Hello, mini-women! We did a lot of great work on the So Not Okay, Join the Tribelet page! While the focus of the page is changing from interactive to instructive (How to form a tribelet!) we wanted to make sure that you have access to all of the amazing questions and answers that we discovered together, so welcome to the archive! You’ll have a library of sisterly advice at your fingertips, whenever you need it. Thanks so much for being a part of something that was so special for us all. Love you, mini-women! -Elder Melle
QUESTION FOR THE ELDERS: I am homeschooled and want to stop bullying so what should I do?
Kaelyn- Great question. Home schooling doesn’t limit your ability to participate. Bullying happens in lots of places, not just school. Maybe you have a sibling or relative who sometimes bullies, or maybe you find that you occasionally bully someone in your family? Some of our other tribelet members have experienced bullying at church, online, or out in the world. No matter where you are, you can step up, and step in. Check out some of the stories on our WHAT IS SO OKAY section. Browse the DOWNLOADABLES for tools to help you on your path, and head over to WEDNESDAYS WITH NANCY to join other girls just like you, our tribelet, to connect, share stories, and get advice from your peers. We are so very glad to have you! Blessings- Elder Melle
Question for the Elders: I have a younger brother who I love a lot. The only thing is sometimes I hit him, or say hurtful things to him. I try not to be so mean to him, but it seems like I’m always hurting him physically, or spiritually. Do you all have any tips to STOP being so mean?
Dear Halle Belle,
Brothers can push their sisters’ buttons harder (and more often!) than just about anybody else, especially younger ones. I didn’t have a younger brother, but I’ve known plenty of girls who do and I’ve seen those boy siblings in action. I want to throttle them and I’m not even their sister! SO – wanting to flush your brother down the toilet is understandable. Actually doing it, not so much. Here’s the thing about feelings: we can’t help what we feel; feelings just happen. It’s what we DO with those feelings that matters. How do you keep from giving in to the urge to smack your bro or tell him you wish he had never been born? These are the things that work for sisters I’ve talked to:
(1) Admit to yourself (not to him) that he makes you nuts. You have to own a feeling before you can deal with it.
(2) Don’t beat yourself up for wishing he would just GO AWAY! Again, feelings and thoughts come before we can tell them not to.
(3) Before the next time you’re likely to get into it with him (does it usually happen at 4 in the afternoon? In the morning when you’re getting ready to go to co-op? at night when he’s hogging the bathroom?) think about WHY you get those feelings. Are you maybe a little jealous because he’s the youngest and gets away with more stuff? Do you resent that he’s cute, smart, funny? Does he not respect you the way you think you should be respected as his older sister? Do you not have enough privacy? Are you sick of having to look after him? Make a list in your Talking To God Journal.
(4) Talk to somebody about those feelings. Maybe your mom – or your dad, since he was a boy once. Or one of your older brothers. Don’t go on and on about what an absurd little creep your brother is. Stick to the reasons for YOUR feelings.
(5) You are the only person you can change. You won’t be changing the kid, so don’t try. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, out loud, “I am not the Mean Sister anymore. That’s not who I want to be and that’s not who I’m going to be.” Do it every day. Until you like that girl who looks back at you. Blessings- Nancy
Question for the Elders: There is a girl in my class who bullied a few years back. Occasionally she does it again. But now, when I look at her, she acts afraid . I have lost my temper at her before and she knows she is going to get told off is she bullies me again. Is that the problem?
Answer: Dear Medomfo, Maybe this girl is afraid that you are still mad at her for the way she bullied people in the past. Can you try to think of a way to kindly let her know you forgave her? This girl might be afraid that she caused you not to like her because of the mean things she said before, and because it upset you. Maybe she just needs to know that you are willing to be a friend to her.
Proverbs 15:1 says that “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.”
Next time, if she bullies someone, maybe getting mad at her isn’t the best option. If you kindly said something like “hey, I don’t think that was a nice thing to say.”, she is more likely to respond to the kind answer than to being told off. Usually angry responses to bullying don’t help the situation. Show her God’s love in YOU! I know you have it in you. I’ll be praying for you! Hope this helped! Your Friend, Haylee
Question for the Elders: what bible verses would you give to the bully?
