Your story is exactly my point! I dealt with same thing in college. Where a girl I went to highschool with thought she had the same influence on me there then she did in highschool. She didnt. My point is, highschool is more nasty now due to social media. And parents have a harder job controlling it. The pressure to 'conform' is immense. And telling kids to walk off is not easy. I remember my days in school. To walk off was to have no friends. I wished my mother was more involved with the entire parents of the neighborhood. Maybe that would mean something. Parental involvement is crucial.
I understand completely. I was the one who walked away in the 10th grade. Freshman year was bad because not only did I have my class picking on me about being short and what not, suddenly three more classes worth of kids joined in. It felt like everyone was involved at the time, but it really was a select few.
Then suddenly in the 10th grade the popular crowd started inviting me do to things... WITH them. I had connected with one of them briefly over the summer through a mutual love of horses, not realizing that would actually carry over to school. Either way, once the whole gang joined in and I saw how they all talked about each other behind each other's backs, I was out. That's just never been "friendship" to me.
The last two years were pretty lonely, I won't lie. I had a few friends by late in my junior year. Honest friends. People I still care about. It was worth it to me to walk out with handful of real friends. I am pretty certain that whole being invited in to their "circle" thing was a farse any way. The Queen muskytear pretty much ran the school. Anyone who "was anyone" was a minion of hers. Lol
I realize how that sounds, but I promise... I'm not making this up or feeling sorry for myself. The whole thing was pretty nuts. I thought it strange the Queen muskytear and her two primary minions were never around when I was. This was "their" circle too. Then... When I walked away the bullying rose to a whole new level. The attacks on my self esteem, the efforts to make me feel different and like I didn't fit in increased.
They often openly shamed or embarrassed me in the halls or cafeteria. Man those three girls were vicious. I am thankful beyond words that social media didn't exist back then. I honestly don't know if I could have survived. But then I realize, my God... How much worse IS it for our kids? How much? I am a firm believer that we, the adults, are their only line of defense.
If they are being bullied and can't stand up for themselves then we ought to stand with them. Teach them how. Encourage them. We can't undo what's being done but we can soften the blow by being there as a support. As someone who gives sound advice and sincerely cares about them and has their best interest in mind.
I wish my parents would have done this for me. I was kicked off the bus for lashing back (yelling at) at a couple of kids who had been Bullying me for months and was told to stop being a baby (I was crying) and received the consequence of walking to school until the suspension was up. Punished for trying to stand up for myself. I understand now that my parents really had no clue just how bad the Bullying was for me.
But be assured I never spoke to them about any of it, ever again, for fear of getting punished for "overreacting" to how others were treating me. THAT was a lonely place. To feel as though those who were supposed to be protecting me had turned their back on me too. That is what I am afraid is actually still happening to so many in today's society. Because we're kind of at a loss here about what to do, so we do nothing?
Sweep it under the rug and hope somehow they can climb their way to the top? At the very least as adults if we are made aware of such things happening we owe it to our children to stand up with them. To support them and show them we do care that they are hurting and will do what ever we can to help make that hurting stop.
It is our job as parents to teach our children it's OK to be who you are. Not everyone will like that, and that is perfectly OK. Because the ones who do are the real friends, who see you for who you are. Not who they want you to be.