Your Popular Middle School Kid Is An Asshole

June 6, 2017 — 55 Comments

Is your middle schooler one of the popular kids? Then he’s an asshole.

Oh, not YOUR kid. YOUR kid is popular because he/she is a genuinely nice person – supportive, generous, always has a kind word for other kids, particularly the socially inept. He/she never makes fun of anyone for how they look – they know it’s what’s inside that counts.

He’s a goddamn Unicorn Kid, and your child is the only one in middle school who is popular for the right reasons.

Because for the most part? Show me a girl who’s popular in middle school and I’ll show you a backstabbing bitch whore from hell.

 

Jocks have the best shot at popularity. This does not mean all middle school athletes are assholes. It merely provides the platform. From there, a child must use true dickish behavior to catapult themselves into preeminence.

Middle school has a social structure closely paralleled by that of wolves. Popular kids maintain social order by establishing pack dominance. In the wild, fighting to the death is the time-honored way to express dominance. However, it is frowned upon in today’s suburban world.

Instead, here’s how the popular kids get and stay popular in middle school:

  1. Ridicule less popular kids; zeroing in on undesirable physical traits like being overweight or short.
  2. Make fun of kids who aren’t as wealthy.
  3. Bully kids on social media; gather groups together to do this as shitty little collective.
  4. Jeer at smart kids because getting straight As is lame.
  5. Disrespect teachers.
  6. General dickish behavior towards everyone but those exalted members of their clique.
  7. Taunt kids who love Lord of the Rings so much they perform traditional Dwarven Mining Songs for their music class project (okay, I probably had that coming).

 

Here’s other obnoxious behavior that makes kids popular. These traits don’t necessarily make them assholes, but SERIOUSLY WHY ARE THEY GETTING AWAY WITH THIS? ARE YOU HIGH?

  1. Not giving a crap about school.
  2. Get into LOTS of drama with other kids constantly.
  3. Hidden Instagram accounts with sultry “come hither” pouts. (we’re talking about 13 year olds, remember?)
  4. Drinking; doing drugs.
  5. Sexy times.

 

 

Little Dude has always been firmly tucked into the “Nerd” category at school. He was popular among the nerds, if such a thing exists. I was comfortable with him there. I knew these were the kids whose parents would not be getting phone calls from the police station.

This year, in seventh grade, he somehow stumbled into a friendship with a popular boy.

This boy, let’s call him “Dylan” because that’s his name, engaged in behavior that I found anywhere from annoying to appalling. He watched YouTube videos in class because he found the curriculum boring. He was always in a confrontation with SOMEONE. His idea of being entertaining was to make fun of other kids.

Gradually, LD grew disenchanted with Dylan. He didn’t find it funny that he openly mocked their Spanish teacher’s attempts to teach them. He wasn’t thrilled that Dylan was constantly ribbing him for only having 4 pairs of sneakers when he had 40.

Things went downhill from there.

LD came home one day, upset because he and Dylan had gotten into a fight. Dylan had amassed a posse of kids to harass an unpopular kid on Snapchat – for no reason at all.

OH HELL NO. Not on MY watch.

Their friendship ended that day. Kids KILL THEMSELVES over being tormented on social media. I didn’t bother calling this kid’s parents. I knew from prior experience that they had – let’s call it – a different world view than I did.

I went scorched earth on this little penis wrinkle. I notified the school, the school board, and the superintendent. He was suspended, which of course makes him even more popular among the losers  popular kids.

 

Things are a bit tough for LD socially right now. He finds himself stuck “in between” – not cool enough  to hang with the popular kids (thank GOD) but not quite content with the (lack of) social life of his nerdy friends.

I do what any responsible mom would do – I lie to him, and tell him it will get better in high school. I don’t want to scare him and tell him he might be like his mama, and have to wait until he’s middle-aged to hit his stride.

 

 

I wasn’t the least bit unhappy to find out that the “cool” kids in middle school are more likely to turn into adult losers. Being cool requires edgy, unpleasant behavior that doesn’t bode well into adulthood

If your kid is one of the popular middle school kids – observe their behavior in a pack when they don’t think you’re watching. You will be VERY surprised, and not in a good way. I’m sorry, and you’re welcome.

In the meantime, you may want to dismantle the pedestal they have themselves on. Once they enter the real world, it’s a long, long way down – and the splat at the bottom is a bitch.

 

How bad was middle school for you?
Are your kids in middle school now? Can I offer you a Xanax?

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook and Instagram so I can have friends without leaving the house.

 

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55 responses to Your Popular Middle School Kid Is An Asshole

  1. 

