A Letter to the Moms of Mean Girls

Syndicated

It’s difficult for all of us to hear criticism of our children, and I’m sure it’s not easy to learn that your child is a bully. Believe me, I get it. Your first instinct is to defend your kid because she’s your baby and you love her. But you must understand that the kid she picks on is someone’s baby too, and that child probably goes home every day and sobs because she feels worthless and inferior, and every day at school is a nightmare. Imagine how you would feel in her shoes. Or in her mother’s shoes. If you find out that your daughter is a mean girl, PLEASE don’t make excuses for her behavior, because guess what? She’s not perfect, and neither are you. Kids make mistakes, and sometimes they need consequences in order to learn from them. That’s where you come in.

As a woman, and as a mother, you would probably agree that the support and validation of other women is important to you. Naturally, we all want to feel like we belong, that we’re OK, and that we’re not alone. Our daughters, who are small and fragile, need this even more. If your daughter is a mean girl, in spite of how she appears, or what she says or does, she probably needs this most of all. So, tell her that you love her. Tell her that she’s beautiful, special, and important, and please, for her own good, tell her that her behavior is wrong, and she needs to make it right.

Children do as you do -- not as you say. Even if you tell your daughter to be kind, you must lead by example. You must be a person who goes out of her way to include that other mom who is hanging back, shy and uncertain, on the sidelines. Instead of joining in the gossip, be a person who looks for the good in others. Be a loyal friend, defend the underdog, give to the less fortunate, support those in crisis, be slow to judge and quick to empathize, keep your word, and tell the truth. Show your daughter that this is what a real woman does.

In spite of the title, this post isn’t really just for moms of mean girls. It’s for all of us, because we ALL fail at these things -- myself included. We’re human, and we want to fit in, and it’s much easier to follow the crowd than to stand out. I’m just as guilty as anyone else of being judgmental and critical and sometimes mean -- if not necessarily out loud, then certainly in my head -- and it occurred to me today that my daughter probably overhears me griping to my husband about another mom, or sees me roll my eyes behind someone’s back, and she thinks that kind of behavior is O.K.

It’s not.

I don’t ever want to be the mother of a mean girl. I don’t think anyone does, so let’s not accept that this is “just how girls are.” Let’s help them make a change.

It starts with us.

 

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