Open Letter to an Aspiring B*tch

Dear 10-year old girl that I was assigned to chaperone while accompanying my son’s fourth-grade class on today’s field trip,

I could tell immediately that you thought you were hot stuff by the way you talked down to your classmates and disrespected the accompanying adults.  But I didn’t realize how rotten you were until the day progressed.

You started out with subtle insults, like telling the other kids in our group that the things at the museum they were interested in learning about were stupid. I cringed but said nothing. Instead, I just affirmed that I too found those items interesting and I led the group to that area. You didn’t care much for that.

Later you went a step further and told one of the boys in our group that you didn’t think he was capable of operating an interactive device – although all the other kids in the group had already done so successfully – and told him he shouldn’t even bother to attempt it. You even tried to push him out of the way and make him feel incompetent by showing him how easy it was for you. I asked you to wait your turn and I encouraged the boy to keep trying. I told him that I had faith in him. You huffed off, not waiting around to witness the boy go on to accomplish the task like a champ.

Later, when you were sitting next to me, I whispered a gentle reminder in your ear, “You should encourage your friends,” I said. Instead of taking that piece of wisdom to heart, you shot back, “Technically, he’s not my friend.” To which I replied, “It is important to be kind to everyone.”  You just rolled your eyes.

A little while later you were standing with a group of girls from your class. One had brought a Polaroid camera on the field trip. You all were passing the camera around to take group selfies. Two other girls leaned into the frame with you. When the camera spit out the undeveloped photo, you snatched it before anyone else had a chance. Once the photo came into view one of the other girls asked if she could keep the print, you shoved it at her, saying; “Fine! You guys look ugly in it anyway.”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t close enough to say something to you at the time, but I saw the hurt looks on the other girls’ faces and I hurt for them.  I wished I could have spoken into their hearts and told them that they are beautiful, that it was your behavior that was ugly.

Apparently you still hadn’t yet met your daily quota of belittling others. Only a few minutes later, one of the girls in our group called out to some other kids passing not far away; she waved and smiled with youthful exuberance, kindly greeting her fellow classmates.  You took that opportunity to say to her, in front of myself and all of the other kids in our group, “You know, those kids don’t like you.”
That was the last straw. With all the couth I could muster, I said to you; “Don’t you ever say that to someone.”  You didn’t appreciate my input and replied, “Well it’s true.”  To which I said with steely eyes; “There is never a reason to say something so hurtful to someone else. Ever! That is a form of bullying. You are being a bully and it needs to stop.”

You and all the other kids in our group went quiet and stared at me with slack jaws. Except for my son.  He just chuckled and said, “Well, now you got a taste of what my mom is like.” His smile broke the tension. He wasn’t embarrassed that his mom had just put you in your place. He was just stating a fact. You see, that is what I’m like. I don’t put up with bullsh*t or cruel behavior: not from my own children, not from other adults, and not even from a young girl I just met a couple hours before. In fact, I was proud of my son for recognizing this character trait of mine and confidently bringing it to the attention of his peers; it was affirmation that I model the behavior I am training my kids to emulate.

You didn’t say another word to me for the remainder of the field trip. You didn’t say another word to anyone, for that matter. Maybe you were letting my words soak in. Most likely you were just sulking. Either way, the nastiness stopped, and for that I was grateful.

Young lady, I’m not sure what your home life is like, what you’ve been through, what’s made you into the aspiring b*tch that you are, but I want you to know that it’s not too late for you. You still have time to change the trajectory of your life, to adopt a new perspective and a new set of behaviors. You don’t have to follow that all-too-easy path to becoming a full-fledged Mean Girl.

I want you to know that if you need someone to encourage and embolden you toward empathy, I’m here for you. If you need someone safe to talk to about your fears and insecurities, I’m here. If you need a shoulder to cry on because someone has been hurtful to you, I’m just a heartbeat away.

You see, every nasty word that came out of your mouth today made my heart break for you. Every despicable act of snobbishness, I recognized for what it truly was. People don’t behave that poorly unless something inside of them is broken. I’m here and I’m willing to help you glue those broken pieces back together.  I believe there is a tender-hearted girl inside you that desperately wants to come out but you’re too afraid of being vulnerable. I understand.  I’ve been there too. I’m willing to take the time to listen to you and to help you learn to be confident and assertive without purposely hurting others. Because guess what, you little sh*t, I love you despite yourself.

With hope for who you can become,

Kristin

6 thoughts on “Open Letter to an Aspiring B*tch

  1. Karen says:

    Beautiful letter.

