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How do I coach my daughter through this middle school issue?

My 12 yr old daughter saw some kids drinking what she came to find out was gin at school in class. She enlisted a friend to go to the principal and tell. The drinking kids were suspended. My daughter's friend's mom thinks our kids will be ostracized forever. My daughter is clueless to the social implications and did what she thought was right. She ended up with a black eye the same day when two kids 'accidentally' slammed a locker into her face. My daugher sees no connection and I don't want to make her cynical but I do want her to understand that there may be unforeseen consequences to her decision. It is hard to tell kids No Drugs, No Alcohol, No Weapons, No Tobacco and then tell them to MYOB. How do I handle this? My sister says watch Mean Girls with her and then discuss. I am supporting her decision but maybe should have said more?

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Asked by bzmom2 at 2:18 AM on Dec. 28, 2008 in Tweens (9-12)

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Answers (10)
  • I would explain to her that she did the right thing. Unfortunately there are sometimes consequences for that. When I was in the 9th grade a girl in my class brought a gun to school, she showed it to me and threatened to use it on me if I told anyone... I told anyway. The girl was arrested on-sight. I have never regretted that decision, I had some crap to deal with from my peers, but the ramifications could have been much worse if I hadn't told. MYOB is not the answer, next time it could be something worse then alcohol, the consequences for not telling then would be much worse then a black eye.

    I know it is hard to see your child go through something like this, but obviously you are doing something right with her. She had the guts to tell when she knew something was wrong instead of joining in. Can I ask how the students found out who told? That would be a big issue with me, it should have remained anonymous.

    Answer by Jazak at 2:27 AM on Dec. 28, 2008

  • The teachers and principal tried to keep it anonymous. It may have been that she was so upset that she confided in someone who wasn't trustworthy or wasn't very rpivate about it. I think she thought it was the right thing to do and didn't necessarily think it should be secret. Not really sure. Did I mention it is a new school for my daughter and these kids are supposedly "the coolest kids" in the 7th and 8th grades.......

    Answer by bzmom2 at 12:56 PM on Dec. 28, 2008

  • I have never seen Mean Girls but have heard about the movie. I think that is an excellent suggestion to watch some tween/teen movies and discuss. But I would also not discourage her either from doing the right thing. Only to do it in a way where she is safe. In this situation enlisting a friend was not necessary. A note taped to the Principal's door would be enough. There could be a ton of ways to get the job done without a single soul knowing who was the person who told. Alcohol poisoning at that age is not hard to do. She may have saved a life. You, her, the school, her peers...they will never know what she prevented. But do watch some movies you find particularly relevant to her age and situations. Do role play with her. Do encourage her to read magazines and books about these issues. Talk to her EVERY night about her day and continue to stay involved. Oh -- KUDOS to you that your kid was not the one drinking.


    Answer by frogdawg at 8:17 PM on Dec. 28, 2008

  • cont...By the way that age is AWFUL. I know. Early on I was labeled a slut, whore, boyfriend stealer - b/c I danced with this really hot guy at a school dance that some other girls were interested in. It stuck with me for the rest of my time there - unfortunate. My suggestion is have your daughter involved in an activity outside of her school. Most people base their self-esteem off of how others view them. Show her there is a life outside of school. Dance, karate, art lessons..something with peers she is interested in. That way she has friends beyond just her school, has interests beyond just those walls, and can develop a healthy sense a self with a set of different peers who may view her much differently than the kids she sees during school hours.


    Answer by frogdawg at 8:22 PM on Dec. 28, 2008

  • How did she not get the connection-not slamming dd good for her-but did she really see no connection? Kids do not like narks and she needs to know that doing the right thing can be dangerous. if u teach her how to handle this kind of stuff, u r not leading her to be cynical you r teaching her that sometimes the right thing is the hard thing-it is what it is.Next time maybe she could tell in a way that is safer for her.

    Answer by Bearsjen at 12:31 AM on Dec. 29, 2008

  • I would talk to her about how much courage it took for her to do the right thing - because it's easy to say do the right thing, and it's easy to do it over the small stuff, but it takes real courage and integrity to do it when the stakes are high and it's something important. I would also tell her that unfortunately, sometimes doing the right thing isn't just hard at the time, it's also hard to live with, because not everyone has as strong a sense of right and wrong as they should have. Which is why it's very important for people like her to stick to their principles - the world needs more people like her. There is a quote that says "Evil happens when good people see it and do nothing" (or something like that - I don't remember it exactly.)

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 12:35 AM on Dec. 29, 2008

  • cont

    Then tell her that you also have to do what's right - which is to help protect her from any repercussions for what she did. Which is why she needs to tell you about any incidents she has with other kids - regardless of whether she sees a link in it or not. Then YOU keep track of them in writing with dates, names, etc - then, if it continues, YOU take it to the school about how she's being harassed for reporting this.
    As far as being ostracized - first - do you really want her hanging around with kids that are doing things like this? I'm thinking being ostracized by them could be a good thing. And besides, I bet there are plenty of kids at her school that don't do things like that and who will respect them for what they did.

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 12:35 AM on Dec. 29, 2008

  • I also totally agree with the get her involved in outside activities part, for the very reasons the pp listed! Her sense of self and need to belong and fit in is very strong at this age, and you want to channel that in a positive way.

    Also, I just read your question to my dh and to our dd (who is a 14 1/2 yr old freshman). They both think your sister's idea about watching that movie with her and talking to her is a good idea.

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 12:41 AM on Dec. 29, 2008

  • Girls at this age can be horrible ... the one she should keep in mind is that these girls are insecure in themselves and more then likely that is why they were doing something wrong in the first place (just wanted to fit in) I remember spending most of my junior high a loner because I had chicken pox and braces when I was 13 and I never was able to live that down. The "popular" girls would always bring it up whenever they felt threatened by me for some stupid reason or another. My favorite is they would call me a slut and I would always shut them down by asking "how can a virgin be a slut?" LOL It was a great lesson to learn but I wiah I didn't have to learn it the hard way. I got through all of it by getting involved with activities outside of school and making friends with people who didn't go to my school. It helped me a great deal!

    Answer by katsgoingkrazy at 12:51 PM on Dec. 29, 2008

  • Doing the right thing is rarely easy.
    What a tough way to learn that lesson, though.

    There are a lot of examples in history of people who were persecuted and went on doing the right thing (Jesus comes to mind).

    She might need to learn a little discretion, but sounds like you are raising a great kid!

    Answer by 3gymnastsmom at 10:55 PM on Dec. 29, 2008

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