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momto3preteens
momto3prete... asks:
Q:

Need some advise on how to proceed with an issue involving a school's decision on placement onto the cheer squad.

Hi all..
I need a bit of advice and hoping maybe to get a bit of help.  
My daughter recently tried out for cheerleading at her middle school. Everyone thought she made the squad and expected that she did.  She was that good.  She got a letter stating that she hadn't and to try out next year, which she can not do because she will not be at that school after next year.  After a serious amount of drama at our house, I contacted the coach/teacher in charge of the squad.  Unfortunately, I never got a real answer as to why she didn't make it, which is ok I suppose.  At first she was very responsive and super sweet about my daughter's feelings. Telling me that my daughter did wonderful and was so close but the talent pool was super deep this year.   However, the next day in an email she attempted to blow me off and state there was nothing left to tell me.  Would have left it be if not for rumors that have been coming our way and an issue my daughter had earlier in the year. Towards the beginning of the school year, A group of girls were bullying my daughter and I had to take it to the principle.  The principle evidently thought it was fair to issue the same threat of punishment to each girl, including my daughter, the victim.  We now suspect that incident kept her off the squad.  What can we do?  My child is an emotional wreck and I must admit so am I.  It is super hard to watch your child be so upset, especially when she knows she was good...  
Thank you for any advice or help
In Topics: My Relationship with my child's school, Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Apr 29, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

What a difficult situation.  We are sorry to hear about how this has all blown up.  Unfortunately, there is not much else to do about this situation at this time.  If you continue to press the issue with the school, you will likely only be met with fiercer resistance, which could make things worse for you and your daughter.  You could go up the ladder to administration, but since it sounds like many of your concerns are based in rumors, this will also probably get you nowhere and may further ruffle feathers.  It's a tough situation to be in, however, provides a great opportunity to teach your daughter about some great and valuable life lessons.

#1-We don't always get what we want, even if we work really really hard.  AND THAT IS OKAY!  Albert Einstein was a terrible student, but went onto be one of the greatest minds in history.  Michael Jordan missed over half of the shots he took in his NBA career, he had a 49% career field goal percentage.  Its not how many times we fall down, but that we stand up that defines character.

#2-You are going to have to deal with people and situations in life that are messy and unsavory.  It sounds you and your daughter have dealt with some people who have not treated either of you with respect or kindness through this situation.  Role modeling and talking about how to most appropriately deal with people who do not treat you kindly is extremely powerful.  This is not the first time somebody will treat either of you badly and it won't be the last.  So how do you deal with people like this in a respectful and polite way without reducing to their bullying tactics?  It is a great conversation to have and gives an opportunity to talk about healthy coping skills, respectful behavior, and self control.  

#3-We can only control ourselves.  In situations like this it is easy to say so and so should have done this and he or she should have said this, but often these sort of wishes and arguments only frustrate us and make us feel powerless.  Don't focus on what other should or could have done.  Try to focus on what you did or can do.  Saying things like, "I am proud that I worked my hardest on that cheerleading try-out and I know I did my best" focuses on you while "They should have put me on the team and they are just trying to get back by keeping me off" are very different messages to send yourself.  Help your child to recognize the positives and silver lining within the parameters of things they can control.  

I hope that as your daughter continues her schooling she continues to try out for cheerleading.  I wouldn't want this bad experience to spoil it for her future.
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Additional Answers (2)

jmamable
jmamable , Caregiver writes:
Hi momto3preteens,

I'm sorry to hear your daughter didn't make the squad. Middle school is often the first time many of us experience flat-out rejection, and it's never easy.

However, and I'm sorry to say this so frankly, this ship has sailed. As hard as it is to watch your child experience rejection, it's time to let this go. It will look better for both of you if you immediately drop this issue, keep your head held high, and move on to bigger and better things. To be totally honest, pressing the issue with faculty probably isn't setting a great example for your daughter. I know, as a mom, you want to make sure your child is happy, but these actions may also be interpreted as YOU bullying the faculty into letting her onto the team.

I think the best course of action would be to simply move on. It won't be easy, and even with all the drama that surrounded this decision, the only thing you can do is try and forget about it. If in fact your daughter was edged off the team by bullies, the bravest thing she can do is leave this issue behind altogether and not stoop to their level. All bullies are looking for is to make other people feel bad, and the best revenge would be to ignore them and carry on gracefully. Try finding her another team sport, or maybe get her involved in a community program outside of school (many community centers offer cheerleading as well!). Above all, make sure to stress to her that this is NOT the end of the world! We all have to face rejection at one time or another, but it always makes us stronger.
> 60 days ago

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Boys Town National Hotline
At this point the best thing for your daughter would be to let the issue of not making the team rest. The decision has been made by the school and there is no changing it. Although it is not always easy to watch our children be upset and unhappy, this is part of life and it will make her stronger in the long run. It is also important for you to resolve this issue within yourself so you don't influence your daughter to hang on to any negative emotions.

It is unfortunate what happened with the bullying incident at school, but try not to encourage your daughter to feel like a victim. It's not clear if that is what really kept her from being picked for cheerleading. Most likely it was not that personal, that the judges had to pick a certain number of girls and your daughter along with other girls were not chosen. This is but one bump in the road and she will recover. Make sure she is participating in something she enjoys but also consider ways she can help others such as by volunteering or community service.

If you would like to talk with one of our counselors about this or any other parenting issue, please call or e-mail our Hotline. We also have an excellent website for teens you can give to your daughter: www.yourlifeyourvoice.org

Take care and best wishes to you and your daughter!

Sincerely,

Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org
> 60 days ago

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