Dealing with Bullies & Cliques
by Emily Gallup, MFT
I watched the events unfold like a scene from a movie: a large group of seventh-grade girls waited at the end of the hall, whispering and giggling softly. When a small brown-haired girl walked in through the door at the other end of the hallway they started shouting in unison, “Nerd! Nerd! Nerd!” The older kids, still in their classes, looked up from their desks at the lone girl as she froze, then started to cry. She turned and ran out the door she had just come in, shaking with humiliation and tears. That day marked the beginning of a very lonely year for the little girl. Kim had her thirteenth birthday party, and invited child in the class but one. The girl’s best friends silently stared back at her when she greeted them. She ate her lunch alone.
It took me several years to start placing myself back in my memories of those scenes. Getting shut out by the group of girls I thought were my friends was so painful that I remember walking home from school, day after day, sobbing. I remember wondering which of the chemicals under the bathroom sink would be the most lethal if ingested. I was stopped by the thought of my parents, and the pain I knew they would experience if I was gone. My parents were my salvation. If your child is suffering through a similar situation, you can be a lifeline, too.
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