Dear Amy: My beautiful 11-year-old niece is being bullied at school. She is very petite, so other children make fun of her size.
She has learned to ignore this, but yesterday this teasing escalated to the point where a fellow student told her she was going to be beaten up.
My niece has talked to the teachers and school counselor, but now she has the reputation of being a snitch, so she doesn’t want to take that route again.
Things are so bad for her that she gets knots in her stomach and a headache every school day and doesn’t want to go back to school. Her parents, my husband and I are at a loss as to what to tell her. Do you have any suggestions on how we can help her?
Your niece’s parents should be all over this issue with the school. The child who made this threat should be dealt with (and the child’s parents should be called in).
Your niece did the right thing by taking this to adults at school, and now the other adults in her life should rally behind and beside her to assure her that you are on her side as you help her to tackle this.
You and her parents can encourage your niece to get involved in activities to build and bolster her self-esteem. Dance, gymnastics, swimming and other sports can help her to feel strong despite her size. These activities will also introduce her to other kids outside of the classroom.
Academic teams, the Girl Scouts, music and theater will help her to feel more confident. You can also help her by telling stories from your own life. You can ask her to describe her feelings and review strategies for dealing with them.
Friendship is an ideal antidote to bullying. Help to foster friendships at and outside of school.
“Fired” was a customer service representative who was fired for being rude to a customer after that customer tweeted a complaint about her.
This letter seems to have hit a nerve among the “pro-rudeness” constituency. I hope you will finally print the contrary view.
If you could choose between Store A, whose salespeople are always courteous and efficient, and Store B, whose salespeople are usually courteous and efficient, you would choose Store A every time.
Fired admitted that she was rude to a customer, but she blames the customer for complaining to the store management. Meanwhile, the customer, who has many choices, may never come back to that store.
The store not only rid itself of a bad apple, but also signaled to all of its employees that courtesy to customers is not optional.
Fired could learn that actions have consequences (and be a better person) or could choose to learn the wrong lesson: that other people need to show her more courtesy than she shows them. She has chosen the wrong lesson.
Incidentally, the fact that the complaint was in the form of a tweet is not relevant. Also, the consequences were not “disastrous.” Someone more deserving got the job — a net gain.
You make excellent points. Customers have choices to make. And businesses can and should train their representatives to be professional, and discipline them when they are not.
You say the fact that this complaint was sent out through Twitter isn’t relevant. And yet, that is the focus of my concern.
A tweet not only is sent to the writer’s “followers” but can also fly around the Internet with lightning speed, “poisoning the well,” so to speak, with unsubstantiated, disproportionate, negative (and personal) attacks. I thought “Fired” made an excellent suggestion: Count to 10 before you tweet.
“Mother of the Groom” was wondering how to dance with her son at his wedding because she uses a wheelchair.
I was a bride with a father whose physical mobility is severely compromised. The “traditional” father-daughter dance was out of the question.
My brother graciously agreed to dance with me on my wedding day, and my father couldn’t have been prouder as he looked on.
Been There Bride in Wis.
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