    This should really be compulsory reading at every PTA meeting, handed out at Teacher Parent evenings, and, well, just emailed to every parent on the planet – that should be doable… 😉 ❤ xx

  2. 

    Samara,
    You are right. If only parents would pay a little more attention to these seemingly ‘small’ traits, these kids would not turn into narcissists or psychopaths. Only if they choose not go into a ‘denial’ syndrome.

    • 

      It seems that many of the parents ARE in denial.
      I don’t get it. I’m the first one to nail my kid when he’s behaving poorly towards another kid.
      Thanks for reading!

  3. 

    I flitted between groups but was not a popular kid. I fortunately avoided most bullying. My younger sisters did not. They were both tortured in school. It was terrible. You’re a good mom, sweetness. You are raising a good son.

  4. 

    As one of the un-cool, nerds all the way through school, I had plenty of time to observe that strange species, the “popular kids”. It was my good luck to be so far out of the popular social loop as to be mostly invisible to them and not enough of a threat to be a target for their abuse. I fear that your wise words will fall on the deaf ears of denial of the parents of popular kids. Chances are good that they were popular kids too. Maybe if you dressed a Wonder Woman while lecturing them (a costume you have earned) they might listen.

  5. 

    Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
    Samara deals with the social horrors of Middle School.

  6. 

    Middle school is and was horrible. I managed to be both unpopular and an asshole, largely because I was so salty about being unpopular.

  7. 

    I am so SO glad LD has good sense and a good mom to keep him on track.

    School in its totality was a nightmare. I was the bottom of the pile kid even the losers were too good for.

    • 

      I wasn’t a fan either. College was where I found some like-minded souls.

      LD has a good heart. When he HAS been a bonehead to other kids, I’m all over that. I’m just happy he’s still honest with me. Let’s see how long that lasts…

      • 

        Fingers crossed he will know enough to value it for some time yet.

        Think that was my mistake. Never went to uni. *sigh* Oh well. Vocation is the route for me. Hopefully once I get a nursing degree I won’t feel so thick.

  8. 

    Rings true. Good insight.

  9. 

    Hated middle school. Hated high school more… but was able to hide out a bit more and was getting more comfortable in my own skin, so parts of it were better.
    I’ll pass on the xanax, but will take a tall glass of scotch if you are offering.
    Also, I think LD and I would have been best of buds in school.

  10. 

    Middle school wasn’t “so” bad. However, there were 3 girls in the 7th grade (who, I will snarkily yet quite honestly mention, were not exactly prize horses) who decided I was a terrible bitch and one of them once followed me down the hall poking me with a pin. Imagine if that had happened today, and I had had the moxie to turn them in. At this point in my life, I’m watching my 12yo very closely… she’s not a “popular” girl, but she has been the target of nastiness a handful of times already. Our conversations are good and she shares a lot, and I still listen carefully for any of “those” signs – on both sides.
    I’m really glad LD saw through the bullshit and wanted nothing more to do with that little turd. It speaks volumes on how he’s raised and what he’s learned just from watching you.

    • 

      Every time someone tells me their kid has been the target of nastiness (and I hear about it quite often on social media) I get so ANGRY.

      I’m so glad LD saw through it, too. I didn’t want to micro-manage this friendship, but I was watching from the sidelines, hoping it would self-destruct. In the end, I did put my foot down, but the friendship was already over. What a relief.

  11. 

    I LOVE THIS POST. It is the absolute truth. Fortunately (I write out of experience and great hope) by the time they graduate from high school, Hell by the time they finish their freshman year nobody will remember Dylan. He will be history, only to be remembered by his spot in the Asshole Hall of Fame. Mine just graduated from high school – and nobody put up with that shit there.

    • 

      I might have earned a different kind of spot in the Asshole Hall of Fame, for that Traditional Dwarven Mining Song.
      Yeesh. Why did I DO that? I can never live that down, along with a whole bunch of stupid weird shit I did when I was a teenager.

  12. 

    I see these kids all the time since I spend quite a bit of time in a middle school. Frankly, and unfortunately, most of the kids who behave like this have trouble at home and no one who holds them accountable. Even if this were required reading, the parents of these children wouldn’t give a shit. Either that, or they’d fail to comprehend either the words or the problem. 9 times out of 10 if the kid is acting a certain way the parent(s) comes in and acts the same way.

    • 

      TD!! I love when you visit me!!

      Okay, what are you doing in middle school these days? Surely Baby C isn’t old enough yet.

      Yes, the parents are often where the kids have learned their asshole-ish behavior. It’s a shame, really. Those kids didn’t really stand a chance.

