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Ask Rosalind: How to Talk About Peer Pressure and Friendship Feuds

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Q. A girl on my daughter's swim team has been accusing other girls (including my 13-year-old) of bullying her. I monitor my child's text messages, Instagram and Kik accounts and haven't seen anything suspicious. Plus she denies harassing this girl, who has lied before. How can I resolve this before it escalates?

A. Whatever is going on hurts not only the team's potential but the girls' experience of being on a team. Tell the coach you can't find proof that your daughter is mean to the accuser but it's important that she and her teammates be held accountable if they are. If it's a she said/she said thing, tell your daughter that you believe her but it's possible the other girl has a different opinion and that opinion needs to be respected. Then reinforce your expectation that as a member of the family and the team, she won't put the girl down (no matter what she thinks about her) and she will tell any team member who is putting the girl down to stop. Remember, it doesn't matter if your daughter likes the girl or how annoying she is. This is her responsibility to the girl and to her swim team.

 
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