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Old 10-02-2012, 06:30 AM   #1
BreeBree
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PTA Bullying

Hi all, I'm fairly new to the boards (long time lurker!) and I've been having a bit of a problem at my son's school lately so I thought I'd ask for some advice. My oldest son started kindergarten this year and before I knew it I was swept into the land of the PTA. My son goes to a very cliquey private school and I've been having a really hard time volunteering without feeling ridiculously uncomfortable. I bring up ideas and they're shot down immediately, they deem them “not good enough for our children” or “we can do better than that.” I've also been given very snide and rude comments about my age and my marriage. Most of the women are in their mid-to-late thirties and frequently tell me that I'm just not old enough to do a certain task. One woman called me a “child bride” the other day. I told my husband and he was livid and felt terrible because he is the one who wanted our son to go to this particular school. He wanted to talk to the principal, but I don't want my husband fighting my battles. I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but I just wanted to cry the other day. I feel like I'm back in high school, it's ridiculous. Has anyone else experienced PTA bullying? What should I do? It's not so much that I'm worried about myself, but I'm worried that these moms will start taking it out on my son or tell their children to avoid him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:38 AM   #2
The Mystery Machine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreeBree View Post
Hi all, I'm fairly new to the boards (long time lurker!) and I've been having a bit of a problem at my son's school lately so I thought I'd ask for some advice. My oldest son started kindergarten this year and before I knew it I was swept into the land of the PTA. My son goes to a very cliquey private school and I've been having a really hard time volunteering without feeling ridiculously uncomfortable. I bring up ideas and they're shot down immediately, they deem them “not good enough for our children” or “we can do better than that.” I've also been given very snide and rude comments about my age and my marriage. Most of the women are in their mid-to-late thirties and frequently tell me that I'm just not old enough to do a certain task. One woman called me a “child bride” the other day. I told my husband and he was livid and felt terrible because he is the one who wanted our son to go to this particular school. He wanted to talk to the principal, but I don't want my husband fighting my battles. I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but I just wanted to cry the other day. I feel like I'm back in high school, it's ridiculous. Has anyone else experienced PTA bullying? What should I do? It's not so much that I'm worried about myself, but I'm worried that these moms will start taking it out on my son or tell their children to avoid him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
You have to hang in there and suck it up. A snooty private school can afford to be "harsh" with their parents because you are "stuck".

Yes you are back in high school. Since you are 24, new to the school and PTA you are going to unfortunately have to go through the beat down.

That being said over time once they get to "know" you all will be fine except for the high school part, no matter what age you are that is always there.

Hang in there & prove yourself.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:44 AM   #3
Tinker'n'Fun
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Sounds like a normal PTA board to me. You can continue to give ideas and sign up to volunteer. Going to the principal will do NOTHING (at least at our schools, also private). You need to grow thick skin and decide that if you want to continue to help (and honestly I would) for your child. I got to the point that I volunteered for the book fair and programs that interested me. I knew that I would be put somewhere alone.

You can also tell them their comments are uncalled for. Will it work, probably not. But you have the satisfaction of knowing you said something.

I would recommend trying to let it just roll off you. Soon enough your child will be graduating from H.S. Seriously!
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:46 AM   #4
Swan4Me
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I would scale down my involvement
There is usually a "clique' that controls everything-so volunteer one activity and stop giving ideas
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:51 AM   #5
Andtototoo
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I had a similar experience with a small town PTA. My "problem" was that I wasn't born in that town, so my ideas and experience were unwanted. They told me this straight out. I was further told to be quiet, show up, and donate money because that was all a newcomer was good for.

I decided that as an adult I have the choice to leave a situation where I am both bullied and worked like a dog. So I left. No regrets.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:02 AM   #6
happygirl
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If it was me I wouldn't step foot back at that PTA.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mystery Machine View Post
You have to hang in there and suck it up. A snooty private school can afford to be "harsh" with their parents because you are "stuck".

Yes you are back in high school. Since you are 24, new to the school and PTA you are going to unfortunately have to go through the beat down.

That being said over time once they get to "know" you all will be fine except for the high school part, no matter what age you are that is always there.

Hang in there & prove yourself.
Oh He....... No!!! They lost a volunteer, period. OP do not go back. DO NOT. There is no requirement that you participate in PTA and it is a myth that your child will suffer if you do not volunteer at school.

Keep your pride and volunteer for an organization who values you. I don't agree with all the Boy Scout principles, but my sons were interested, so I volunteered there. Men were far and away easier to work with than the cliquey women! Church and Sunday School were also places where my efforts were valued and I was unjudged.

Life is too short to put up with BS like that and you are NOT in high school any longer.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ckay87 View Post
Oh He....... No!!! They lost a volunteer, period. OP do not go back. DO NOT. There is no requirement that you participate in PTA and it is a myth that your child will suffer if you do not volunteer at school.

Keep your pride and volunteer for an organization who values you. I don't agree with all the Boy Scout principles, but my sons were interested, so I volunteered there. Men were far and away easier to work with than the cliquey women! Church and Sunday School were also places where my efforts were valued and I was unjudged.

Life is too short to put up with BS like that and you are NOT in high school any longer.
While I agree that life is too short to deal with this stuff, the opposite is also true.

Life is too short NOT to deal with this stuff.

OP is young, she is in a private school which is cliquey, and wants to participate in PTA. I say hang in there and give it a go.

Yes it was an eye opener to her how much it is like HS again unfortunately but you know what, don't let the suckers get you down.

