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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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My 13yo daughter has two best friends. They spent all of last

Customer Question

My 13yo daughter has two best friends. They spent all of last week in petty tortures such as exclusion, telling loud untruthful stories at lunch, spreading rumors, defacing her locker, and doing subtle Facebook digs. The culmination was a breaking up of the friendship that was scheduled well in advance to make sure she was humiliated and hurt in public. It now seems to be settling down into smaller episodes and I’m hoping they’ll become bored with their new game. Obviously I don’t want my daughter to continue associating with these girls. My question, though, is what to say to the girls’ mothers, who are my friends. I would want to know if my child was acting so sadistic. I’m afraid, though, that telling them will result in punishments that will give these girls cause to seek revenge on my daughter and hurt her further. Her well being is foremost in my mind. Should I tell the mothers?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.

If the mothers are your friends, then you should be able to be completely open and honest with them about the events that have transpired. Another option would be to have a group meeting with all of the mothers and their daughters and put everything out there on the table. Honesty is always the best policy. The second option may be difficult to do but it will clear any misconceptions. Everyone will be able to state their feelings which might be beneficial for all. The meeting must end on a positive note with no hard feelings.


I hope that this has helped . If so , please ACCEPT. Thank you and have a great day!!!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I realize that you are trying to help and maybe I didn't explain well. But you seem to have no understanding of how a serial bully behaves. They are charming, manipulative, and lie with great ease. Then they seek revenge. Bullying isn't a simple misunderstanding between well adjusted people. You can't fix bullying by expressing your feelings. A bully has personality problems and takes great pleasure in cruelty. Explaining how they've hurt your feelings only feeds them.
Expert:  Jennifer replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using! I wonder if this is something that has been brought to the attention of your daughter's school counselor or school psychologist? Relational aggression is certainly rampant in the schools and I imagine this behavior is happening in the school setting as well as after school hours. If that's the case, the counselor or psych would be an appropriate resource. They may have suggestions for how to tackle the problem and may even be willing to call the mothers for you to ensure they know that these behaviors have been reported. Not only would meeting with the counselor give your daughter a trusted adult at school, it would allow her the ability to talk freely in a confidential setting about how all of this is affecting her. Having a third party contact the other mothers might alleviate the strain it could put on your friendships and alleviate any possible repercussions it could have on your daughter. The school counselor or psych would know not to approach this as "she reported that..." but instead might present it as something the teacher has reported observing or rumors that have been circulating among the students in your daughter's class.

You may also consider reporting this behavior to the school principal as relational aggression falls under the anti-bullying policies in most schools. There are disciplinary guidelines around this behavior should it happen again in the future. Perhaps you could report it as something to be on the watch for (teachers / staff) so that if they're caught in the act it can be dealt with right away.

Keep in mind that whatever the school staff decide to do will likely be kept confidential. Just as they can't tell the other mothers what they've discussed with you, they won't be able to share what they discuss with them. This is often the most difficult part about leaving interventions to school personnel. If you continue to see a problem, report that as well so they know a more intensive intervention is necessary.
Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience: Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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