Answer: Dear Medomfo, You asked what Bible verses I would give to the bully, and I feel like I’m not giving you the answer you’re necessarily looking for when I say I wouldn’t. I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for digging into the Word and finding some amazing verses applicable to a bullying situation. I’m also not saying that the Bible doesn’t say some incredible things about guarding the tongue, being kind to others, loving your neighbor and respect, because it totally does.
Question for the Elders: Hi, This isn’t really about me, but my brother. He has ADHD, ADD, and some other stuff. Some of my friends say “What a baby.” when he gets mad, and “Ugh, why won’t he just shush.” This really hurts my feelings when they say that about my brother. What do I do about this? There my friends so I don’t want to hurt their feelings.
Answer: Leah- That is a really great question, and a really great teachable moment for your friends. It is important for people to be aware of disabilities, both psychological, and physical. If these friends are genuine, then they should be more than willing to listen. Explain to them what is going on with your brother in a way that helps them to understand. Remind them that all people are different, all brains are different, and just because someone has limitations that doesn’t make it okay to pick on them. Even if they are only rude about his behavior to you, and not to him, that is still not alright, and they need to know that. Think of this as a chance to be an ambassador for kids with ADHD. The more that you help others to really understand the condition, the fewer kids who are likely to be bullied. All people, not just kids, tend to mock or fear things that they don’t understand. ADHD is a real medical condition. Your brother deserves empathy and respect. I think that you can help others to see that. Here is a link to a great video on ADHD. Maybe you could watch it with your friends?
The issue of ADHD and bullying is very near and dear to my heart. My husband, and my oldest child both have it. There are so many ways that it manifests as a total superpower, but it can also be debilitating, disheartening, and make people a target for ridicule and shame. I chose to handle it the way that I am suggesting to you. The more I know, the more I can help others to understand. ADHD, like autism, like OCD, like Asperger’s is very real, and very challenging to both the person living with it, and the people living with them. I encourage you to become the voice of knowledge, empathy, and fairness on this issue. It might make a huge change in your life, and his. Love and Light- Elder Melle
QUESTION FOR THE ELDERS: Question for the Elders: My best friend sometimes bullies me. I try to stand up, but he doesn’t listen. What should I do?
ANSWER: Izzy, That’s a great question! I’d make sure you’ve sat down and explained to your friend how what he’s doing makes you feel. If he’s really your best friend, he’ll understand and won’t do anything that will keep hurting you. It’s normal for friends to get into arguments sometimes but bullying among friends isn’t ok.
QUESTION FOR THE ELDERS: Hi, i am eleven years old and live in Poland, Ohio. I love your books, So Not Okay, and You Can’t Sit With Us. May I offer some new material? There is this girl in my class who is like Kylie in your books. She teases me all the time. She always tells me to go die, in a hole and, stuff like that. She acts like an angel in front of teachers, but shes such a snob! Yesterday I came into school with my headphones on, and she ask what I was listening to. So I said, “Toby Mac, way beyond me.” She asked me, “Is that church music?” So i said, “yes,” and she told me to stop being such a “church girl.” She always asks me why I wear the same shoes everyday, and why I have friends that are boys. So, I told her that most of the time boys are better friends than girls because they don’t say stupid things that hurt your feelings. She always sends notes to her “friend.” I have friends named E and A the mean girl asks why I am friends with E because shes “so ugly.” She glares at me all the time, like I am sick. She tells me I’m a nerd. Once, she shoved me on top of a locker. She calls me “Gail” because my name is Abigail. It is so annoying. She draws really hurtful pics of me and tapes them on my locker. Now she takes things out of my desk when i get up and won’t give them back. When I tell her to give it back she says I’m the meanest person in the world. I’ve seen her on her phone and she asks why I don’t have one. When i sit at my desk she hits me on the head hard and says shes just “petting me,” since i look like a dead dog. She steps on my shoes “nudges me” and calls me a loser on “accident”. I am on crutches because I tore a ligament, and she calls me a “lame loser.” She said I got injured on purpose so I can get out of gym class. Whenever I try to defend myself, she threatens to tell the principal. Now she’s started teasing my friends M because shes short. Reply back soon. -Abigail
ANSWER: Thank you so much for reaching out. I’m incredibly sorry this is happening to you, and I think I can help.
A) KNOW that nothing this girls says is about who YOU are. It’s about who SHE is. Something is seriously going on with a person who will treat another human being (you) this way. She’s taking all the anger and hurt and even hate she feels inside over something in her life out on you.
