Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Protecting You & Your Children From Mean Girls

The Headlines:

Why are there Mean Girls?

Let's start making Nice Girls.





When I was a young girl I made my Mom very proud.  Wanna know what I did?

I won the award for "Nicest Person in the Class."

We all strive to do important things in our lives.  We attempt to get the best grade, become captain of our sports team, make the most money, shine the brightest, win the game.  It's what we do.  It's what parents hope their children do...  but winning that award when I was a girl was "it" for my Mom.  She didn't need me to be the captain of anything... she needed to know that I was nice to others.  It made her happy.  It was so simple.

I remember the vote.  The teacher announced what we'd be voting on and all the faces in the classroom turned to me.  I was nice to the "under-dogs,"  I helped those who seemed helpless, I always included people, I liked everyone... it worked really well for me.  Others even protected me because I was so nice.  No one was allowed to be mean to the "nice girl".

Boy have times changed.  Now, it's cool to be mean.  Girls pride themselves on it.  There are movies made about it.  It's a topic well known.  And that's incredibly unfortunate.  Because that's not really how the world works.  In fact, it's the opposite.

When real people go to a restaurant, if the server treats them rudely they won't get a good tip.  If you're buying a car and a salesperson is an a--, they won't make the sale.  If someone is overtly mean or crude on a television broadcast - they'll be fired.

So how can Mean Girls get away with it?  Others let them.  All girls want to be liked.  Sometimes they think being mean will get them there.  But girls who are mean - are just insecure.  Really... I'll say it again


How do I know?  Sometime, after earning my nice award, in Junior High, I got mean.  Not terribly mean, but mean-er than the "Nicest Person in the Class."  I did it because I felt insecure.  Junior High was tough and I felt lost.  The worse I felt, the meaner I got.  I would put down others to make myself feel better.  Being "mean" falsely built me up on the outside.  But on the inside, I was aching.

Many girls today are hurting.  They, too, tear others down to build themselves up.  But the wall isn't sturdy and they will crumble.  They will fall.  And they will try to take others down with them.

It sounds awful, doesn't it?  But it's reality.  A reality that won't go away anytime soon.  SO we, as parents, have to be prepared for it.  We can't put our kids in a bubble even though we want to...

Here are 5 strategies Moms can use:

#1 Talk everyday
This is easier for some, harder for others.  I, as a little girl, wanted to talk non-stop.  My daughter doesn't say crap.  She just doesn't naturally open up.  I have to dig.  Or sometimes she just erupts.  But regardless of their attitudes towards talking - keep digging.  They will know you're there and open up when they're ready.  Just be prepared - it could be at an inconvenient time - and you will have to stop everything to listen.  But it will be well worth the interruption.  Promise.

#2 Know Her Friends (and her family)
This one seems obvious, right?  I love that kids come to my house.  I get to keep my eye on them and their behavior.  See them interact.  Maybe my daughter hasn't made the best choice in a friend.  I can now see that and either steer her in another direction or be prepared when the s--- hits the fan.  Because there's a good chance, at some point, it will.

You know the saying:  the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  You may not want to get to know that Mom - but you should.  For the same reasons mentioned above.  You don't have to be best friends but knowing them will give you insight to their child.  Not to mention, if you ever have an issue that needs to be resolved... it may be easier if you're "friends."

#3 Involve Her In Outside Activities
My daughter came home in tears the other day.  She wanted  to stay home from her golf lesson.  I made her go... know why?  Because it takes her mind off of what went wrong at school and gives her a chance to be with other friends.  If she stayed home she'd mope about what happened... since she went - new memories were made.  Also, it's just smart to diversify.  If all her friends are in one place - what happens if things go awry?

#4 Good School Choices 
Does the school's core values line up with your own?  If they don't - you're in the wrong place.  I want to like the public school system.  It's how I grew up.  I used to believe in it.  At this point, however, I can not ignore the fact that many public schools are just trying to get by.  There are so many issues to deal with - i.e.: school security, state/ntl mandates, test scores, common core,  drugs, the list is endless... and the very last thing on their list is social skills.  My problem with that... if your child is miserable at school, how much is she really going to learn?  Not to say that you need a school that teaches social skills first and math second but there needs to be appropriate checks and balances.  If your daughter has trouble at school... what happens?  It's not official "bullying" but there's clearly something very wrong.  What do they do?  Pick a charter or private (funds allowing) school that will handle matters and situations properly.  It's not running away from a problem... it's simply aligning your family with an environment that works best for you.  Think of it as a college choice... just much earlier.

Finally, and most simply...

#5 Make a Nice Girl
Why do we keep talking about Mean Girls?  Let's start a movement to Make Nice Girls.  You're the parent.  You are the one in control here.  Make your daughter a Nice Girl.  She should be liked, because she's the "Nicest Person in the Class" not the meanest.  We'll talk more about in my next post because I truly believe Mean Girls are an epidemic and if we don't do something, as the adults, to stop it.  We're just as guilty.


Lastly, there's you.  As her Mom - if your daughter is enduring the wrath of the Mean Girls -  you're hurting inside almost as much as her.  You CAN help her through this... you have the power and know what is best for your child.  You know what needs to be done... because she's yours.

With that said, tread lightly.  Be careful with your choices because they will affect her.  And know... that for as many Mean Girls as there are out there - there are just as many (if not more) supportive, incredible, strong, helpful, Nice Girls out there who are waiting to meet other Nice Girls... like yours.