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It's Time to Start a 'No Mean Girls' Coalition

Posted by on May. 21, 2011 at 2:45 PM
  • 44 Replies

It's Time to Start a 'No Mean Girls' Coalition

When I was in high school, I definitely was not considered one of the "cool" girls. Apparently, if your senior year resume includes show choir and the drug-free squad, you're on the OK to Ignore and Even Jeer At If Necessary list.

I wasn't bullied, but there were certainly girls who were mean to me because I wasn't a cheerleader or on a sports team or wearing the best clothes, and, to be honest, I just never understood it. Why would someone want to purposefully ignore you, or laugh and point at you, or talk behind your back? Whatever. I grew up to kick ass anyway, but it would have been nice not to have felt hurt during those very tender and hormonal years.

Yesterday, my 5-year-old daughter encountered her first "mean girls" situation. She wanted to play with a few older girls who were out on the sidewalk in our neighborhood. She ran right up to them in her eager and jaunty way and asked to play. One of them in particular gave her a sideways icy look and said the group would be unavailable because they'd be going inside in a minute.

Madden, ever game, said she'd be perfectly willing to go inside, too. This led the haughty girl to make even more excuses about why my daughter shouldn't join in. The other two, thankfully, seemed to think it would be just fine to have little Maddie there for a while, so she stayed and I walked home.

A few minutes later, Madden came running in the house to get something one of the girls said she needed. Fine, no problem, happy to oblige. A few minutes after that she came running back into the house to get some other random thing for one of the girls. I didn't like the pattern that was developing.

"Are they playing with you?"

"Um, sort of. Well, not really."

"Why do they keep sending you running back and forth to our house to get things when they're standing right out in front of one of their houses and could get it themselves?"

"I don't know, Momma."

That was it for me. I knew this wasn't working out. I said the girls didn't really want to play with her in the first place, and now they were just sending her off on errands to get rid of her. I could feel my hackles going up, and I don't even know what hackles are. I started getting that sick mom-worry feeling in the pit of my stomach. It's not time for mean girls yet, is it? She's only 5!

It occurred to me as I stood there in the kitchen, preventing myself from inappropriately marching down the street to give the mean girls what for, that I had no idea how to handle such treatment when I was younger, and I have no idea what to do for my daughter now. Thus, I did the first thing people do when they don't know where to turn these days: I fretted publicly on Twitter.

It was amazing how many moms responded with their own worries for their daughters. It made me wonder, is it true that women and girls are catty? Is it really an inevitable part of our nature, a flaw of our gender, to gather up in cliques and be spiteful to each other, or does the female sex have an unfair reputation when it comes to this issue?

Sort of offhandedly, I tweeted "We should all start a No Mean Girls Coalition to teach our girls how to be kind to each other AND to stand up for themselves." That seemed to hit a nerve, because lots of mothers said they were ready and willing to join.

Someone pointed the Kind Campaign, of which I was unaware. Apparently, the young female filmmakers of a documentary called "Finding Kind" also have come to the conclusion that we need to be proactive in teaching our girls about relationships with each other.

"It seems that society has concluded that girls are catty and mean to each other and that it's never going to change. People fail to realize that these experiences are detrimental to a female's growth, self-esteem and ability to form healthy and functional relationships. The cruelty that exists among females is a serious issue that needs immediate attention. The goal of the film is not to point the finger at the 'mean girl,' however, because we have all been on both sides of this issue. It's about collecting stories and perspectives from females all over the country and using these stories to spread awareness and start a dialog about the issue," says Lauren Parsekian, a Kind Campaign founder.

Yes! We need a dialog. We need to come together in some purposeful and meaningful way to make sure our daughters are kind and compassionate to others, understand what being a good friend means, know how to recognize when someone is taking advantage of them and feel confident enough to walk away. So ... any ideas?

How many of you have over reacted to other children being mean to your own?  What would you do in this woman's situation?
by on May. 21, 2011 at 2:45 PM
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Replies (1-10):
lovinangels
by on May. 21, 2011 at 3:01 PM

I'm seriously crying right now, and I'd better stop before Miss Tween comes down from cleaning her room. We are soooo dealing with mean girls right now, and it's horrible. 

They made up a special hand signal to use just for my daughter. It means she's flat chested. She's 11, she supposed to be. Tears, tears, tears. I don't know what to do. 

She DOES have the best clothes. She's just on the outside of the popular group- included one day, made fun of the next.  It's horrible. I would talk to their mothers, but they are EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, only they aren't as open about it.  I have no idea what to do. 


survivorinohio
by René on May. 21, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Oh mama I am so sorry.  I know it hurts to see them struggle:(

Quoting lovinangels:

I'm seriously crying right now, and I'd better stop before Miss Tween comes down from cleaning her room. We are soooo dealing with mean girls right now, and it's horrible. 