B) SO, nothing she says about you is true. You are not “sick” or a “nerd” (unless you want to be – there’s nothing wrong with being a nerd!) or “mean” or a “dead dog” or a “lame loser.” Don’t believe a word of it. Again, this is about what’s going on with her.
C) This is not your fault. Don’t think for a minute that you’ve done something to “make” her treat you like this. She has chosen to call you names and take your stuff and even hit you – that is always wrong and would be even if you had done it to her first. Don’t blame yourself.
D) In terms of the name-calling: don’t call her names back; don’t respond with things like, “Why are you calling me that! It hurts my feelings!”; don’t just ignore her. DO look her right in the eye and say, “I don’t know why you say all this stuff to me, but I want you to know it doesn’t affect me one bit. I know who I am.” THEN ignore her.
E) When it comes to her taking your stuff and not giving it back, that’s stealing. It needs to be reported. You just go to the nearest adult and say, “I want to report a theft.” IF she says, “I was just kidding,” simply say, “I’m not laughing.” Take what’s yours and THEN ignore her.
F) When it comes to her shoving you, hitting you, and “nudging” you – that’s physical abuse and needs to be reported. Reporting isn’t the same as “tattling”. When you tattle, you do it to get someone IN trouble. When you report, you do it to get someone OUT of trouble – in this case, you. You can simply go to an adult and say, “I’m being hit and pushed and shoved and it’s interfering with me being here at school. I need for someone to stop it.” It is SO not okay for you to be physically hurt in your learning environment.
G) You are not alone in this. Look around. Who else does she bully this way? Can you and the other girls form a Tribelet? It’s so much easier to handle this when you have allies. You won’t become a bully gang yourselves. There is just safety in numbers. Check out the “Form Your Own Tribelet” section here on the website. Check in with us every Wednesday afternoon on After School Wednesdays, which you can get to through this website. Don’t try to handle this by yourself.
H) Where is your grown up support in this? Have you talked to anyone about it? You need all the support you can get.
I) Meanwhile, pray for this girl. I know that sounds ridiculous, but even if it doesn’t change her, it changes you. You’ll start to see that she has no power over you. You have the power to be yourself, Abigail. Hold that beautiful head up high. Blessings- Nancy
2. QUESTION FOR THE ELDERS: My brother and I argue a lot, and some times what he says hurts me. The other night I had a dream where my brother said something that hurt me. I woke up crying. I told my mom the next day.She said it was right of me to tell her, and I’m glad I did.I’ve been praying for what I should do, and for my brother.I know he’s hurting, and has some struggles. I was wondering if you have and advice, and would be praying about this? Is this bullying?- Halle Belle
ANSWER: Dear Halle, Yes, this is definitely bullying, because it goes on and on and because it hurts you to the core. Some people might tell you that it’s just a brother being a brother, but deliberately saying things to get to you, again and again, goes beyond just a sibling being a jerk. You’ve already done some things very right. (1) You listened to what your dream is telling you: this is a bad situation (2) You went to your mom. It’s important to remember that you’re not in this alone. (3) You’ve realized that your brother has some issues that are causing him to treat you like a doormat. (4) You’ve asked for prayer because that’s obviously important in your life. What to do now? A few suggestions: (a) Remember that nothing he is saying about you is true; this is his stuff, not yours; (b) have a one-liner ready so the next time he starts in on you, you can say something like, “I know you have stuff going on, but I’m not going to let you take it out on me any more,” and walk away. NO tears. No raised voice. Just calm and clear; (c) never, ever say something hurtful back to him; that only escalates things; (d) just because you love him and he’s your brother doesn’t mean you have to like his behavior; what would you do with someone outside the family whose behavior you didn’t like? You’d avoid them. It’s okay to steer clear of Brother as often as possible while he’s working on his stuff. That’s hard in a household, but you can probably get your mom’s help with that. You sound like a wise young woman. He’s lucky to have you for a sister. Blessings- Nancy
QUESTION FOR THE ELDERS: I’m not sure if I have been the bully before. I am slightly bossy, annoying, controlling… okay maybe a lot. But how do you know for sure if you have been a bully?
ANSWER: You’re pretty brave to look at yourself and wonder, “Am I a bully?” Here are some symptoms to look for to tell you if you’re heading in the mean direction:
A) There’s always an argument or drama going on among your friends, and you realize you start most of it
B) Your friends seems to be a little bit of afraid of you. Come to think of it, so do other people.
