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Confessions of a Second Grader

I decided to sit down and write this article on behalf of my little sister. When I look back at my days in grade school, I remember nothing but good things: playing on the tire swing during recess, learning how to make things float in big tubs of water and making little ceramic paper clip holders in art class. My goodness those were the days and I had the bestest friends ever! It wasn’t until middle school that I had a taste of bullying, but who didn’t? Everyone agrees that middle school is known as the “awkward” days.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until my sister started kindergarten that I realized bullying is starting at a younger age.  Yes, it’s true – it’s starting that early, and I have my little sister’s story to prove it.

My bubbly, blue-eyed, blond haired 7-year-old sister started getting picked on ever since playing with the kids in the neighborhood outside. I’m so proud of how friendly she is to everyone she meets, and she has nothing to say but good things about everyone! Sadly enough, the other kids found out right away that my sister is quite the softy and very sensitive, but way too forgiving. So as a game, they would often run away from her, hide from her and sometimes play out in front of our house, and not even ask her to come out and play. This lead to my sister to become extremely confused, come home crying and always ask me, “how come the other kids don’t like me?”

Then, once school started, I remember my sister asking me if she could have a “Disney Princess” birthday.  In my eyes, she is allowed to like Cinderella for a lot longer after 5-years-old (I’m pretty sure I wore a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt till 4th grade), but I guess the other little girls didn’t think so. She came home upset telling me that one of the girls would not come to her party unless it’s a “Hannah Montana” party. Now, I know you think this is juvenile and my little sister should have rolled her eyes at the girl, but come on! When I was 5, I didn’t care what the party theme was – I was there!

My sister is now in 2nd grade and the bullying hasn’t settled. My mother finally had an encounter with my sister’s brownie leader. The brownie leader confirmed that the other girls were in fact, bullying my sister. My mother and the brownie leader both brought up the issue to the principle, but the school failed to do anything after several attempts. With my sister falling behind in class and the high level of stress it was causing her, we pulled her out of school and into a public institution.

For two weeks now, she has had more involvement with the teacher, she’s learning faster and now being taught Spanish – COOL!

However, the principle of it all still hurts me and I’m already trying to figure out how to explain this to my little sister when she gets older. Also, another issue we will have to face down the road is whether or not we’ll send her back to the public middle school causing her to face these girls once again.

And guess what – it’s happened to even the biggest teen stars of today. Check out Bella Thorne’s video regarding her own story about being bullied. It started happening when she was 5 or 6 years old.

This isn’t just bad luck for my sister, it’s happening to a lot of kids. Every child has the right to a fabulous childhood with lots of friends and fun. What are your thoughts on this? Any recommendations for a 24 year-old sister?

You can read more from Shannon Callarman here.

  • Katy Wheeler

    I’m sorry for their cruel behavior. She’s lucky to have such a caring sister. :)

  • Kelcey Wheeler

    This story breaks my heart. When I was in elementary and middle school I got bullied a lot by the other girls. I’m 24 now too so I don’t even think about it much now (it doesn’t hurt the head mean girl bully Queen Bee from those years never left our town after high school, had 3 kids with 3 different guys, is a single mom, and is rumored to have quite the drug addiction) while I went off to college in Miami, having an exciting new career and amazing sweet boyfriend). But as much as the 7 year old girl wants me to turn the tables around and poke fun at her. she’d (the Queen Bee) sent me a friend request around Christmas while I happened to be back in my hometown, and looking at her Facebook broke my heart.

    It was mostly this one particular girl, lets call her Amanda, who was then Queen Bee. But. instead of seeing the evil Amanda who pulled out a huge chunk of my long hair i took so much pride in in 4th grade, or remembering the time we were on an overnight trip to Williamsburg, Virginia in 5th grade and she found my diary and read it outloud to everyone while I was in the showers, or the girl who in 8th grade stole my boyfriend, and told everyone the first day of high school that I’d gotten intimate with a dog over the summer, I was shocked to see how blatantly obvious how unhappy she was now and how her life had clearly spiraled out of control. (Please excuse that run on sentence!) I immediately got a message from “Amanda” asking how I was doing like we were long lost friends.

    The 7 year old girl in me who wanted to rub it in her face how great I was going, but as I tried to write a snarky response I realized all this “being the bigger person” stuff my mom would tell me when I’d come home crying when I had to get a bra in 3rd grade and Amanda came up behind me snap it, was true. I wanted to be the bigger person.

    Like your title sister, I was targeted for being a softy, too nice, and the way too forgiving thing has just gotten worse for me, but as I got older I was able to take some of those weaknesses and turn them into strong points. Amanda ended up asking if I wanted to grab coffee sometime while I was home. I was confused but agreed, and actually ended up having a good time. And at the end, when we were walking out of the coffee shop to go home (I had to pick her up in my own car because she didn’t have one and was living in a halfway house), she told me how sorry she was shed been so mean to me way back when.

