empowered and thankful for the blessing of being a Mom.

My musings are those of a self-proclaimed attachment-parenting Tiger mom, who juggles full-time mommying with a small (but growing!) baby-related business. I hope some of my thoughts help you
Enjoy your day, Enjoy your night, and Enjoy your kids!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Bullying is a common problem among elementary-school children, and bullying between girls is only recently gaining attention.

Rachel Simmons, a classmate of mine (who, incidentally, had bullied me when we were young, and  years later made amends ... well, I guess that's material for a future blog) wrote a fascinating book on the subject, entitled "Odd Girl Out" (see link & image attached). Definitely an important read for any mothers of young girls (or grandmothers, aunts, uncles...).

It starts young, for some in preschool and others by 2nd grade. And a key to overcoming it is teaching our girls about it. Awareness.

My daughter was recently involved in a bullying scheme, which someone suggested I detail in my blog, in order to empower other moms to recognize its sinister subtleties:

I received a phone call from A. She asked if my daughter Moriyah had mentioned anything about her daughter X to me... were they still friends? I said that I hadn't noticed or heard anything to indicate otherwise. She informed me that lately Moriyah had been telling X that she hated her. (!!!) I was dumbfounded and told A. that I'd call her back after asking Moriyah what was going on. I confronted Moriyah, beginning gently and vaguely with, "Are you friends with X? Do you play at recess?" I got all nods that yes, they were friends and yes, they play. Then, I got more direct. "Did you tell her you hate her?" Silence. Tears start. "Moriyah, you can tell me... what's going on? Why did you tell your friend you hate her?" And then she broke out "Because Y said that if I'm friends with X then she won't be friends with me. And I don't know whom to choose." In classic bullying fashion, she inadvertently chose Y over X, by telling X that she hated her.

BAM - it's done. One girl is bullied. Another girl gets the friend (and control) she wanted.

This is how the cycle starts. Or some similar means of pulling friends apart in a tug-of-war over popularity and social dominance.

I took my daughter's face into my hands and told her powerfully and concisely, "Nobody can tell you you can't be friends with somebody. That's mean and we don't allow that." I told her I'd be calling Y's mother both to make sure she knows what's going on and also to show Moriyah by example that when something is amiss, you take action.

I called A. to tell her the story, especially to assure her that Moriyah is still friends with X and the language of "hate" would be gone. Politely, I asked her in the future to please call me sooner if there is a problem, since she mentioned this had been going on for "a while" before she called me.

Then I called Y's mother, who was surprised to hear the story and promised to speak to her daughter.

The end is "happily ever after" (for now): When I asked Moriyah about it, she said that Y told her, "she's going to try to be friends with X." No more tug-of-war.

And then the obvious question: what would I have done, had Y's mother been defensive or passive? I'd simply hype up to my daughter that what Y was doing was WRONG and not nice, so that hopefully she'd feel empowered to stand her ground. Not perfect, but social interactions rarely are. Luckily, I live in a supportive community and send my kid to a private school where I know the parents care and want to be involved in these matters.

When bullying happens, we need to get involved and help set an example for our children. They don't "naturally" know what to do - we need to teach them. When A. called me, she opened the conversation with an apology to bother me about this... but... I corrected her that this was not a bother and that on the contrary, in order to be an effective mom, I NEED to hear what's going on from others. How will I know if nobody calls me? How would Y's mother help her daughter if I don't call her?! Sure, it's possible for a parent to demur, but unless we inform them, we don't allow them the opportunity to do good. And as we all know "all that it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing."

Today's bully is tomorrow's victim, and vice versa. Which is why it's important to be involved and teach our children - whether they are the bully or the victim, they need to be shown the way to healthy social dynamics. Rachel Simmons herself was surprised to hear how she'd bullied me as a kid - she was so enmeshed in her own social struggles, she hadn't seen how her behavior was equally hurtful. Hopefully, we're raising the next generation to be more aware and sensitive to others than we were.


  1. I was bullied in first grade and constantly complained about it to my mom. She spoke to the teacher about it who said, "who, Shani? She's so sweet. I can't believe she would be mean to Hedva." Yeah, she sucked. Teachers and parents need to realize that even "sweet" girls can be horribly cruel.