Being home for a long 5 day weekend with all the children, brought out great things for our family. It brought us closer, we were able to have long, lazy days filled with board games, movies and sledding. We also were able to have good one on time with our 3 school-aged children and find out more about their lives. This one on one time led to us finding out one of our daughters is being teased at school.
As our weekend drew on, my husband and I pieced more and more together and found out our normally very strong, independent, and normally our leader is getting teased at school so much she is wanting to change what she looks like. That was alarming on many points, because she normally doesn't care what she or anyone else really looks like, fashion isn't her thing, style isn't something she has or cares about. So when she told my husband she wanted to change how she looked, we got worried.
A little back story here, we live in a community where we are blessed to live with many different types of people from all over the board. We have higher income, lower income, and middle income, we have blue collar, white collar, high school educated, college educated, we have single parent homes, mixed with multi-generational homes, and every color under the sun. It is great and we love that our family is living around all aspects of people and life. We have also discovered over the years, our children tend to be the minority in many cases because all of them have blond hair and 2 of them have blue eyes. We think it is great they are growing up learning about differences instead of sameness.
Which brings me back to this weekend, our daughter had stopped washing her hair and brushing her hair this year, which isn't too far from the norm considering she has never really cared what she looked like. However, it has gotten really bad and we finally figured out this weekend why. She has been getting teased at school this year for having blond hair by some girls of different backgrounds. Well, our daughter noticed her hair looked darker when it was dirty and messy, so she liked it better that way because she didn't feel so different from the others at school and the girls didn't tease her as much.
This puts us in new territory as parents. First, we haven't had to deal with teasing before and now we are dealing with teasing about how our child looks. As a parent I am crushed she has to even deal with this, especially in 2nd Grade, but then I think back to when we were growing up and you know, getting teased was just part of growing up. I think it is more how the parent handles the child who is being teased than the actual teasing itself. I think teasing is a part of life, children are brutally honest sometimes and yes, my daughter is one of the few blonds in her school. We have chosen to tell her she is unique and special and usually when someone teases it is because there is something they don't like about themselves.
I have no idea why they have chosen our daughter to tease and frankly, don't care. We will do the right thing which is to contact the school, teacher and hope they talk to the parents of the girls and the girls themselves. We hope it stops, but all we can really do is to love our daughter and try and teach her to love herself, no matter what she or anyone else looks like.
Is this what some call, 'Reverse Discrimination' as some people have said? I don't know, all I know is we live in a melting pot and people will always have differences, we are designed that way naturally. I think how our families and society handle teasing is more important than trying to stop the teasing. Life isn't fair, never will be. We aren't supposed to all be the same and we don't deserve sameness. We need to teach our children how to love themselves no matter what others tell them and to hopefully be kind to others and love others the way they would want to be loved.
I am sending my daughter off to school tomorrow morning with freshly washed, brushed and styled hair, her best uniform and hopefully a new attitude about herself and her looks. We have told her she is loved and being different is great. We have told her to imbrace hers and others differences and we have told her, she doesn't have to be friends with those girls, but she does have to be nice to them no matter what. Mostly, we have told her she can come to my husband or I no matter what and she can tell us anything and we will do our best to listen, love, and help if needed.