They made up a special hand signal to use just for my daughter. It means she's flat chested. She's 11, she supposed to be. Tears, tears, tears. I don't know what to do. 

She DOES have the best clothes. She's just on the outside of the popular group- included one day, made fun of the next.  It's horrible. I would talk to their mothers, but they are EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, only they aren't as open about it.  I have no idea what to do. 



How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


    

                                             

                    


TruthSeeker.
by Milami on May. 21, 2011 at 3:08 PM

 My daughter is 6 and so far no mean girl experiences, but her class only had 8 girls total and they were given the "bully" talk at the beginning of the school year.

 I have no idea what I would do if someone was mean to my daughter. I guess try to speak with the parents if it were an option.  

Veni.Vidi.Vici
by on May. 21, 2011 at 3:09 PM


Quoting lovinangels:

I'm seriously crying right now, and I'd better stop before Miss Tween comes down from cleaning her room. We are soooo dealing with mean girls right now, and it's horrible. 

They made up a special hand signal to use just for my daughter. It means she's flat chested. She's 11, she supposed to be. Tears, tears, tears. I don't know what to do. 

She DOES have the best clothes. She's just on the outside of the popular group- included one day, made fun of the next.  It's horrible. I would talk to their mothers, but they are EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, only they aren't as open about it.  I have no idea what to do. 


I'm sorry this made you cry! = (

I hope some of these ladies can come to your rescue. I'm at a loss!

hugs

Danielle163
by on May. 21, 2011 at 3:34 PM

 I first found out how bad the "mean girls"  (here  in our area) were back in the summer of 2007. My DD was only 4 1/2 and wanted nothing more than to play with this other child who was only 3 1/2. She was almost running up to her--"HI!!! WANT TO PLAY?" with a full-blown smile on her face. This kid didn't know my child at all (had never met her B/F)----These were her words  "I don't like you, I won''t be friends with you".  I was flabbergasted and in shock. The mom put her daughter into a 10 minute timeout but she didn't act embarrassed at all (I would have been mortified).  I found out later that this mom kind of had this attitude (better than you) and the only reason that she had spoken to me (at all) was because we used to work at the same place .

IMO, part of the problem is that "mean girls" are glamorized. They are the cool ones, have the nicer clothes, nice cars, etc. I've commented B/F to other posts about mean girls/bullying problems.  My DD has been removed from P.S. and is now HS. She  was being bullied so bad in K. & 1st grade. My heart goes out to all the families that are going through this. Its devastating to see what it does to your child's self-esteem (my DD has NONE now) and she has a negative self-image (I'm ugly & stupid). Its just awful.---I didn't watch the piece on the documentary, I'm sure its sad and I don't need to be brought down by that today because I'm already living with it everyday even though DD is HS now. That's how bad the kids are here.

Thomigirl
by Platinum Member on May. 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

It doesn't help that this type of behavior is glamorized...

_Bamaborn_
by on May. 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

So agree with that...

Quoting Thomigirl:

It doesn't help that this type of behavior is glamorized...


pvtjokerus
by Ruby Member on May. 21, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Hang in there.  I honestly do not know what I would do if I was in your shoes.

Quoting lovinangels:

I'm seriously crying right now, and I'd better stop before Miss Tween comes down from cleaning her room. We are soooo dealing with mean girls right now, and it's horrible. 

They made up a special hand signal to use just for my daughter. It means she's flat chested. She's 11, she supposed to be. Tears, tears, tears. I don't know what to do. 

She DOES have the best clothes. She's just on the outside of the popular group- included one day, made fun of the next.  It's horrible. I would talk to their mothers, but they are EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, only they aren't as open about it.  I have no idea what to do. 



PamR
by Ruby Member on May. 21, 2011 at 5:55 PM


Quote:

I'm seriously crying right now, and I'd better stop before Miss Tween comes down from cleaning her room. We are soooo dealing with mean girls right now, and it's horrible. 

They made up a special hand signal to use just for my daughter. It means she's flat chested. She's 11, she supposed to be. Tears, tears, tears. I don't know what to do. 

She DOES have the best clothes. She's just on the outside of the popular group- included one day, made fun of the next.  It's horrible. I would talk to their mothers, but they are EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, only they aren't as open about it.  I have no idea what to do. 


I've been there, too.  My 14 year old was the target this past school year, of her former "friends."  They were vicious.  And yeah, one day they were her buddies, the next, their target.  It got to the point where she didn't want to go to school at all.  And I have also experienced the mothers who encourage and affirm this kind of behavior, which I find inexcusable.

If she can find one or two girls that she can be close with, they sometimes can buffer each other from the mean girls.  You can encourage some sort of hobby or interest she may have, that can put her in contact with kids who have similar interests, and don't necessarily go to her school, so they aren't in on the whole social thing there.  Good luck!


lovinangels
by on May. 21, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Thanks for all your support, ladies, I didn't mean to steal this post.

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