    Like

  2. Cheryl Herrick says:

    You got it right. Love what you said about the little gal. She has probably had a hard time in her young life. Some love and attention goes a long way with kids like that. And the things you said to her about the way she was acting was good too. She needs to be told that kind of behavior isn’t acceptable. And then back it up with encouragement. Good job!!! ( P.S. you would make a good counselor! )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lisa Dancel says:

    I love it! I feel the same way. I want to protect my kids against the mean kids. But I have to remind my kids (and myself) that for a child to be that mean, there must be something going on in their homes – whether abuse, neglect, or simply a parent that just doesn’t get it – and we need to show them what it means to be loved, because we might be the only place they get that love. If only I could practice this in my adult life.

    Like

  4. Sheri Wikstrom says:

    If you are open to this I would like to offer a different perspective. All too often in this world we see what we know. We write a person’s story for them. Each and everyone of us is guilty of this in some small way every day. We decide why a person is acting a certain way based on a very limited set of data. The lady in that car cut us off because she is a bad driver, or a b**ch. Maybe she has a screaming infant in the back seat who blew out a diaper and is just trying to get home as fast as possible. Either way, you, as the outsider, have no real way of knowing.

    It took me awhile to decide to comment because in truth, it’s easier to say nothing. Your post immediately made me sad. It wasn’t until an incident in my own house last night that I realized why. You see a bully. An Aspiring B**ch. I see autism.

    I’m lucky. I live with an autistic child every day in my home. This experience has allowed me to see people differently. You saw a girl who was trying to be mean to others to make herself be better. I saw a girl who doesn’t understand how to separate the million thoughts in her head much less how to communicate those to someone else. You saw someone who wanted everyone to have a bad time because she didn’t want to be there. I saw someone who had no interest in anything going on but does not possess the capability to fake it or to at least suffer in silence. You saw someone hurting the feelings of others. I saw someone who doesn’t even understand what feelings are.

    My husband and I occasionally disagree about parenting when it comes to the autistic child in our home. I have had to get used to not having a say because he’s right. I have no perspective and therefore no right to an opinion. If you think being a stepparent is hard try being a stepparent to a child with autism. One of the things he often says to me is that he will not be the parent of the next Sandy Hook or Columbine. I find it overly dramatic, and usually tell him so. When I read your post though, I saw his point. You bullied a young girl and dressed her down in front of her peers. And then had a laugh about it which made everyone else feel good, but what did it do to her? You offered her your help in a blog post but did you go to her directly and offer encouragement or a positive word?

    I may be wrong. She may really just be a brat. My point is we don’t know.

    Like

    • K. Williams says:

      I am always open to differing points of view; that’s how we learn and grow.
      I wholeheartedly agree that the situation should have been handled entirely differently if the child in question was on the autism spectrum or had a special need. I have several persons that are close to me that have autism, behavioral disorders, or neurological disorders and I too find it hurtful when strangers show a lack of understanding and patience. I am often aghast at the lack of empathy in others.
      In the case of my encounter with this child, I am certain that she does not have a diagnosis that could have been at the root of her unsavory behavior. The day would have gone much differently if that were the case. Then it would have been me asking the other children in the group to show empathy and grace.
      While I didn’t have a chance to sit and speak with the girl after the final incident (because the field trip was essentially over and the kids had to load up on the buses) I did have a chance to put my hand on her shoulder in a loving way, smile at her and tell her a friendly goodbye. My objective was to let her know by that action, that although I had just been tough with her, I forgive her and I still like her. Of course, because it was a school event, it was not my place to interfere any more than I did. I reported the incident and left it in the hands of the teacher. But in my report, I did tell the teacher that I was open to investing myself in the child as a big-sister type relationship. Unfortunately, there’s really nothing I or the teacher can do to enforce that. However, you make a good point about dressing her down in front of her peers. That was definitely the most unfortunate part of my encounter with her. I want to assure you that it wasn’t my intention to address her in front of the other kids, I would have avoided that if at all possible, but our little group was in closed quarters when she made her final remarks and my immediate impulse was to put an end to it right then before she said anything else damaging. She had been insulting the other child all day and I had watched that child wither from a joyful, exuberant girl, happy to be on an outing at the beginning of the day, to quiet and withdrawn by the end of the day because each time she made a move the other girl attacked her for it.
      Maybe I acted rashly. Maybe I should have kept quiet and just reported the incident, but typically a sit-down with the school counselor the following week doesn’t have the impact that addressing the behavior immediately does. I felt like it was a pivotal moment and I acted on my instinct. And while my son may have cracked a smile and made light of the situation (because, honestly, he is not only quite immature for his age, but he doesn’t always pick up on social cues…in fact, in his early childhood we had him tested for autism) I most certainly did not have a laugh about it. I hurt for all of the kids. And, thinking back on everything that happened throughout the day (because there’s so much more I didn’t write about in this post), I can’t say that, given the chance, I would have done anything differently.

      Thank for having the courage and taking the time to respond to my post. You gave me a lot to think about, and hopefully also helped opened the eyes of other readers. I appreciate everything you had to say!

      Like

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