Why are we a society of people pleasers? What happened to being able to think for ourselves, and decide what makes us feel happy solely based on it making us happy? Even in the 4th grade I am watching it play out, and I can’t help but feel sad for the future of those already living their lives the way others are telling them to do.
There is definitely pressure to fit in at school, but where does the line get drawn between fitting in and hurting others just to please someone else? My daughter used to have two close friends (we will call them girl one and girl two). However, there is girl three in the mix. She and my daughter were sort of friends last year, but mainly because of her friendship with 1 and 2. Now girl 3 is the kind who always has to get her way. She is a “popular” girl, and tends to need everyone to think and act the way she does. My daughter is not that way. She feels and acts based on her own person, and when girl 3 decided she was not able to change my daughter, she began to make girls 1 and 2 change their opinions of her.
It started with girl 1 telling my daughter they could no longer be friends because she doesn’t wear Nike or Under Armour clothing. The spiral went down from there. Girl 3 told girls 1 and 2 they can’t talk to my daughter anymore, and when all three of them are together, they make fun of her and pick on her. Girl 3 even joined an after school group my daughter goes to , because girl 1 is in it, and I have learned that they now sit behind my daughter just to snicker at her. My daughter opted to not go yesterday after school because of them. However, when girls 1 and 2 are away from girl 3, they are nice to my daughter….thought provoking. The instigator of this whole mess is girl 3.
From what I know, which is not much, girl 3 has learned all of this from her own mother. I only met her once, but when I did, I knew she wasn’t a person that was a bucket filler at all.. Drama and judgments about others came from her mouth the first time we met. It was weird and uncomfortable. And it is sad that her child is learning this behavior is okay.
My daughter has stopped going to school skating parties because of an incident with the girls earlier this school year. There was the incident that I witnessed with my own eyes at the holiday open house, where these three girls had no problem being mean to my daughter right with me there! And now I hear that girl 2 was trying to talk with my daughter in a class, and girl 3 came over and said “We don’t talk to her.” And pulled girl 2 away from my daughter.
Bullies are everywhere, but what about those who follow them? Why is it so important to fit in with someone so mean?It puzzles me why we allow others to control what we think of someone, or how we feel about something. All it takes is one person to take control, and others get hurt in the process.
My only consolation is that middle school is coming fast. What I have learned, from seeing my other children make this transition, is the top dogs in elementary school quickly learn they aren’t so influential when they hit middle school. There will be other people, who are just like girl 3 at their schools, fighting for the highest spot in the social standings. Girl 3 will quickly learn she cannot control everyone, and my girl will have a chance to meet other awesome kids outside of their elementary school groups.
I look forward to that day. Until then, I will just keep encouraging my daughter to be herself, and stick with those who make her happy. Not those that someone tells her to be friends with.