Our home life changed overnight. All of a sudden, my 10-year-old daughter Despy was always moody, always arguing with her siblings, and talking back to me and my wife. Straight up chaos. This went on for weeks, and I thought to myself, "Is this what it's like to have a teenager?" We tried to talk to her but she just wouldn't open up.
Then the pieces started coming together. Because of her behavior I took her phone away, and me being nosy, of course I went through her text messages. There was dialogue between her and a friend, that let me know there was something going on at school. I was even approached by the school principal who seemed to be concerned by the changing social dynamic.
With this information I approached my daughter again and this time she was ready to open up. Long story short, she was a part of the "Mean Girls" click and didn't like how they were treating others. So she stood up and walked away -- making her a target. Those girls begin gossiping, telling lies to the yard duty to get her in trouble and telling others not to talk to her.
You could see the weight being lifted off her shoulders as she opened up and finally got it off her chest. I asked her, what do you want to do about this issue?
As a parent, I can't lie, my first reaction was anger. I instantly started showing her some fighting techniques. But this is her battle and her decision on how to handle it. So we went over some possible options. She chose to confront the bully head on by reaching out to the school administration and setting up a one on one meeting.
This was probably one of the hardest things for her to do, but she did it. I told her this may not be the end of the issue but you will have your voice and you will make yourself heard.
Since that meeting things have changed for the better. The bullies have chilled out and Despy has been empowered. This experience inspired her to do The "golden rule" spoken word piece that she performed in front of her whole school at a recent talent show.
It was a great experience for me to collaborate with my daughter and help create this piece. Through the hurt and pain of her experience we bonded and put it on paper in hopes that it would bring healing to other kids that are out there. Kids that have no voice, kids who feel all alone and to those kids that feel like giving up.
Let's be buddies not bullies...
Spoken word written by Despy Madrid and Dad
Have you ever lost sleep at night because you didn't want to go to school... or have the feeling of shame and hurt all wrapped into one???
All because someone constantly makes fun of you... pushes you... or spread lies about you... that burn hotter than the sun???
Have you ever wished that you would never have to see their face again?.. or wanted to go to a new school?
Maybe you cried all over your pillow feeling sad and lonely... Not knowing what to do?
Well, I am here to tell you that you're not alone... it happens to kids every day.
So please listen closely and pay attention to me… and what I have to say.
Why oh why is there bullying!!!... and why do kids want to hurt and make others cry...
I don’t have an answer… But you need to tell someone how you’re feeling … and here's the reason why.
Those hurtful feelings can build up and cause you to explode!... and make you do something you don't want to do.
Like using violence and causing harm to others... or maybe even hurting yourself... and that's not cool.
And to those that are mean to others... who post comments, gossip or take things that are not yours... why do you do the things you do???
Why are you so angry and hurtful?... how are you feeling?.. Is everything ok?... what is it that you are going through?
And to all the Parents and teachers please listen to us and be aware of what’s going on... and really try and understand what we are going through….
You don’t have to fight our battles… but give us guidance… encouragement… and simply just be kind… because even adults can be bully’s too…
Now there is a simple solution to this issue… and it’s something that we all can do…
Just treat others as you would want them to treat you… It’s called the golden rule…