Cheer Up

28 May

Dear LetterBalm: My daughter is going into her senior year of high school. She was a cheerleader for two years. Last week they had tryouts – every cheerleader has to try out every year, and a committee of teachers and coaches makes the selection. My daughter and two other girls didn’t make the squad for next year. Her old squad members have been kind and supportive, but my daughter is devastated. Cheerleading was a big part of her life, and she feels humiliated in front of her classmates. My heart goes out to her. How can I help her?

–Sad for My Daughter

Ms. L.B.’s heart goes out to your daughter, too. A 17-year-old is learning young that life isn’t fair and that sometimes one is humbled in a very public way. Please don’t make light of her feelings. Don’t tell her that “it’s just cheerleading” or “you’ll get over this, you’ll see it won’t be that important.” Acknowledge her pain and the difficulty of her position. Gently guide her to see that, yes, this is a challenging time for her but that she’s a strong person and this loss shouldn’t define her for the rest of her time in high school. Remind your daughter that she shouldn’t give in to mean thoughts and behaviors – she should be kind to the girls who are taking her place because her pain isn’t their fault and she’s been raised to show integrity when things get tough. Talk to her gently, mindful that this is an exquisite teachable moment you and she will remember always:

Taliyah, I know this has been a sad and difficult time for you. My heart goes out to you because I see you in pain. You’re embarrassed, too, especially because everybody at your school knows what happened. Sweetie, this is a tough time for you and it will last awhile. But believe me when I say it will fade, it will just take time. You’re a strong person – remember how much you practiced to make the softball team and how hard you worked to earn first prize in the science fair? You’re amazing – and, I know you’ll work just as hard to begin your college applications and finish your senior year strongly. I also know you won’t use this as an excuse to be unkind to Jada and the other girls who made the squad. You weren’t raised that way; besides, you’re not a mean girl.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s