There is nothing more uncomfortable than hearing your child has been the “mean kid.” Trust me, I’ve been there.
But can we take off the rose-colored glasses and remove the blinders for a second because there are kids who are screaming for help.
A few days ago, I spoke to about 250 sixth-grade girls from around the area. When I asked them who deals with mean girl drama…EVERY HAND WENT IN THE AIR.
It literally took my breath away and left me speechless…which is hard to do.
I was sad for them because I know mean girls operate: they exclude. I remember vividly the girls who left me out or the ones who made talking about me a sport. With our daughters, it’s magnified because of technology. That’s why I have a love-hate relationship with all things social media because when friendships end, it’s a very public declaration.
I know my oldest has been a mean girl…she has said some not-so-nice things.
I know she has been on the receiving end of it too.
It happens. But I refuse to accept it as “part of growing up.” Whether you want to admit it or now, there’s a little bit of helicopter mom in all of us. So maybe we need to fire up the chopper’s engines for something meaningful like helping our daughters navigate through the drama. After all, we survived adolescence…some of us have more battle wounds than others…but we all made it.
We have to let our daughters know that it is okay to not like someone. It’s okay. You don’t have to force a friendship but you cannot make anyone feel less than. Just because you don’t want to be their friend, does not give you a free pass to be mean or rude.
I read once that the best thing we can do for our daughters is to “teach them how to make friends, keep friends and leave friends; those are skills women need their whole lives.” Friendships change every year. And THAT IS OK. I know I held on to some toxic friendships for way too long because I thought I “needed to.”
Bottom line, we need to be the example for our daughters. That means not slamming other women in front of them…not saying anything negative about a girl in her class…not trashing a girl on her team. Nada.
I had one woman tell me that her daughter “doesn’t have to deal with mean girl drama because she is popular.” Not to point fingers, but you may be too caught up in your daughter’s social status…that kind of popularity is fleeting and it doesn’t mean your daughter is well-liked. I got a message on Instagram from one of the sixth-graders I spoke to and she said: “The kids who think they are popular are always the rudest.”
Not only do our daughters need our guidance…but they need us to stop being hypocrites. We say that we would want to know if our child is being mean so we can handle it…but do we?
Accountability has to start with us. We have to have the tough conversations…we need to start calling our own kids out.
No, it’s not fun hearing that your child has been the mean kid…but we need to be open when another parent, teacher or even another child comes to us.
We need to have a motherhood BAT SIGNAL to let everyone know: PLEASE COME TO ME IF MY CHILD IS BEING MEAN!! I WILL BE RECEPTIVE!
Whether our skin is thick enough to hear that our child is mean or not…we need to know…we need to start talking.
We can’t change what we don’t know.