Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Is this bullying?

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,       

My daughter, Tiffany, came home and said she thought she was bullied today because someone was really mean to her and said they were going to hurt her or drag her into the street and leave her there because she is ugly and stupid. Tiffany is very shy--but athletic and cute. She has fairly good grades. Why would someone say something like this to her?

I asked if she reported it to the school or a teacher? She said no and after a lot of reluctance she finally agreed to let my husband and I go to the principal and report it. So we did and she said that our daughter must be mistaken because the student she said did this to her was known for being nice and liked by all the teachers and classmates.

I told them my daughter does not make up stories. I asked if the teacher noticed anything and they called the teacher into the meeting. The teacher said Tiffany must have been overly sensitive and dismissed the whole thing.

Then I found out, by chance, at an HOA meeting, that another girl was taunted by this same girl in the same way. Her daughter said the mean girl was like this to a lot of girls but she acts nice around everyone so no one says anything.

This happened a couple of weeks ago and neither my daughter nor the other girl has had anymore incidents occur.

But my daughter is still scared and embarrassed. Should we go back and tell the school?


Is This Bullying?

Dear Is This Bullying?

If a person “thinks” they have been bullied, they usually have not been. Most often one incident of this sort isn’t bullying … it is just mean behavior. Here’s what we believe is the definition of bullying and the types of bullying:

  • Physical attacks-hitting, pinching, kicking, tripping, scratching, biting, spitting, throwing food on purpose etc.
  • Damaging property (on purpose)
  • Verbal-name calling-racist, sexist, homophobic jokes or imitations, teasing, sexually suggestive remarks, abusive language, offensive looks and remarks
  • Emotional-gossiping (true or not), exclusion on purpose, hateful rumoring, abusive emails, texts
  • Cyber-bullying-texts, pictures, videos, calls, chat rooms, IM, through websites
Bullying is CONSTANT and repeated (by one or several) with the intention to harm and/ or gain something i.e. power, popularity, and sexual magnetism from one person by another or several

What is the main reason our children and youth are being bullied? Revenge & jealousy

The problem Tiffany has when she hears mean comments as a shy girl who has not yet developed is that she becomes more vulnerable to becoming a victim and not finding her identity and leadership capabilities.

Please help her learn to Define Yourself Before Others Do ™ by listing her internal/ external talents i.e. kindness, generosity, cheerfulness or piano playing, soccer, or dancing and also practicing presentation skills such as standing straight and having eye-contact, self-assurance, and focus on others. These are attributes that will help her be a strong leader and not become bullied and/ or stay one.

Have her discover a good friend or two and a support team of mentors from her church, school, or community and she’ll soon be focused on others and feel a greater sense of self-worth.


Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Monday, January 19, 2015

Virgin No More

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                                                        

I had a great time when I was young until I was 13 and my mom and dad (who I thought had a perfect marriage … we all ate together and stuff like that), got divorced.

I had to choose who to live with and that made my dad really mad because I went with my mom. My mom went crazy and started drinking and junk like that and sleeping with guys and left me alone all the time. I didn’t do any of those things until last year when I was 14.

So, yeah, I started partying and my good grades went off the charts. I gained weight and I had a boyfriend when I was 13 but he kept bugging me to sleep with him and I didn’t. Then when I went to high school he said he never was my boyfriend! It really really hurt my feelings when he started calling me fat and that I look like a boy. He kept saying he never dated me. All his friends started writing that crap on Face Book and stuff. So I just kept numbing out with drugs.

Now I was put into rehab and my dad did it. My mom is really the one who needed to go so I’m kinda mad at my dad for that … he makes me feel like I’m a criminal or something like that, so yeah.

The reason my dad finally did that is when I told him that that guy, who I thought used to like me, came to my bedroom window late one night and got me to come outside. All he said was, “I’m gonna have sex with you” and I let him. I was a virgin and I don’t know why I let him do that. Then he kept ignoring me and bullying me at school and on Face Book. But I don’t wanna tell anyone.

I hate myself. I’m fat and ugly and no one loves me.

Virgin No More

Dear Virgin No More,

First, you need to know that a “perfect” marriage does not exist! We are all imperfect but remember we are perfectly loved by our Lord. Don’t carry that heavy burden with you anymore. 