C) You make demands on your friends and when they don’t meet them you threaten in some way not to be their friend any more
D) People get on your nerves really easily and you lash out at them, just for being annoying
E) You don’t like it when somebody is “different” from you. Maybe they have “weird” clothes or they like writing poetry or they’re of a different race. You want to make sure they know you’re better than they are.
If any of those are true for you, you’ll need some help with your bullying behavior. If we can help you here, ask away! But it’s best to find a grown-up near you who can walk you through some changes. Blessings- Nancy
QUESTION FOR THE ELDERS: I am very, very, VERY, did I mention VERY judgmental. How do I change from being that kind of person/bully?
ANSWER: Good on ya for seeing that in yourself! It’s hard not to be judgmental when there are people all around us who just – well, act like morons! But you’re right – it isn’t our job to decide that they’re wrong and need to be put in their place. I love that you want to change, and I have a few suggestions. (1) See if you can figure out WHY you judge people the way you do. Do your parents do it? Are you hanging out with friends who are all about gossiping and talking about people? Do you listen to radio stations or read stuff on line that is all judgy? DO whatever you can to avoid judgmental people who influence you. (2) Go a little deeper. Are you afraid of people judging YOU so you judge them first? Does it make you feel more important to say what’s wrong with somebody else? Where does THAT come from? Are there people in your life who are constantly negative about you and put you down? Can you talk to a grown-up about that? For now, just know that nobody is better or worse than somebody else. There is no order. You’re just you, and that’s enough. (3) Now that you’re aware of how judgmental you are, you can be conscious when it starts coming out and make an effort to replace every snarky, sarcastic, negative comment with something positive – and the same with thoughts. What’s good in the person you’re condemning in your mind? Is she always smiling? Is she smart in math? Does she have good dental hygiene? Positive takes practice, but by doing it, you can make a difference in this world. One person at a time. Blessings- Nancy
Question For The Elders: This is not a bullying case,but a friendship problem. There is a girl at my school that expects me to be her best friend,since we were the only girls in the class from the seventh grade. I already have a best friend and she is always there for me despite she’s away at boarding school. If I tell her I already have a best friend she’ll try to make me be her best friend,by telling me that we can be a trio. Can you help me resolve this matter because I can’t talk to,her without her acting like my best friend and making the conversation uneasy. -Nimi
ANSWER: I think where you’re getting into a tangle is over the term “best friend.” Maybe we ought to just drop that. It’s healthy to have more than one close friend, and even though you know inside that one particular person is your go-to gal, you don’t really have to say that. Three can be a tough number if everybody isn’t on board with “we all like each other the same”, if somebody wants to compete for “best friend” status. In your case, it might be better to hang out with these two friends separately. If anyone tries to force the “Who’s your best friend?” question, you can say, “I like Close Friends Forever instead of Best Friends Forever.” Then everybody gets all the joy! Blessings- Nancy
Question For The Elders: I’m not sure if I have been the bully before. I am slightly bossy, annoying, controlling… okay maybe a lot. But how do you know for sure if you have been a bully?
I wish to remain anonymous: Yes
ANSWER 2: Hello, friend. What a great question. How DO you tell the difference between being a strong, assertive, intelligent young woman, and being a bully? I think it’s a question that a lot of girls wonder about from time to time. Firstly, I would say, consider your intention in what you are saying/doing. If you are trying to get your way, prove someone wrong, or make someone mad, then that probably falls into the bullying, or at least, not very nice category. If, however, you just know the correct answer and wish to give it, want to be a group leader because you feel that you’re good at it, or are sometimes awkward and say the wrong thing, that’s a different thing all together. Then, it becomes about managing perception, or how other people see you. Never be afraid to be yourself, but be aware of how your actions affect others. If you are saying or doing things that make your peers feel uncomfortable, and you’re not sure why, ask them. Sometimes, just opening up a dialog, and showing them that you care about their feelings is enough. The bottom line is, if you feel bad about something you have said or done, there’s probably a reason for that. If, however, your behavior is making others feel bad, and you aren’t sure why, ask. Listen. Reach out, and try to find a way to modify your behavior without compromising who you are. Thanks for reaching out. It shows how much you care. Blessings- Elder Melle
Question For The Elders: I have the same question that Eve asked about the post What a Tribelet Isn’t: I don’t really HAVE any bullies around in my HOUSE (which is my school), is there any way I could maybe do something else?!?!?!
