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Director of Child Psychiatric Unit
Director of Child Psychiatric Unit, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 746
Experience:  PhD in Psychology, Director of Child Psychiatric Services, Mother and over 20 years as a counselor
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I have identical twins. One of my daughters was in a video.

Resolved Question:

I have identical twins. One of my daughters was in a video. 8th grade at her school. The students made commericals. One of the ads was for freak repellant. My daughter dresses in different. The child that made the video used the repellant on a child dressed like my daughter. The entire class looked at my daughter and laughed when they saw the ad. The teacher had not seen or supervised the making of the video nor screened the video before showing it to teachers, principals and students. My child was very upset and felt she was the subject.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Director of Child Psychiatric Unit replied 8 years ago.

As a therapist that works with children, and a mother myself, I certainly sympathize with your plight. She must feel chastised and alienated -- two of the worst things a child her age can experience.

You have a lot of options as to how to deal with the teacher not supervising the children and therefore allowing such a thing to happen, but your daughter's experience is of greater concern.

I'd bring up the issue when you can, and make it a point to discuss with her the intolerance her classmate displays. Intolerance is borne from a better-than-thou attitude. There's no place for equality in intolerance.

Make sure your daughter understands that this video says much more about this girl than her.

I'd make this a teachable moment about how that kind of better-than-thou attitude alienates people-- and how sad that is for the girl who made the video. That girl clearly needs to live the Middle School Queen Bee life-- and as we all know, those queen bees live on unsteady ground -- having to maintain their status -- which in 8th grade LOOKS solid -- but really is a house of cards.

I imagine these themes will resonate with your daughter-- as she already is much more brave than the others' by not dressing like one of the pack.

Your daughter's ability to not follow the crowd is an admirable trait-- teach her to cherish that about herself.

You might also want to supply her with some of the newer tween-teen books about the girls who aren't the most popular-- but are heroines in their own right. Talk to her often about how her way of living is the perfect way for her-- no matter what others think -- and for you -- KNOW that this is a normal developmental process that she is going through.

Tween-teens are desperate to not stand out-- they want to follow the crowd, be in the crowd and not be different. It's a normal part of healthy development and each child has to experience it to move through it. If they don't get through it -- they get stuck. And we all know adults who are stuck in middle-school mentality! We want your daughter to begin to look inward for her self-esteem and self-worth, but she can't do that until she experiences humiliation, embarrassment -- and all those MS horrors.

The good news is that she will surive this and come out better on the other end. I know that, because she has an involved Mom who is past this stage of life...

So, hang in there. It's horrible to watch, but it will soon end. 9th grade brings a whole other set of rules!

Hang on to my name, and feel free to email back anytime :-)

Yours in mothering daughters!

Director of Child Psychiatric Unit and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Director of Child Psychiatric Unit replied 8 years ago.
Just a short note to let you know I am always available for follow up. How is everything going? Any better?