Mean Girls

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Girls can be so mean to each other. And it doesn’t help that there are movies that glorify the behavior. I think growing up in today’s world is much harder than when I was growing up. At least it seems to be more of a world of bullying and cat fights. That’s probably being a bit dramatic, but you know what I’m talk about.

When I was growing up, especially in middle school, I had 3 other girl friends and I never knew which of the girls were against who, who I wouldn’t be “allowed” to speak to that day, or heaven forbid, if it was ME that was to be ignored.

During the years I taught 4th and 5th grade, this seemed to be the behavior seen among younger girls. It made my heart so sad to see the selfish arguments the girls had. And I learned VERY quickly that one should NEVER put three girls together in a group. One will always be left out and that causes problems. So as a teacher I tried to do whatever I could to help the environment be one that did not increase the chances of mean behavior.

And there are also different “flavors,” if you will, of young girls. You have your Strong Leader who seems to dominate the relationships and direct the paths of those around her. There’s the Strong Follower who will do whatever it takes to keep the Strong Leader happy. The Onlooker is the young girl who is “left out” but wishes to be “in.” Lastly you have your Different Drum, who doesn’t care what the other girls say or do.

So how does a parent navigate their young daughter through such hard situations? That’s where I need your wisdom, Readers. My daughter is only 3 right now, but I want to be prepared, or help HER be prepared, for whatever might come her way. Some of this is personality driven, I know that. If my daughter was more shy, I’d probably worry more. But I don’t want my daughter to become the Strong Leader either, unless she leads with a heart belonging to the Lord.

For those of you who had daughters, how did you handle the “meanness” of girls? Because whether you homeschool or not, it’s going to show up anywhere. There is no getting around it.


Mean Girls — 16 Comments

  1. As a mom of a 5-yr-old strong (read: hard-headed) leader it’s been difficult nto nurture her leadership skills while down playing the “me first” attitude. Recently we have focused on the tone of our words. When I hear her speaking crossly I’ll ask her to check her tone and she’s pretty good at making the switch. Since she is in daycare all day and it is not possible to watch over her all the time we will try to have a talk each night to go over the day and discuss any “situations” that may have arisen during her day. There’s no easy way to raise a girl, and as she starts public school in the fall I am dreading the situations we will be discussing in the future, but I believe that having open discussions and sorting through the outcome of her behaviors now will lead to a trusting relationship as she grows and will prepare us for the really tough conversations we will have in the not to far off future.

  2. Its hard my daughter issues started in third grade and continued till 6th grade untill in the middle of 6th I moved her to a private school I have to say it has gotten a great deal better but not completely. Girls are just plain out mean. I dont rember us being that mean but I guess we were but I do know that if I got caught being mean I got my fanny tore up.

  3. As a mother of a daughter who has just graduated from high school, (oh, it hurts to type that!) prayer is the number one thing. We have taught our girls to treat others will God’s love and kindness. You will not always agree with others, but you treat them with love and respect. As what to do when other girls are mean to your daughter… there is not anything YOU can do to change others. I always let my DDs know that I understand how much they hurt. I also taught them that “you can’t make everyone happy all the time”. Even as adult women we are not always kind to one another. Unfortunately, our children have to learn that life is not far, life is not easy, but for those of use who know Jesus, we always have him to lean on. I also let my girls know that they need to pray for the “mean girls” that they encounter. Mothering is not easy. It hurts us when our children hurt. We hold them close and at times stand back and let them learn how to “fight” their own battles.

    • I agree about prayer! I feel that may be the most powerful thing. I know my mom prayed for me and prayed for me. I can look back now and see the fruit of those prayers! I also cannot believe you have one graduated now…that’s not supposed to happen!! LOL

  4. As a teacher of 6th graders, it is NOT just happening in girls anymore. Boys are just as likely to be mean in a much more physical way that is very close to the same as in girls verbally or through ignoring. I pray for my students daily especially the ones that we know are having trouble in the hallways! I also pray for A, J and E daily and especially for A since she will be starting public school in August!

  5. I hope you get a lot of good advice. I say this because David at four was bullied by a boy in his class and now deals with bullying in the neighborhood. We have done a lot of role playing and talking about what is a bully. We point out when others are bullying as well as our actions that are bullying. We point it out in adults and kids alike as well as talk about how it make us feel and how others are feeling. David teacher says that he is the most empathetic child she knows. So I guess my suggestion is to teach empathy and to include RB too. Boys can be mean too!

  6. I am fortunate to have a daughter that gets along well with most everyone and most everyone gets along with her. We go to chuch with a “mean girl” who has incited other girls to act the same. Her role model? Her mother, who treats other women as disposable items. Since daughters are most influenced by their same sex parent, mothers must model behavior that they want their daughters to emulate. Girls listen when their moms run other women down. I have made it a policy not to air my problems with other women in front of Claire. It’s made a huge difference. Sandy

    • I’m learning that now as my son becomes more “nosey” about who I’m talking on the phone with, etc. I’ve got to learn to keep some of my thoughts to myself until I can be with my husband after the kids are in bed.

  7. I love the advice on here- pray, be the example! I’ve been contemplating this issue lately even though my girls are only 4 & 2. It’s not too much of an issue yet but we do run into it on a small scale with neighbor girls who are a little older. “Why don’t they want to play with me today?” my 4 yr old wonders. It hurts me because she loves to play with them. I usually tell her that they just want to play by themselves today and to remember what it feels like when they don’t share their toys with you so you should share with others. I see them use her to get to the other because they are mad at each other or something … which confuses my 4 yr old. I will try with all my might to teach her to be inclusive of all girls/kids.

    • Wow. It’s so hard isn’t it? And trying to teach the kids to be strong and fight for the weak instead of side with the strong is hard as well. Empathy. That’s my word of the day, I think! 🙂

  8. I have been thinking about this since I first saw your post on FB. Several here have said what I was thinking. My oldest daughter will be in sixth grade, and her girl drama started in third grade. I have also been around her enough when other girls are around that I know she is the onlooker that you talked about above. She is just not one to force herself on others. She waits to be invited in, but that doesn’t always happen. Unfortunately, this usually makes these girls the targets of the strong leaders. She was a member of a group that had about five girls in it. They had two girls in the group who were trying to be the leader. A became their target many times because she would allow them to walk over her. She would come home frustrated and would take it out on the rest of us (another post for another day). Anyway, I used it as teachable moments about how we treat others, etc. For the most part, I would not say anything to the other girls/parents because this is something she will have to deal with the rest of her life. (Like someone posted above, let’s be real, women are catty and continue to be well after the adolescent years.) We prayed. We also used it as a time to talk about sticking up for yourself and ignoring the comments. We talked about how words have power and the best thing she could do is walk away. Ususally, if the leader/bully sees that he or she is not getting a reaction from the target, they will stop. I would like to say things have gotten better since we moved. They are a little better, but she still gets left out at school.

    Now, my other daughter on the other hand is emerging as the leader. She has a lot of confidence. I mean, a lot. We are having to teach her about humility and empathy to get her to see how her actions/words can hurt others. This is definitely a work in progress.

Thoughts? Please share!