My stepdaughter is being bullied and her mum is asking me for advice

DEAR DEIDRE: MY stepdaughter is being bullied at school and her mother has asked me for advice because I’m a mum to two grown-up daughters.

I am 41 and my partner is 43. His daughter is 13.


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She is lovely but can be loud and shows off in front of friends.

She was bullied by one girl at her previous school. Now she says three girls at her secondary school are picking on her on the school bus.

She has been moved once before because of bullying and now she wants her parents to find her another school.

To my mind, this won’t help. She needs to learn about boundaries, acceptable behaviour and social skills.

She seeks attention and has no structure in her life, coming and going between both parents’ houses whenever she wants.

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Her mother has a new partner and a baby son, so there is some jealousy there.

If they give in to her, I expect the pattern will continue.

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DEIDRE SAYS: So do I. Children like boundaries and if she needs social skills, you and her parents can encourage that.

Invite her friends over for pizza and a film and tell her that people will like her for who she is.

If she is showing off, she is standing out from the crowd – playing into the bullies’ hands. She doesn’t need to be loud to be liked.

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