    Am I still too forgiving and am I an idiot for not rubbing it in her face how well I’m doing? Maybe. But I do know it felt good to give her a hug and tell her the past was the past, to keep moving forward, and to call me if she ever needed someone to talk to.

    So whats my point? I don’t know, exactly. My parents always taught me to treat everyone like I’d want to be treated and the mind of a bully doesn’t make sense to me. I’d be heartbroken to have a little sister going trough that (I’m the youngest in my family). I’d say the best advice is to just be her big sister, give her lots of love. Tell her it gets better, because it does. And give her a big hug from me. Bullying is terrible and thankfully its being brought to attention more now than it did when we were in grade school.

    • Courteney Georgina

      Being forgiving years later is admirable. I was a bully in high school (not to the extent of some of the stories I read thank god, but still I was not a nice person), and I have since gone back (I’m almost 24 now) and tried to apologize to many of those whom I hurt. I truly do regret how I acted and the person that I was, and I truly have changed. In the same way that a seven year old might now understand that those other people who are bullying them dont matter and that the opinions of others are unimportant , I was young and stupid enough to not understand how much I was hurting others. I was going through a lot, and ultimately the way I was acting is not a true reflection of who I am. No one ever called me on my bullying or even tried to make me stop and I honestly believe that I would have (after all I figured it out on my own by the time I was 17). So thank you for being forgiving–it probably did good for everyone involved.

  • Alexis Paquette

    I’m glad I read this story.

    Shannon, I also have a much younger sister–and from the way you describe your sister, she sounds a lot like mine–so I empathize with your plight. Here’s a story I hope might help:

    When I was in elementary school and middle school, I WAS the bully. Consciously or otherwise, I bullied other girls because I thought the only way to stay ahead and not be bullied myself was to be the bully first.

    Then I had to go to a different high school than all the kids I’d grown up with. Suddenly I was the underdog. I had to be nice to people, because I had no friends to fall back on.

    Fortunately for me, this school was filled with an entirely different personality of students than my last one–they were all nice back. And they stayed nice. After I’d been there a year, I forgot how to be a bully.

    Then, one day I was freshening my makeup in the restroom between classes, and an upperclassman walked out from one of the stalls. She joined me at the sink and she said, without even really looking up:

    “Thanks for always being nice to my sister. I know some of the other girls have been mean to her, since she was always homeschooled and doesn’t know how high school works. Sometimes she comes home crying and wants to quit, but she always says you’re nice to her.”

    I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even know that this older girl knew my name, and here she was telling me that I was one of the only underclassmen–in a school filled with people I saw as nice, good people–she approved of, because I was nice to her sister.

    I knew exactly who her sister was. I didn’t think I’d ever been especially nice to her. Just pleasant. I didn’t even really know she was having a hard time. But after that, I made a special point to always say hi to her, to sit with her when I saw her alone, and to help her when I knew she was struggling in one of her classes.

    It had a big impact on me (a) to have someone older (not teacher age–“cool” older age) single me out, and (b) to have that person tell me that I was doing something right. It really encouraged me to keep doing right, and to do it even better.

    I know you’re not in school with your sister, but you’re in a special position to help her, anyway. If you know that one or two people in your sister’s life who are still nice to her, you can encourage them to keep at it. Not ask them to pity her, just tell them that you appreciate what they’re doing. They might not even know she’s having a hard time; it might need to be pointed out for them.

    That girl who was bullied at my school ended up becoming best friends with the most popular girl in her class. They graduated several years ago and went to different schools, but they’re still friends.

    Your sister can break out of the cycle. She might just need a little help from her big sis.

  • Shannon May

    Thanks everyone for their kind words! It makes me feel less alone when I listen to other people’s stories about bullying. Kelcey – you are so right, it does get better and I really do believe there is nothing more powerful than forgiveness. I admire the girls who were the bullies that stood up and apologized (when we’re young, we have all done silly mistakes, but thats part of growing up) and for the people who have been bullied – forgiveness is the best way to achieve closure and move on from the painful things we had to go through. Thanks again ladies for taking the time and sharing your stories! Stay fabulous <3

  • Nindya Kirana Wiranegara

    I feel your sister’s pain.. I once had a group of friends who did the same thing like running away and playing without asking me to join them. But somehow it’s been my motivation to strive for the best as I want to show them that I can be waaaaaay better then them and yes now i’m academically better and im happy ( i wanna say ‘successful’ but i still have so many things to accomplish :p) so I hope the experience will somehow toughen up your sister :)

    • Shannon May

      Your story is very inspiring! That’s how I’ve been approacing my sister’s situation. I try to stay optimistic and look at all this drama as a blessing in disguise. Maybe this will drive her to become a strong, smart young girl. Thanks for commenting! I wish you great success :)

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