“When My Daughter Told Me She Was Being Bullied, I Didn’t Believe Her”

She did the right thing by coming to me, and I dismissed what she said. I will never, ever do that again.
Be Our Guest | posted by Cristina Margolis
The Emotional Roller Coaster of Parenting a Child with ADHD

Cristina Margolis has been blogging at My Little Villagers (mylittlevillagers.com) since her young daughter was diagnosed with ADHD. Cristina wants to help document her daughter’s life with ADHD and spread ADHD awareness in children. Her work has been featured on The Mighty and Scary Mommy and her blog was voted “Best of the ADHD Blogs” by CHADD. In addition to her blog, you can connect with her on Facebook (facebook.com/mylittlevillagers) and Twitter @MyLilVillagers.

My daughter with ADHD tends to overdramatize things that happen to her. If she stubs her toe, it becomes “the worst day in the world!” If she gets one spelling word incorrect on her test, she says, “I’m the dumbest kid in the world.” I love my second-grader to pieces, but she is a Drama Queen. I don’t know if it is an ADHD thing, a girl thing, an Italian thing, or maybe all of the above, but this is how she’s been for as long as I can remember.

When my daughter came home from school, telling me that she had a bad day because “all of the girls are mean,” I had a hard time believing her. How could it be that all of the girls in her class were mean to her? I told her to stop exaggerating. I told her that she must have misunderstood what the girls were saying or doing, because again, how could all of the girls be acting this way toward her? Also, my daughter isn’t the best at reading social cues, which is very common for children with ADHD. She is also very sensitive. Sometimes, if another child looks at her in a funny way, it sets my daughter off into a crying spell.

The past several months, my daughter and another girl in her class have become very close and are now best friends, which has been an enormous blessing for our entire family. Instead of crying in the morning about not wanting to go to school, she now happily puts her school uniform on, because she can’t wait to see her best friend. They even got each other sets of best friend necklaces and bracelets that they wear. I love my daughter with all of my heart, but I admit she is a bit “different” compared with the other girls in her grade. She is immature, very hyper, and can’t stop moving around. She is impulsive, impatient, and rude sometimes, although that is not her intention. These are all things that we are working on, by the way. Fortunately, her best friend loves her positive traits so much, that she is willing to forgive her for her negative traits and even work with her on them. (Only a parent of an ADHDer knows what a tremendous blessing a friend like this is.)

At recess, my daughter plays only with her best friend, because she is her only friend. It wasn’t until recently that I found out the heartbreaking reason why. While talking to her best friend’s mom, I found out that there were several “mean girls” that formed a group back in kindergarten. Little by little, over the past two years, they have been “recruiting” other girls to join their clique. When my daughter and her best friend play with some of the nicer girls, the “mean girls” call the nice girls over to their group and tell them not to play with my daughter and her best friend. Can you believe this crap? These are seven-year-olds purposely excluding other girls? (I don’t know about you, but this clique crap didn’t start for me until I was in middle school.)

Sadly, it gets worse. One day, one of the girls from that clique who was also friends with my daughter’s best friend gave her an ultimatum: She told her that she could either join her clique to be in the “Fabulous Group” or stay friends with just my daughter and be in the “Weirdo Group.” Think about this for a moment. A seven-year-old girl is given the choice to join the “cool group,” which consists of all of the girls in her grade, versus being friends with only one little girl with ADHD, who is “different” than a typical little girl and can be difficult to be friends with at times. Think back to when you were in second grade. What would you have done, really? Well, I am happy to report that she chose my daughter. This little girl has so much strength, courage, love, and honor in her heart, probably more than some adults I know. As you can imagine, I absolutely adore her.

When my daughter came to me before and told me that all of the girls at her school were mean to her and didn’t let her play with them, I didn’t believe her, and I feel terrible because of it now. She did the right thing by coming to me, and all I did was dismiss what she said, because I thought she was just blowing things out of proportion like she always does. When I heard what was going on at school, that my daughter is purposely being excluded and isolated, and that she is being labeled as a “weirdo,” my heart sank. I felt like the worst parent alive. I went to church today and I asked God for forgiveness. I asked Him to give me the same strength, courage, love, and honor that my daughter’s best friend has in order to fix what I should have fixed when my daughter first came to me. I also had a long talk with my daughter and asked her for forgiveness too, which she gave me immediately.

My Mamma Bear claws are out now. I contacted the principal of the school and I will be visiting the schoolyard at lunch tomorrow to see for myself what is happening. I plan on having a parent-teacher conference soon as well. If these “mean girls” are still bullying after the principal and teacher are involved, I will contact each and every one of their parents until this stops for good!

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