  13. 

    I had a brief flirtation with that brand of popularity in middle school. It was a lot of work, a lot of stress, a lot of phone calls (seriously, you think those girls have a phone glued to their head for fun? No, that is work time) and ultimately… I didn’t like the things I had to do to stay there. So, when my worthless parents pulled their classic hot potato maneuver and I found myself in a whole new place, I took a deep breath and started fresh – one honest friendship at a time. Rehab is possible, but most of these kids’ parents probably don’t care enough to do the thing it requires: move.

    • 

      I don’t think the parents recognize what assholes their kids are. If they did, wouldn’t they be shutting that down?
      Unless, of course, they’re also assholes. Apples, trees.

  14. 

    Samara, tell LD that high school was a million times better for me. In 6th grade, I ate lunch alone. In 7th grade, I hung out with the bad girls (but didn’t do anything bad), and in 8th grade, I started finding an average group of friends who weren’t super nerdy, but weren’t bad. In high school, I found my tribe(s). I was still not a cool kid, but I loved every minute of high school. My social life was always packed with things I wanted to do that didn’t involve sex, drugs, or alcohol. In college, it got even better (though I did throw some booze — and later, the sex — into my party mix).

    • 

      In all seriousness, I think high school will be better for him. He’ll probably be in a program with other nerds, and he’ll find his tribe amongst that group.

      Man, I wish I knew you in high school.

  15. 

    Middle school was horrible for me and it only went downhill from there. Being raped by a senior my freshman year of high school didn’t exactly set my high school experience up for success. Having undiagnosed, and then misdiagnosed, and then improperly medicated mental illnesses didn’t help anything either. Especially since being put on the wrong medication led to me being arrested and stuck a pysch ward while the news splashed my underaged face and name all over the TV for a supposed “prostitution ring” that the police department of my small town decided I was running during my junior year. I was the worst prostitute/madam ever, seeing how there was no sex and no money ever changed hands… I missed a few months of school, was put on probation and sentenced to do community service, and was tutored to catch up before returning to finish out my junior year. Needless to say, the bullying only got worse. The only reason I survived and actually managed to graduate was because I started dating the man who I’ve now been married to for almost 15 years before I went back to finish out my junior year of high school.

    • 

      Wow! This comment is a story in itself.

      I’m sorry you went through all that, and I’m glad it worked out for you. Thanks for reading, and for commenting.

  16. 

    I’m SO glad my son (13) is a geek. Thankfully, he seems to have amassed a friend base of fellow geeks, and he’s doing fine there. Still, I worry. He’s an Aspie, and he doesn’t read social cues well. He is a pain in the ass when he’s not getting what he wants, and while his dad and I seem to bear most of the brunt (it’s like he holds it in until he gets home), I can see how it could eventually get him into social trouble. On the one hand, I’ve always figured other kids will let him know if he’s being a jerk, which would likely end the behavior, but on the other, it’s not like we’re talking about people with well developed frontal cortexes, so I worry about how far that could go.

    My daughter is almost 12 – she’s not part of the in crowd, but she does have good friends. She focuses a lot on reading, music, dance, and her favorite YouTubers. I really worry about girl bullying and social media, with her at the receiving end, but I am vigilant about making sure both of my kids are not engaging in bullying themselves, at least in terms of the way they talk about others or behave with their friends. Can I have that Xanax please?

    • 

      It takes a LOT of mental and emotional energy for some kids to keep it together at school. My kid is like that, too. So he tends to explode a little when he comes home. Some physical exercise and a big snack usually helps.

      The geek friend group is a great group to be in. I work with teens, and you know what my geeky students are doing on the weekends, when the other kids are out getting wasted? They’re at someone’s house, watching every Star Wars film ever made in REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER because it parallels the birth of the United States, or something like that.

      Long live the nerds!

  17. 

    ALL of the kids I tried to fit in with at School but never quite reached a level of arseholery bad enough, are either working at McDonalds, drunks, in prison, or dead. I’ve always thought popularity at High School is a fast train to the social bin of life. You don’t learn respect as a popular kid, they just spread their legs wide and everyone else has to move. Then I expect when it comes to post-school, the gravity of how miniscule and insignificant they are is too much.

    I’ve always had a warm spot for popular kids. I would take them on in my projects and give them purpose. Their parents mostly didn’t give a fuck, so I would pair them with an older, responsible Adult – used to work wonders with them 🙂

    • 

      Hi there, Raymond! Have you commented here before? I don’t think so! Thanks for stopping by!
      “the gravity of how miniscule and insignificant they are is too much” – YES. This, plus the propensity they have towards stupid behavior to stand out in the crowd, really works against them.

