My daughter is 9 and has been struggling with a girl in her class who calls her names and is generally mean to her. My husband and I both listen and offer advice and scenarios for her to try, which she does. But it still continues and she is still bothered by it. At what point do we speak to her teacher?

Dear Sweet Mama,

It’s so painful to watch our little ones experience something painful. My heart goes out to you and your daughter around this challenge. Personally, my daughter and I are experiencing something similar and I know how hard this can be to navigate. It is beautiful that your daughter feels safe enough with you and your husband to share this struggle with you. I also hear your beautiful priority to listen and validate her experience. You can know deeply that this is what matters most and that is long lasting in your daughter’s development.

What I hear in your question is the resistance you are holding about speaking to the teacher. This is the place to get curious about within you. What are the feelings that come up for you when you think about sharing your daughter’s experience with the teacher? Can you name this feeling? Is there fear there? Is there another time in your life when you shared something and were rejected or not seen in the way you wanted to be seen? Did the outcome not go as you had hoped? Be with the part of you that learned it is not safe to speak up and share your experience with someone else or someone of authority. What did that part of you need my love and not receive? What does that part of you need now? This experience my love is about creating inner safety for you and your own voice no matter the outcome. It is an invitation to and show up for the little girl in you that learned to restrict her voice for the perceived benefit of others.

Your words indicate to me that your inner wisdom does feel that it is time to speak up. What if not speaking up prevents the other child from getting the help she needs? What if not speaking up shows your daughter that her mom will only go so far to protect her and that in order to be good she should stay quiet too? And at the same time, what if speaking up escalates the situation. When you have inner safety and are detached from the outcome, the truth of how to proceed will present itself to you. It is so difficult not to feel a charge when this is happening to your child but you are no longer powerless and you can show up for your child in ways others were not able to show up for you.

Sending so much love to you.