You don’t need me to tell you that kids can be really nasty to each other. I could give you some theories about why some tweens and teens seem to get twisted pleasure out of seeing other kids suffer, but you don’t care about theories. I’m guessing you’d much rather have me tell you what you can do if you find yourself the target of rumors or some other variety of social garbage. Each situation is different, of course, but what’s the same for all of these unfair situations is that you can’t change anyone else’s behavior. You just can’t shut them up or shut them down. The only thing you can do is figure out a way to change your response to what’s going on.
Here’s an email I just got from a girl who’s so fed up with rumors that she’s ready to… well… Why not just read it yourself?
There is this one mean girl who keeps starting rumors about me. I’m only in 6th grade but she keeps telling me I’m a slut and a bitch. No one believes her and everyone is starting to be mean to her. But today she started another rumor and now I think I’m going to kill myself. I thought I could ask you for advice before I kill myself to see if you could change my mind. You stopped me from killing myself before so I trust you. Thank you.
Hi Fed UP!
I’m really glad you wrote to me and I’m honored that you trust me. Trust me then when I tell you that killing yourself is not a solution to any problem. Nope. Not even a kinda sorta maybe solution. It just isn’t, so forget about it.
The way you describe it, it sounds like this girl who’s giving you such a hard time is a very unhappy kid. How do I know that? Because happy healthy kids who feel loved and accepted do NOT start nasty rumors! Happy kids who have high self-esteem do not think it’s funny or cool to trash other people.
OK. So this girl is not a happy camper and she’s mixed up in her thinking (She thinks it’s OK to do what she’s doing.) Let’s assume she hasn’t been taught the right way to treat people. But let’s forget about her for a moment. I care about YOU. I want you to be around to grow up and make more friends and fall in love and get really excited about stuff you’re learning. I want you to dream big dreams and set goals and get where you want to be through your own hard work. I want you to feel so proud of yourself and so self-confident that nothing can hold you back and no one can bring you down.
You’ve got all of that inside of you (and much more)… So you see, killing yourself makes no sense. You’ve got way too much going for you to throw it away and for what? Because some girl with low self-esteem is calling you names??
Talk to your parents ASAP. Tell them what’s going on at school. Talk to the school counselor. Talk to a cool teacher. Talk to the principal. Don’t let little Miss Unhappy Camper get a free pass on spreading nasty rumors. Have your parents talk to her parents. Keep making noise until someone gives this girl the message that what she’s doing is NOT OK. If you stay silent, she’ll keep doing it to you and to others.
Here are some other things you can do to improve this situation: Calm down. Hang with people you know you can trust to support you. Keep dreaming the big dreams.