      • 

        I read most of your posts! I just realised that I haven’t commented on any yet! Hah. But yup. I agree. In the real world you can’t use popularity at school for shit. When most kids mature after that they’ll realise somewhere along the line that being a follower to an arsehole at school wasn’t all it was cracked up to be!

  18. 

    This is why I love you so much. I still remember being ostracized from my group in middle school. We were not the popular group, but many of them wanted to be. I never knew what I did that earned me a lunch room table all to myself, but it went on for nearly a year. Thankfully there were two friends who stuck by me. They’re still amazing people, the others – losers.

    LD will do just fine with you guiding him through this shit show of middle school.

    My kid is entering 9th grade next fall, I’ve have told her it will get better, but like you I am not so sure her awesomeness won’t be appreciated until later. Kids suck.

  19. 

    As a teacher for the past 20+ years I can tell you that your piece is spot on. Should be published in every school’s orientation packet. So glad my middle school daughter chooses to hang out with the orchestra nerds, where it’s cool to get straight As.

  20. 

    Growing up, I was the nerd kid and my goal for my teaching career was to try to combat bullying, even if I could only make a small dent, and to help all kids feel included and important. It’s so hard to explain to kids that none of this means anything and that life after school is so much better, they aren’t going to hear that. Go you for going after that shit full force, hopefully the more serious the actions taken by others will lessen the appeal of doing it to other kids.

  21. 

    I left middle school about 3 years ago (I’m 17). From my experience, high school actually IS better than middle school. The elitism is ever-present in high school – one popular girl’s Instagram post got 2 FULL PAGES in our yearbook this year – but somehow I feel like it’s alleviated a little bit. It’s hard to tell whether it’s because the “elites” have matured or because I’m better-equipped to handle being low on the teenage food chain, but I do think your son will fare better in high school. Most kids do, it seems.

  22. 

    As a former teacher and current mama, I think this post is dead accurate.
    The people and the shoes. Tsk.
    I don’t have any cool kids. I mean, I think my kids are cool, and lots of people do, but they’re probably not cool at school. I was on the nerdy but cute fringe and my husband was a scrawny but boisterous band geek.
    Three of mine are nerdy-dorky-geeky and then one may have been more popular than the others, but ask her how that’s workin out for her now in adulthood… errrr..
    My youngest is very well-liked and I’ve noticed her friends are a sorta basic type, but I’ve noticed they’re not the “It”crowd, which is comforting.
    I know people, who pride themselves on the social status of their children, reading books like Queen Bees and Wannabes, training them to climb, and I’m just NO.
    Authentic, intelligent, kind — maybe their kids should wannabe those things, hm?
    Anyway, Yes, all the stuff, yes.
    Everyone knows the most interesting adults were not the cool kids.

  23. 

    Surprisingly enough, high school was much better than middle school for me. I suppose going to a middle school that was only #1 in its bullying problem and then going to a much better high school could help that sort of thing, but this article was so true to how it was and still is. As a nerd (the kind that wore anime Hot Topic shirts, glasses, and braces with bellbottom jeans all the time), I was bullied by the popular and then at some point bullied by my fellow nerds to the point where I couldn’t talk to anyone without the fear of being emotionally tormented. (I eventually found solace with some old friends of mine who were in the safe middle of the social spectrum, but by that time they already made their groups and I still wasn’t really a part of their group.)
    I can’t even step foot in either of my old schools to even say hi to my favorite teachers because I get overwhelmed with anxiety and bad memories from those little miscreants who aren’t even there anymore. I wish I could pull a Martin Luther and put 95 copies of this around the schools in my district!

  24. 

    As LD has you for a mama, he will do just fine. You both are 😎.

    . I didn’t really gaf about middle school. I was a nerd but kept the kids on their toes. In seventh grade, we were known as “sevies” how original. There was one girl who we will call Kelly bc that is her name. She smoked and brought whiskey to school. She and I were two of five kids who were pulled out of science class for being advanced. We did the lessons sans teacher in a room across the hall. She tried to be the mean girl to me. One time she heated up a screw on a bunsen burner and dropped it on the floor. She told me to pick it up. She didn’t realize my tolerance for pain. I gingerly picked it up and flung it to her cheek and dared her to tell the teacher. Then she wanted me to ask teach if he knew, “MikeHunt”. I just rolled my eyes. When teach came in I did ask him but added that Kelly told me to ask him bc when she asked, teach said, “very well.” I’m surprised I didn’t get us suspended.