You have experienced great losses. Loosing your mom and your family (in essence) also means you don’t feel their nurturing and love anymore. Your dad is showing anger at you which you did not cause and you don’t deserve. You lost a boyfriend that wasn’t ever really a boyfriend and you have lost your self-worth. You need to grieve instead of “numbing-out” and you need to remember that you are still worthy of being loved, nurtured and cared about regardless of the actions of others and even your actions while under great distress.
Start helping yourself with grooming. Start caring about how you look on the outside because it projects how you feel on the inside. It will help you to not be as vulnerable to bullying.

Betrayal is a very hard emotion to take on your young shoulders. We are happy for you; however, because your dad showed nurturing and love by getting you help in a rehab facility. If you are not receiving private counseling, you are old enough to seek that with or without your dad’s permission. He may be very happy that you want professional help with grieving.

It may not feel like your dad did anything besides get angry but we know that he did take a positive action step for you. He is probably projecting anger onto you instead of those that he really feels anger towards.

Your mom and dad are grieving their losses too … not that we excuse their behavior and self-centeredness. Your mom grieves with drugs and sex and your dad with anger. However, you are taking that upon you as if it’s your shame. You are carrying shame around that you never wanted and don’t deserve.

You cannot change your mom, dad, or that guy that hurt you badly. Take time out everyday to pray, or ponder the goodness in you, and forgive yourself. Write down all the shame you feel and give it back to your parents who hurt you and the boy who bullied you and release your fears and pain.

If you can’t or aren’t willing to actually give it back to your parents and the boy, write it down and tear it up and flush it down the toilet! You are worthy of being loved by virtue of being a child of our Heavenly Father. You were born with goodness, love, and innocence. Grab those good attributes back and write a love letter to yourself. Reread your letter in the mirror every morning to affirm that you are a great being and your job here is to forgive, define yourself and become a grand leader.


Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Monday, January 12, 2015

Distressed Dad with a Suicidal Daughter

Dear Readers,                                                                                           

We want to wish you a Happy New Year and we hope that your holidays were filled with love, forgiveness, and true joy.

The following is our first letter of the year 2015 (We change names and details to keep the letter writers anonymous):

Dear Rhonda,

I’m a dad who has sole custody of my daughter Janice (along with my mom). My daughter’s mom isn’t in the picture.

It’s been hard on my daughter and she’s a beautiful 14 year old who is in the 8th grade. She has been bullied non-stop on Facebook and her phone by a former friend who is jealous of her and has rallied others girls at her school to join her.

She wants to change schools now, even though it would be almost impossible for me to take her to another school because I have to be at work too early. I asked her to hang on until the next school year when we can easily change her high school and she would be able to get a ride from my friend’s daughter. It’s a Christian school.

She has told me and her grandma several times that she feels like committing suicide. My mom thinks she is blowing things way out of proportion. She tells Janice to just ignore the threats and messages calling her a whore and a slut etc. Janice is a virgin (as far as I know).

We went to the school but they did nothing and said both girls were just drama queens.

What do you think is the right answer?

Distressed Dad with a Suicidal Daughter

Dear Distressed Dad with a Suicidal Daughter,

Two thoughts come to our minds first:

Is she willing to talk with you about boys and her sex life? She may have experimented and feels badly about herself. If she’s willing to tell you that she is having thoughts about suicide, hopefully she will talk with you and your mom about further details in her life and how you may help her.

Next, we want to tell you that it may not seem to you and your mom that she will really try to commit suicide but it happens all the time. Suicides between the ages of 10-14 have risen 100% in the last several years. You need to take her comments seriously and realize that a suicide is never convenient.

If you are serious about changing her schools and she wants to change her school, then it would be a great choice. It would show her that she is your first priority.

Then you need to also have her off Facebook for six months to a year (or until she is an adult). Monitor her phone or take it away and tell her that she is not being punished but she is being protected by you.

Please ask your mom to go to our website and read other letters about suicide and/ or go to websites with statistics on bullying suicide rates for young girls. Suicide seems like a real viable option to young girls who are depressed from loss of family members, friends and her identity. Losing her mom is a great loss and she needs to feel validation that it is okay to grieve that loss.

Her teenage development is going to be strained if she does not learn how to identify who she is and how precious she is in the eyes of God. She seems open to receiving religious help and mentoring, if she’s willing to attend a Christian school, and we want to encourage you to do everything it takes to get her to another school and to receive help learning how to define herself instead of letting others define her as worthless and bad. 

Please take actions now.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri