Was this the right way to handle the situation?
Kids learn about status symbols at a very young age. It seems that every generation, a new group of tweens has something that helps define the social pecking order at school, whether it’s having the right brand of Rollerblades in the ‘90s, Ugg boots in the 2000s, or the newest iPhone in the 2010s.
In 2024, the hip thing with the tween set is having a brand-name water bottle to bring to school, specifically a Stanley.
Historically, a Stanley was a blue-collar tumbler you’d bring to a construction site. But now, in a world where people are obsessed with hydration, the $45 bottle is all the rage amongst tweens and teens.
Dayna Motycka, the Ohio mother of a 9-year-old, shared a first-hand glimpse into the name-brand water bottle craze after her daughter was bullied for bringing a $10 Wamart tumbler to school. After returning to school from the holidays, 9 girls in her class got Stanley Tumblers.
I in fact did not keep it short and sweet 🤦🏼♀️ apparently needed to get this off my chest! 🤷♀️ #stanleycups #valentinestanley #targetstanley #parentsteachingkids #parentingtips101
“And they made sure to let her know that this is not a real Stanley, that this is fake, and it’s not as cool,” Motycka said, pointing to her daughter’s cup.
In a video with over 3.4 million views, Motycka says she could have given her daughter an expensive tumbler but didn’t think it was necessary.
“Can we afford to buy her a Stanley? Yes. Did I think that she needed one? No,” she said. “Apparently, I’ve been proven wrong by the children in our school who are making fun of her for not having a real name-brand Stanley.”
The mother went to a local hardware store and bought her a Stanley for $35. She also noted that she owns one herself.
The mother believes this sort of bullying starts at home with the parents. “This doesn’t start with the kids. This starts with us, with parents, with moms. What are we teaching our kids?” she asked. Motycka says that if her daughter bullied someone for their water bottle, she would be in serious trouble.
“You’d better believe that if our nine-year-old daughter came home and, somehow, we found out that she had made fun of another girl at school for not having something name-brand… we would be calling the family, we would be making her write a note to apologize, we would make her apologize in person because that’s not what we do in this household,” she said.
The video makes an interesting point because, on one hand, the mother is judging other parents for raising kids who would be so petty as to bully another kid for their water bottle. On the other hand, after the girl was bullied, she bought her a Stanley water bottle to fit in with the kids who bullied her. She also owns one of the bottles herself.
Is the mother sending mixed messages, or does it all make sense?
"So basically, do as I say not as I do??? This has to be satire. The only explanation for making this video," an anonymous user commented on the video. “I'm not on board with her message about changing and not actually being the change she speaks of. Otherwise, I would agree with her 100%,” another user wrote.
One mom has taught her boys how to handle this type of bullying.
“My boys have followed my example. So they respond with things like ‘Well, at least I have the thing that I like instead of the thing everyone else likes,’” Kiki Rodriguez wrote.
In the end, Motycka admitted that teaching your kids confidence while shielding them from pain is hard.
"I feel this..but we should also teach our kids to be leaders with more confidence in themselves and their choices. Not being crowd followers," Aim wrote. "I agree with you! It’s just such a tough line," Motycka responded.