Ask Paula

Written By Paula Lemme

Dear Paula,

My daughter is 13 and in 8th grade. She started having some trouble in school for the first time this year. The problem seems to be that many of her “friends” at school have hit puberty over the summer. Their bodies are changing, and apparently they have all become boy crazy. My daughter hasn’t reached that point yet. She is small and looks young for her age, and puberty is taking its time with her. The girls at school started teasing her when she admitted that she doesn’t find anybody attractive there. They started calling her names and laughing at her at the lunch table. Needless to say that she was crushed and embarrassed.

Since that day, she told me that she has been pretending to like someone so that they don’t tease her anymore. Now it seems that some of these kids have told the boy and he has reacted unfavorably toward her. The teasing has become a bit meaner since then. I want to help her, but she cries and says that I will only make it worse. I don’t want her to be mad at me, but I can’t take watching her suffer like this.

It takes all of my willpower to not go to the school and fuss at these children! Do you have any ideas?

~Mom with a vengeance

Oh Vengeful Mother,

I am so sorry that your daughter has to deal with this, and I understand how difficult this must be for the both of you! I would say that you definitely should not confront the kids responsible for your girl’s woe. I do believe that she is telling you the truth and that it will only make it worse. You CAN, on the other hand, send an email to the teachers that your young teen has classes with. They could probably direct you to the teachers that monitor her lunch period. I think they would be able to help keep an eye out during lunch time to at least check the mood at the table, or on your daughter’s face. Then, if things seem amiss, they can be the ones checking up on her. Not her Mother.

The other thing I recommend:

Remind your daughter that when people treat her this way, they are NOT her friends! That being said, she is on the path to becoming a courageous woman who has already shown signs of thinking fast on her feet. Although things didn’t work out in the best way (and rarely does lying work), she tried to diffuse the situation on her own. Let her know that even if her body doesn’t show it yet, her brain is on its way to growing up! Instill confidence that seems to be lurking inside of that kid.



Have questions? Problems? Nagging thoughts or in-laws? Write to me with your quandaries at Nothing will be laughed at or go unconsidered!

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