When a parent discovers their child has become the victim of bullying, it can be difficult to keep cool.
That mixture of protective energy, hopelessness, and pity require a measured response if somebody is to avoid an emotional blow up.
But a recent post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit showed that even the coolest heads can struggle when things persist.
The Original Poster (OP), known as Glittering_Oil2705 on the site, explained
“AITA for publicly shaming my daughter’s bully’s mother after she refused to handle this situation in private?”
OP began by outlining the bullying in question.
“So, I’m [26-year-old female] and a mom to B [8-year-old female]. For a few weeks now, B. has been coming home crying because of this girl in her class, H.”
Apparently, H. has never been violent, but she is really mean to B. and it’s clearly getting to her.”
“The teacher was fortunately really nice about this and said she would read this story about bullying in class and, if necessary, talk to H. in private about the situation.”
“She did both, but unfortunately it did absolutely nothing, so the teacher asked me if I would like her to mediate a meeting between me and H.’s parents, if they agreed to it.”
“They didn’t. So basically, I had no other choice but trying to talk to them directly.”
So OP tried a different intervention.
“Some of us are in this parent group chat, which we only use for school functions, last minute needs for rides, stuff like that.”
“H.’s mom is on that group chat, so I pulled her number from there and sent her a text, explaining the situation and asking her if it was possible for her to talk to H. about it or, maybe, if she wanted to, we could all meet up to try and work it out.”
“Literally, the only answer I got from her was something along the lines of ‘This is normal kid behavior and you’ll see it when you have more parenting experience.’ ”
“I tried to talk it out further, even waited for her one day at drop off, but she pulled the ‘you’re harassing me’ card and I, not knowing what to do, stopped.”
“The bullying didn’t, though.”
But OP found a third approach
“So, this is where I might have been the a**hole. I took it to the group chat.”
“I straight up got on there and said that my daughter was being bullied and that I was only taking it to the group chat because I had tried to handle this privately and the parents (I said ‘you know who you are’) weren’t willing to do anything about it.”
The impact was only so encouraging.
“At this point, I hadn’t named any names. I immediately got an outpour of sympathy and support from other parents and a lot of ‘if it’s ever my kid, please let me know’ and it was genuinely moving.”
“Until, H.’s mom actually tried to ride that train.”
“She actually sent me a private text saying ‘we have talked about this’ in the same breath that she sent “Bullying is never okay’ and blah blah blah to the group chat.”
“I was honestly so angry I quoted her and said something like ‘you gotta be kidding me,’ which obviously gave it away.”
Things went about as you’d expect from that point.
“The group chat went crickets after that, but she sent me a chain of really angry private messages saying I had publicly humiliated her and made her look bad in front of the other parents, giving her and her child a bad reputation at this school she’ll be going to for years.”
“Honestly? I started feeling a little bad after that, but the truth is that I tried to handle the situation more maturely but she wasn’t cooperating so I almost feel vindicated.”
“Still, I’m afraid I might have been unfair to her child in the process so I’m questioning it a little. AITA?”
OP also added some additional info later on to clarify a few details.
“The bullying entailed mostly petty stuff (name-calling, belittling my child’s likes and interests), which I understand isn’t anything massive, but it’s the fact that it’s almost a daily occurrence and that it has been going on for weeks that gets to me.”
“Plus, even small things can be hurtful for an 8-year-old child, specially if done repeatedly.”
“As for why I didn’t take it up to the school administration: After the teacher said she couldn’t do anything else, I just felt like I was better off trying to handle things directly with the parents and was trying to exhaust all avenues in that way before going to the administration, which seems to be quite a process and one I don’t want to have to put my child through.”
“Still, I know going to the group chat was an impulsive action and that was why I came here asking for your opinion.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors assured OP she was not the a**hole. They pointed to the fact that she tried multiple approaches before the final group chat move.
“NTA. You tried to handle it privately but she refused. Now she and her bully can live with with the consequences of their actions.” — Malachite_Macchiato
“NTA All you did was try to resolve an issue with a parent who would not speak to you in private. You tried privately first, so this was on the other mom for not handling this appropriately when she has the chance.” — Zealousideal-Soil778
Many were quick to identify a pattern.
“Ohhh it’s impressive how the daughter takes after the mom. This is a perfect illustration of generational behavioral issues.”
“NTA; they are though” — CZT1991
“NTA – Sounds like the daughter got her bullying skills from her mother. You tried being direct with H’s parents and it went nowhere.”
“Maybe, if you’re able to, have your daughter go to therapy to learn how to deal with bullying like this. I’m sorry she’s going through this, and I hope it gets better soon!” — baggleboots
“NTA. Fellow young Mum here, just admiring your shiny, shiny spine! Sounds like a typical stuck up, older mother thinking she can bully a younger mother into accepting her little princess’ behaviour.”
“That’s how I’m interpreting the ‘experience’ comment anyway. Stick to your guns and don’t be pushed around! Go get em, sister!” — what-no-potatoes
“NTA. Now you know why the kid is a bully. She wanted to jump on the bandwagon while failing as a parent so she can face the consequences.” — Dangerfyeld
Unfortunately, no amount of Reddit support will make the other mother come around, so OP may be left encountering some drama for at least a little while longer.