What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a bully? Perhaps you were bullied on the playground when you were a child or you might even have a bully at work. There is no doubt that they can take on any different shape or size and sometimes, the appearance of a bully may surprise us.
When we are parents, we also sometimes need to deal with bully problems and that is also true when our children are bullies. That is what happened to the father of a teenage daughter who learned something rather alarming about her. She was bullying someone else and when he found out about it, he had a tough decision to make. It is a situation that many parents hope they never have to face.
We live in a world that has changed drastically over the past several decades. Today, people are bullied just as they were in the past but now, the problem has taken on a new tone. Many young children are taking their own lives because of bullying and it can make a person feel trapped and alone, regardless of their age. When it happens to a young one, however, it seems to affect them very deeply.
For example, Amanda Todd was only 15 when she was cyberbullied and was found dead after taking her own life. A picture of her breasts had circulated online. An 18 year old student took his life after being filmed secretly in a compromising situation.
One death from bullying is far too many. That is why this father decided to take action when he learned his daughter was bullying someone at school. Here is what he had to say:
“My daughter Callie is, to me, one of the sweetest people I know.
She gets good grades, has lovely friends, and still finds time to be a wonderful loving daughter. I have never had to ground her in high school, and she had never given me reason to believe she is acting out.
“I am a single dad of 3 girls. It is tough, but I thought we were doing okay. Callie is the oldest.
“I got a phone call from a crying mother today…
…telling me that my daughter was involved in harassing another girl at her school. Callie and her friends took pictures of the girl in “funny” poses, such as bending over to pick something up and her butt crack was showing. The girl is over weight and I think a lot of the pictures had to do with fat shaming…
“The mother said that her daughter tried to slit her wrists this morning and was in the hospital.
“Callie is at the beach today and should be home in a few hours.
I am so mad, I don’t know what to do. I have always taught her to be kind and respectful to others, and I feel like I don’t even know her. From what I have heard, Callie was the ring leader in all of this…
“How do I handle this, and still keep it together? What consequences should I have for her? What type of apology does she need to do? Should I take her to the hospital to see what she has done? My daughter has been fat shaming a girl at school to the point of the girl trying to commit suicide. How do I handle this as a father?
— time passes —
“I have gone through he computer. Sure enough, she has a folder on her desktop labeled “fatty.” And it is all pictures of this girl. I don’t have proof that she created the anonymous Facebook account, but I think it proves that it was her just by the pictures being on her computer.
“So Callie was scheduled to get home at 8 30 this evening.
I get a call at 8 15 from her. She said she was going to stay at ______s house overnight. I said “no, I need you to come home right now.” She said “I’m already here! Bye!” And hung up. I decided to go get her instead of arguing over the phone. I went to the friends house, it was empty. I started calling the the parents of er friends and finally someone’s brother picked up and said they were at the park. Sure enough, I go to the park and there are about 30 kids there around a fire pit. I see her with a solo cup standing next to a beer keg.
“So I don’t usually get angry…
..but I had had enough. I went straight up to her and told her that I was not going to make a scene, but she needed to get in the car with me. She turned into another person. “I’m almost 18! You can’t do this to me! You are embarrassing me!” I snapped. I’m not sure what I said, but it was along the lines of: “You should be embarrassed! You put a girl in the hospital because of what you and your friends have been up to and now you have lied to me and you are drinking alcohol underage. Your mother would be so ashamed of you, I don’t even know who you are anymore.”
“I caused quite a fuss, so she got in the car and she is home now.
I have taken away all electronics (laptop, cell phone, tv privileges). I told her she needed to log into the anonymous Facebook and post a message apologizing and naming herself as the person who posted the pictures. When she logged in, I immediately looked through her posts. It wasn’t just one person she had posted about. This Facebook page was dedicated to making fun of the “nerds and loners” of the school. There must have been 50 pictures.
“She posted the apology and then I made it clear that she was not to do anything for the rest of the summer.
All plans are cancelled until further notice. She can use the land line phone if she needs to, but only when I am there.
Other consequences I am enforcing:
– mandatory therapy once a week.
– community service – still researching that, and looking for advice about it.
– when the girl gets out of the hospital Callie is going to apologize to her and her family.
– I have taken the door of her room off its hinges. No privacy for a while.
– everything in the house that she has as a luxury is gone. This includes: all the expensive chemicals for skins and hair that I have bought her. I gave her simple shampoo, conditioner, body – wash and lotion. Otherwise it is all in the garage. She also lost her makeup (don’t know if I will keep this enforced).
– I took everything out of her bedroom that she uses, and she basically only has books and her keyboard piano. I have told her to catch up on reading and to try practicing the piano that she begged for and then never used.
“I told her to take the night and think things over. If she wants to fight me on everything tomorrow morning, then I will add more restrictions. If she takes her punishment and agrees to these terms, then I will consider how long the duration should be.”
Many people think he did the right thing. Others may disagree. One thing is certain, he took action.
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