If you caught your child bullying another student, what would you do? You could enforce punishments and give them a good scolding, but how would you correct their behavior to make sure that they understood why their behavior was so wrong? How do you prevent them from turning around and doing it again? This frustrated dad found out that his daughter was the center of a massive bullying ring…THIS is his story.
My daughter Callie is, to me, one of the sweetest people I know. She gets good grades, has lovely friends, and still finds time to be a wonderful loving daughter. I have never had to ground her in high school, and she had never given me reason to believe she is acting out.
I am a single dad of 3 girls. It is tough, but I thought we were doing okay. Callie is the oldest.
I got a phone call from a crying mother today telling me that my daughter was involved in harassing another girl at her school. Callie and her friends took pictures of the girl in “funny” poses, such as bending over to pick something up and her butt crack was showing. The girl is over weight and I think a lot of the pictures had to do with fat shaming…
The mother said that her daughter tried to slit her wrists this morning and was in the hospital.
I have gone through her computer. Sure enough, she has a folder on her desktop labeled “fatty.” And it is all pictures of this girl. I don’t have proof that she created the anonymous Facebook account, but I think it proves that it was her just by the pictures being on her computer.
Callie is at the beach today and should be home in a few hours. I am so mad, I don’t know what to do. I have always taught her to be kind and respectful to others, and I feel like I don’t even know her. From what I have heard, Callie was the ring leader in all of this…
Callie was scheduled to get home at 8:30pm. I get a call at 8:15pm from her. She said she was going to stay at a friend’s house overnight. I said “no, I need you to come home right now.” She said “I’m already here! Bye!” And hung up. I decided to go get her instead of arguing over the phone. I went to the friends house, it was empty. I started calling the the parents of er friends and finally someone’s brother picked up and said they were at the park.
Sure enough, I go to the park and there are about 30 kids there around a fire pit. I see her with a solo cup standing next to a beer keg.
I don’t usually get angry… but I had had enough. I went straight up to her and told her that I was not going to make a scene, but she needed to get in the car with me. She turned into another person.
“I’m almost 18! You can’t do this to me! You are embarrassing me!” This was not my daughter, it couldn’t be.
I snapped. I’m not sure what I said, but it was along the lines of: You should be embarrassed! You put a girl in the hospital because of what you and your friends have been up to and now you have lied to me and you are drinking alcohol underage. Your mother would be so ashamed of you, I don’t even know who you are anymore.
I caused quite a fuss, so she got in the car and she is home now. I have taken away all electronics (laptop, cell phone, tv privileges). I told her she needed to log into the anonymous facebook and post a message apologizing and naming herself as the person who posted the pictures. When she logged in, I immediately looked through her posts. It wasn’t just one person she had posted about. This Facebook page was dedicated to making fun of the “nerds and loners” of the school. There must have been 50 pictures with hundreds of comments.
She posted the apology and then I made it clear that she was not to do anything for the rest of the summer. All plans are cancelled until further notice. She can use the land line phone if she needs to, but only when I am there.
Other consequences I am enforcing: Mandatory therapy once a week. Community service (still researching that, and looking for advice about it.) When the girl gets out of the hospital, Callie is going to apologize to her and her family. I have taken the door of her room off its hinges. No privacy for a while.
Everything in the house that she has as a luxury is gone. This includes: all the expensive chemicals for skins and hair that I have bought her. I gave her simple shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion. Otherwise it is all in the garage. She also lost her makeup (don’t know if I will keep this enforced). I took everything out of her bedroom that she uses, and she basically only has books and her keyboard piano. I have told her to catch up on reading and to try practicing the piano that she begged for and then never used.
I told her to take the night and think things over. If she wants to fight me on everything tomorrow morning, then I will add more restrictions. If she takes her punishment and agrees to these terms, then I will consider how long the duration should be.
In an update that he later deleted for her privacy, he stated that they were discussing different options for her punishment as she is very near adulthood, being 17. She agreed to get a job in order to purchase a new phone and to get started on her “adult” life. She will be saving up for a car, she is volunteering in her free time, and she is looking into transferring to a new school to start over with a clean slate for her senior year. He did give her makeup back, and after a month she was able to “earn” back her door by helping her little sisters with their homework and chores.
It later came to light that the girl being bullied had bullied his daughter in middle school. Although it gave him some comfort to know that her bullying was provoked, he was disgusted that she would take the path of revenge and turn against so many people. Do you think this dad’s approach was correct, or should he have done this entirely differently?
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