    I sat with the stoners on the bus bc I liked their music.

    Dylan’s parents sound like ignorant douchenozzles. I’m glad LD has the sense to stay away and you, who wiill use your badass voice.

  25. 

    This author interview was on my local public radio station today – same subject:

    http://wunc.org/post/power-and-pain-popularity

  26. 
    mattwilliamsonlive June 8, 2017 at 2:14 am

    “Jeer at smart kids because getting straight As is lame.”
    – seemed like the mantra in life for the people who would always taunt me in school for listening/answering in class/ taking notes/getting A’s/being disappointed for and wanting to know where I’d dont wrong on a test, while they would “fail on purpose”, turn up on the day of the half-yearlies saying, “Oh, I didn’t know there was a test today” and then asking me for notes.
    Kind of embarrassing when I think back to it now, but one day in 7th grade, I lost it and yelled back at them, “You don’t need make up, a short skirt and a failing grade to be cool!” (They were always being caught by the headmistress for bunking whole hours in the washroom, carrying mascara to school, skirts being too short, the like.) The poor girls walked away so confused, that was embarrassing, but I guess I needed to say it. It’s not like I had anything to lose, I was happy with my own numbered folks!
    People’s obsession with skipping the technical terms and replacing them with “you know… like, stuff” kind of drove me mad, and drove me with such a passion, I turned to writing science-fiction with a main character who’d rather spend a summer at a laboratory out of curiosity! XD

  27. 

    Because I am old and I have a unique personality, I wasn’t part of the popular kids or the “nerds” which wasn’t really even a thing back then. There were 2 or 3 geek/nerds and they were truly weird. People left them alone for the most part. I wasn’t popular either but I kind of got along with everyone. No one bothered me. Bullying me wouldn’t have done them any good I don’t think but I do realize I was fortunate no one zeroed in on me.
    My daughter, on the other hand was not so lucky. It was such an issue at 2 different schools that I pulled her out of both, the first being 7th grade. She was, and still is, a bit of a drama queen and gave them exactly the reaction they were looking for, therefore the assholes figured out she was the perfect victim. However, the second school was 10th grade and when I went to the principal over the incident nothing was done because “the teacher didn’t see it happen”??? WTF? A boy threw a book and hit my daughter in the back of the head! Less than 2 weeks later she was having a full on panic attack while getting ready for school because of the tormenting things this same boy AND one of the girls had said to her. I told her to go back to bed…. I went to the school the next day and officially withdrew her from class. She finished her junior year and senior year online. Thank you GOD there wasn’t Facebook and other social media like there is today because it would have been the perfect weapon against my child. Kids ARE assholes and mean and I blame the parents 100%. It sounds like LD may have some more challenges but I am proud of you for standing up with him to show him what is right and wrong. You rock mom!! 😀 ❤

  28. 

    High school was much better for me as well. In middle school, our grades were split into 3 “teams” of classes, and there was a lot of resentment toward the kids on the advanced team. We also were discouraged from socializing with kids on other teams – you couldn’t sit at the same lunch table as people from other teams and we didn’t have any classes together except for electives like band/orchestra.
    When I got to high school, there were a lot more people. Sure, since I took all advanced classes most of them were with pretty much the same group of people, but I think people chilled out a bit when they went from being the top dogs in eighth grade to being the lowest rung on the totem pole again freshman year.

  29. 

    I didn’t fare well in middle school. When my kids were in middle school, I worked there and carpooled the kids on our street. It was horrid. Glad the ride was less than two miles, no one walks anymore(or about that). As they neared the end of their “season” as middle schoolers, they became more tolerable. Somewhere along the line, they grew out of it.

  30. 

    You can add me to your list of references. It might get worse before it gets better… a lot better.

    I generally don’t talk about this, but I can remember my “ah ha” moment. My bully and I happened to be at the same event in a hotel. From the mezzanine, I watched in horror as I thought of how my weekend was about to be ruined as I watched the little troll navigate the lobby below. That moment of dread was immediately followed followed by feelings of pity.

    I didn’t know it at the time, and I certainly didn’t have words for it, but I’d just watched someone reach the crest of his popularity. For one of us, it was all downhill from there.

    Anyway, I really didn’t sit down to write a “my life is awesome” post; actually I just wanted to give you a +1. Good luck to LD!

  31. 

    I was pretty messed up in middle school. Kind of on the fringe socially & always in trouble. I got into fights A LOT because girls would pick on me & push me & we’d end up rockin & rollin.

    So glad that shit is behind me. I feel for little man. It’s an awkward time in life. But I’m glad he has you.

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