ANSWER: If you’re homeschooled it can be hard to know what to do about bullying – unless you have siblings who drive you nuts! You’re so fortunate NOT to be dealing with RMG’s (Really Mean Girls), but there are still things you can do to help. (1) Look for instances of bullying in other places, like church, your sports team, or even your extended family. There are a lot of people out there not respecting the dignity of every human being. (2) When you see it happening, and you’re in a position to say something (obviously you’re not going to go up to perfect strangers and tell them to knock it off!) do step in with, “Come on, guys, enough with the whole mean thing.” (3) In those situations, be there for the person who’s getting all the grief. Whisper to her that you’ve got her back. Invite her to sit with you in youth group. Tell her, in front of other people, what you like about her. Even if you don’t see specific instances of mean behavior, always be an example for respect. Always. Pass that great situation you’re in to other people. Belssings- Nancy
Question For The Elders: I haven’t been bullied, but I’m wondering what bullying looks like and what to do about it. I’m home schooled so it isn’t likely I’ll have to deal with this, but I’d like to know. Is bullying usually as big and physical as in the Mean Girl Makeover Series?
ANSWER: I think that’s a great question. To know how to tackle bullying, first we have to know what it is. Bullying is unwanted, unkind behavior that makes one person or a group of people feel bad. It often happens over a period of time, and is an abuse of power by the bully. Bullying can take many different appearances, and it isn’t always physical harm. It can be anything from threats to talking behind someone’s back and turning other people against her. I think the first step is confronting the bully, and letting her know that her behavior is wrong. Obviously if things get out of control and someone is in danger or the bullying doesn’t stop after you talk to the bully, you need to tell an adult you trust. And an important thing to remember is to keep being kind. Just because someone is mean to you or someone you care about doesn’t give you an excuse to be mean back. That only furthers the cycle of bullying. I hope this helps- Alisha
Question For The Elders: There is a girl that talks behind my back a lot at school. It really hurts my feelings and I am not sure what to do. Any ideas?
ANSWER: Hello, Miss Anonymous! (I wasn’t quite sure how to greet you since I didn’t know your name!) I had a friend once who talked about me behind my back a lot, but then when she was talking to me, she was nice, and acted like I didn’t know she talked about me. After a while, I kindly confronted her about it, and just asked her, “Hey, did I do anything to hurt your feelings or make you mad at me?” She said I hadn’t, and that everything was fine. Yet, she continued to talk about me to her other friends. I had no clue what do to either! I tried so hard to be kind to her and to figure out why she would say rude things about me, but I still couldn’t figure it out. Then, somebody told me something that I haven’t forgotten since then.
Question for the Elders: I have a friend at school who is a grade higher, and we have one class together, but we are still good friends. She has other friends from her other classes. Whenever I’m around her with her other friends too, she pretty much ignores me. Is this a type of bulling, and if so, what should I do?
Answer: That’s definitely a hard thing to deal with, Kaylee, and I’m sorry you had to go through that. Since the problem isn’t currently happening, for now I would advise you to set the absolute best example you can. Make sure you’re being polite and kind to everyone, do your homework to gain knowledge rather than just pass that test, and show that you aren’t the type of person to cheat. Once you’ve established your reputation as a trustworthy person, your teacher will be more likely to believe you if this happens again. When you’re actually facing that situation and your teacher, or an adult you trust, doesn’t believe you, that makes it even harder. Definitely pray about it and proceed with caution. Make sure your attitude toward the girl is correct – even if she’s lying, you shouldn’t hold a grudge against her. Maybe you could offer to help her study that subject, if possible. This would show her that you’re not mad at her and that you’re not out to get back at her. If that doesn’t work out, I would suggest going to your teacher and explaining to her that you haven’t been cheating because you believe that everyone should be honest and earn their own grade. You could even ask to switch seats so that it doesn’t happen again. Even if you do switch seats and the situation seems resolved, be sure that you’ve forgiven everyone involved and move on. It’s not about you getting proven right, but on God getting the glory. If you can grab a hold of that perspective now, it’ll save you a lot of trouble in the future! –Sarah Elizabeth