My daughter’s relationship with her best friend went sour the year they entered junior high school. Peyton came home from school every afternoon in tears. She claimed that junior high school was evil. When I inquired about how she came to this conclusion, she shared with me that all her friends had turned mean. “It’s as if they were abducted by aliens over the summer, had their personalities changed, and returned to earth,” Peyton explained through her sobs. Even worse, her best friend had turned her back on Peyton and was bulling her.
When I asked my duaghter, “Why?” Peyton explained. “If you don’t wear the right clothes, say the right thing or hangout with the right people you’re considered a “nobody.” That’s not all she added. “You must look down your nose at others and make fun of them.”
Suddenly, frightening memories of my own junior high school years flashed before my mind. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I had been there, bought the T-shirt, and destroyed it. Peyton was too kind hearted to be mean to anyone. Because she didn’t play by the new rules, her friends turned on her.
Realizing that teenagers at this age are full of hormones and trying to figure out their place in life, I gave Peyton’s friend the benefit of the doubt. I even talked about the situation with Beth’s mother. Sadley, the bullying continued. When I called her mom the second time, she confessed. “I know she’s being mean. I just don’t know what do with her.” Now, I had a decision to make. How would I protect my daughter from a girl whose mother had no control over?
After bringing my emotions and concerns before God in prayer, I decided that Peyton and her friend needed a break. Nicely, I asked Beth not to call the house for a while and informed her that Peyton wouldn’t be able to spend time with her on the weekends for a while either. Peyton was devastated. My heart ached for her, yet, sometimes taking a stand is the only way to teach others how you want to be treated.
Once in a while, we’d run into Beth at the mall or while eating out. Peyton and I were always friendly. We made it a point to stop, acknowledge Beth, and say, “Hello.” Beth would look at us with confusion on her face. She didn’t expect us to be friendly after we had asked her not to come around for a while. But we weren’t Beth’s enemy. We were simply trying to give her a message. True friendship requires respect.
One day the phone rang. The caller ID revealed to us that it was Beth calling. Peyton looked at me wide-eyed and asked, “Can I answer it?” I nodded. To my surprise, Peyton handed me the phone. Beth wanted to speak to me. She was calling to apologize for the way she had treated Peyton and asked if they could be friends again. “It’s fine with me as long as Peyton agrees. She did. Peyton was happy to have BFF back. I was happy for both of them. Sometimes it’s a matter of teaching someone how you want to be treated in order to restore an unheathly relationship.
Today’s post was taken from my book, An Untroubled Heart; Chapter 5-Family Matters. Click here to read the first chapter for FREE!