Eventually her "K" child will be older and so will she. It happens.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:41 AM   #9
cornflake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreeBree View Post
Hi all, I'm fairly new to the boards (long time lurker!) and I've been having a bit of a problem at my son's school lately so I thought I'd ask for some advice. My oldest son started kindergarten this year and before I knew it I was swept into the land of the PTA. My son goes to a very cliquey private school and I've been having a really hard time volunteering without feeling ridiculously uncomfortable. I bring up ideas and they're shot down immediately, they deem them “not good enough for our children” or “we can do better than that.” I've also been given very snide and rude comments about my age and my marriage. Most of the women are in their mid-to-late thirties and frequently tell me that I'm just not old enough to do a certain task. One woman called me a “child bride” the other day. I told my husband and he was livid and felt terrible because he is the one who wanted our son to go to this particular school. He wanted to talk to the principal, but I don't want my husband fighting my battles. I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but I just wanted to cry the other day. I feel like I'm back in high school, it's ridiculous. Has anyone else experienced PTA bullying? What should I do? It's not so much that I'm worried about myself, but I'm worried that these moms will start taking it out on my son or tell their children to avoid him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Have your son's playdates fallen off or anything? If the kids he's friends with aren't the same kids that belong to the people saying things, then I don't think it's an issue that way.

If he has some that cross over and invitations have declined, that's a different problem.

In general, I'd say your choices are to drop out of the PTA or just do whatever and wait it out, or force it by insisting on something, insisting on voting on ideas, saying you'll do something and ignoring THEM, etc.

As to the 'child bride' and stuff remarks - your husband going to the principal and complaining that other grown parents said something that hurt your feelings will REALLY not help that perception, you know?

I have no idea what he thinks the principal would do about it regardless - they're not students, they're adults who are just being a little snarky.

As to it being like you were back in high school - what isn't? Does your job not have aspects of high school cliquey behaviour? It's human nature.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:50 AM   #10
luvmy3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreeBree View Post
Hi all, I'm fairly new to the boards (long time lurker!) and I've been having a bit of a problem at my son's school lately so I thought I'd ask for some advice. My oldest son started kindergarten this year and before I knew it I was swept into the land of the PTA. My son goes to a very cliquey private school and I've been having a really hard time volunteering without feeling ridiculously uncomfortable. I bring up ideas and they're shot down immediately, they deem them “not good enough for our children” or “we can do better than that.” I've also been given very snide and rude comments about my age and my marriage. Most of the women are in their mid-to-late thirties and frequently tell me that I'm just not old enough to do a certain task. One woman called me a “child bride” the other day. I told my husband and he was livid and felt terrible because he is the one who wanted our son to go to this particular school. He wanted to talk to the principal, but I don't want my husband fighting my battles. I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but I just wanted to cry the other day. I feel like I'm back in high school, it's ridiculous. Has anyone else experienced PTA bullying? What should I do? It's not so much that I'm worried about myself, but I'm worried that these moms will start taking it out on my son or tell their children to avoid him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
That is because that is what all the "mean girls" do after HS, they join their kid's school's PTA.

I have learned through the years to not be too vocal in the PTA because I'm not one of them and if you aren't you can forget about being heard
I volunteer for whatever they need me to do, but that is about it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:29 AM   #11
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That is because that is what all the "mean girls" do after HS, they join their kid's school's PTA.

I have learned through the years to not be too vocal in the PTA because I'm not one of them and if you aren't you can forget about being heard
I volunteer for whatever they need me to do, but that is about it.
Yup.

And people wonder why no one wants to join the PTA.

OP, you can either speak up or stop attending PTA meetings. I know which one I'd do, but that is up to you to decide.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:16 AM   #12
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That is because that is what all the "mean girls" do after HS, they join their kid's school's PTA.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:12 AM   #13
LittleMissMagic
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That is because that is what all the "mean girls" do after HS, they join their kid's school's PTA.
Exactly! These are probably the women that peaked in high school - they have nothing else to do with their lives, now, so they're going to spend all 18 (or 20 whatever) years reliving their youth through their children.

My advice - ditch the regular PTA meetings. There are still plenty of ways you can volunteer at the school without being a PTA member. Go to your child's teacher directly and see if there is anything that you can do to help their class (Are you artsy? My mother made beautiful bulletin boards in the hallways for all of our teachers - whe was known as the 'bulletin board lady'... they also need people to make copies of worksheets, bind student books, etc - you can be a great asset to the teacher).

Also, you'll meet so many women like you volunteering during the day (my mother met her best friend in the "work room" doing die-cut letters) which will give you plenty of opportunities to set up play dates.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:19 AM   #14
rlduvall
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There is a famous song written about the PTA:

". . . the day my mama socked it to the Harper Valley PTA" Loved Barbara Eden in the movie.

That being said, I would love to be 24 again and be called a "child bride." Chalk some of it up to jealousy, some of it up to dynamics and some of it up to real life.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:47 AM   #15
whatname
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PTA president here. Not at OP school. We have so few volunteers, I would love to have you come to our school. This has made me reflect on whether I am excluding people. I don't think that our group does. In fact, we have done everything we can think of to generate members, from offering door prizes at meetings to class contests for the most members. People are just "too busy." (btw, so am I.) We had a new mom at the first meeting who offered to take over a major part of a fundraiser. Good for her. She has some good new ideas, too. Anyway, good for you for offering to help. Your group is the one who is missing out.

So, as others have said, you may want to look into other ways to help. Our school has a volunteer group once a week (also limited participation) but some of the things they do are prepare items for teachers to use in class - visual aides, flash cards, etc. With your art background, maybe the teachers would be interested and you could do this while not being an official member of the art program. You would be a teachers' helper. Also helping in library or lunch or where ever needed.

Good luck to you. You should be proud that you are willing to be involved.
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