We hear stories every day about kids who’s parents are alerted when a teacher suspects they’ve been bullied at school. It’s not every day that you get a call from your child’s school to inform you that they are, in fact, the bully.
Kayleigh Linstrom, a self-proclaimed fashionista, was bullying a girl in her class for the clothes she wears. The 4th grader was calling the girl ugly, telling her she dresses sleezy, and made her feel like she wasn’t good enough.
In my experience of being bullied as a kid, when parents hear that their kid is saying mean things to another student, it usually ends up being a conversation where the child is half-way reprimanded in front of the kid who they’ve been bullying, and then their parents force them to apologize.
But when that’s all said and done, my clothes are still bad, my face is still ugly and that child is still a bully.
For Kayleigh, things looked much much different.
After hearing what her daughter was saying to the girl in her class, Kayleigh’s step-mom, Allie, decided this fashionista needed a little taste of her own medicine. Allie knew she was not raising a bully.
The two took a “shopping spree” at the local thrift store where Allie told Kayleigh that they were on a mission to find the ugliest clothes in the whole store.
Kayleigh had no idea that those ugly clothes were becoming her wardrobe.
When Monday morning rolled around, Kayleigh’s parents revealed that she would be wearing the thrift shop clothes to school. And when she did, she was made fun of.
It sounds like a cruel prank, but when asked if she wishes her parents had taught her differently, Kayleigh says no—that their punishment was a good one.
After a couple of days of wearing less-than-fashionable clothes (which honestly still looked super cute on this little beauty), Kayleigh learned far more than she would have if her mom had just told her to “be nice and apologize.”
Kayleigh knows she’s lucky to be able to wear the clothes she has. Not everyone has the ability to wear “fashionable” clothes, and not everyone has the same “fashionable” style. Just because they like something different than you doesn’t mean they’re ugly or they dress badly. Kayleigh ended up apologizing to the girl she’d bullied—on her own—and wouldn’t you know, the two became best friends.
Through the humiliation of wearing clothes that she thought were ugly, she was able to experience firsthand what she dishes out to people—and it sucked. But sometimes our experience is what shapes who we become. I would almost bet that not only will Kayleigh never make fun of someone else for their clothes again, but I bet she’ll even be the one standing up for those who are bullied by others. Because she’s been there. Her experience, though some may find it cruel and humiliating, was the product of tough love and discipline.