being a mom

My 8-Year-Old Daughter Is Not Cool Because She Acts Like An 8-Year-Old

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My daughter is a victim of soft bullying. I can’t flat out call it bullying because I believe that actual bullying, repeated daily threats and insults, physical harm to a person isn’t what’s going on here. It’s more of a soft bullying. Insults and teasing about my daughter’s clothing. Snarky jabs about the facts she still plays with dolls. Being excluded from sitting with girls on the school bus. Being made fun of. She’s not being spit on or shoved or called horrible names, but it still sucks.

I like to think my kid is well-adjusted. She’s happy and confident and loving and empathetic and fun. She has excellent grades, nice manners, and a family who adores her to pieces. I think she’s beautiful. I’m told she’s beautiful. There is nothing exceptionally unique about my kid: she is tall and thin according to the pediatrician’s growth chart, but not abnormally so. There is nothing outstanding about her physical appearance that would give reason for her being “picked on” and in conversations with her I’ve learned that other than being teased about her clothing, the insults she receives are mostly about other things. She is the youngest in her class. Because of when she began attending school she is usually a year younger than her other classmates. I’m sure even just a year makes a difference in maturity and confidence levels, and although I feel my daughter is perfectly mature and confident for her age, it may be a contributing factor in how other girls are relating to her.

My daughter just turned eight. She is an avid reader. She loves playing with dolls of all sorts. She enjoys drawing and coloring and creating crafts. She sleeps with stuffed animals, still holds my hand in public, and curls up on my lap when we read a book. In the progress reports I receive from her teachers the words used to describe my kid are “cheerful,” “helpful,” “kind,” and “a joy to have in class.”  She’s a fun, nice kid to be around, but maybe being fun and nice aren’t what makes you cool these days.

My kid probably isn’t cool. When her friends come for playmates they are Justin Bieber t-shirts and iPods loaded with Taylor Swift. They watch TV shows like Glee that I feel my own kid isn’t quite ready for. They wear v-neck sweaters and skinny jeans, have pierced ears and flash red painted tiny fingernails when they make “talk to the hand” gestures at my kid when she suggests they play Barbies. My daughter is the one in the simple cotton dresses and leggings, still too young for getting her ears pierced because I told her that until she is mature enough to disinfect the piercings on her own, we would hold off on that. She doesn’t care about what music is popular. She has no interest in going to a Justin Bieber concert.

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