Can We Stop Raising Mean Girls?

Mean girls have been around for as long as I can remember.

Perhaps you’ve ran into a few when you were a kid.

Perhaps you were their target like I was.

Perhaps you were even one when you were growing up.

Perhaps your child has had the unfortunate experience of being the victim of one.

Perhaps your child is one.

Whatever the case, mean girls seem to hang on and exist despite anti-bullying programs and zero tolerance policies at school. I just can’t seem to figure out why. What joy can I child get out of hurting another child either mentally or physically? Maybe I’m just naïve, but I just don’t get it.

The only explanation I can come up with is that we are raising a society of mean girls. Truth be told we have been for what seems like forever. It’s not just in certain parts of the country. It’s not exclusive to certain schools or districts. It is everywhere. While I do think outside influences can play a part, I don’t think we can pass the blame. It starts at home.

What are we teaching at home? Are we teaching kindness? Are we teaching tolerance? Are we teaching our kids to be genuinely good people? Sadly, I don’t think enough of us are. If we were then mean girls would cease to exist. We as parents need to take responsibility for the types of people we are raising. We need to teach them to be kind. It would be unrealistic for us to teach them to be friends with everyone. That’s just not possible. What is possible is to teach them to treat everyone with respect and kindness. The golden rule never gets old. Treat others like you want to be treated. It’s as simple yet as complicated all in the same breath.

Do you think those mean girls would like it if they were treated like they treat others? Honestly, some of them have become so damaged that it may bounce right off of them and onto their next victim. Others may actually feel some of the pain they’ve inflicted on others.

If you think your kids need to reach middle school or high school to feel the wrath of mean girls, think again. It’s happening even younger than you may think. I’ve seen it in elementary schools and as early as first grade. It is heartbreaking. No parent should every have to explain mean girls to their crying child who just doesn’t understand what they could have done wrong when they know they’ve done nothing.

At those young ages where are these kids learning this type of behavior? Why do they think it is acceptable? The only answer that makes sense to me is that they are learning it from home. Perhaps it’s what they are not learning at home. They are not being taught basic values of being a decent human being. If this is the case then we are failing as parents. We are failing as a society.

Simply put, can we stop raising mean girls? Is it really too much to ask? I can guarantee that everyone will benefit if we can just figure it out.





Dealing with Mean Girls

We’ve all been there. Either you’ve been the target of a mean girl or you’ve been a mean girl yourself. It’s okay to admit it if you were a mean girl. I can honestly tell you I wasn’t one, but I certainly was one of their favorite targets. It doesn’t help when you have a mullet and purple-framed glasses…just saying.

As the mother of two girls, I knew dealing with mean girls was going to be part of the gig. I just didn’t realize it was going to happen so soon. My daughters are only five and almost three.

We were at a birthday party recently where a seven-year-old who was invited decided to play a game called “monster babies”. Apparently you choose which kids are the “monster babies” and you run away from them and don’t play with them. Great frickin game.  As you can probably guess, my girls along with a couple of others were the “monster babies”. That meant they were locked out of a couple of rooms while the non-monster babies yelled at them and played together.

I quickly realized what was happening and resisted the urge to deck the little ring leader. Instead I sat back to watch how my girls reacted. At first they played along, but only for a minute or so. Soon, my older daughter realized the real deal and called for her sister to come over so the two of them could play together…alone.

I was very proud that they didn’t run over to me and whine that no one was playing with them…not even the little girl who invited them to the party. She was too busy playing “monster babies”. My girls just did their own thing and had their own fun.

This dumb game went on for much of the party. As I was walking to the bathroom I saw them leave another little girl out. Tired of biting my tongue all afternoon, I told the little mastermind the other kids were not “monster babies”. I told her that was mean and that was a mean game she was playing. She just looked at me as she continued to play.

I know she didn’t care what I told her, but I felt better saying something. It’s funny because the rest of the parents thought it was a cute and funny game. No one said anything. Yeah, not so much for me.

I always tell my girls to include everyone, especially when there are some kids who may not know each other. I’ve had plenty of parties at my house with all kinds of kids. I can’t think of one time when some were purposely left out in the name of “fun”. Some people may think I overreacted because “kids will be kids”. I can tell you, you will never catch a game of “monster babies” in my house.