September 12, 2017

How Not to be a Mean Girl

Lindsay dreads going to school every day. She wakes up with a pit in her stomach, already knowing how the day will play out. She slowly walks to school, her nerves acting up more with each step. When she gets to school, she does her best to get to homeroom without making eye contact with anyone. 

But she’s not so fortunate. 

Out of nowhere comes a rude shove, nearly knocking her into the lockers. Suddenly, a group of girls bursts out laughing, enjoying watching Lindsay as she nearly stumbles to the floor. With hot tears in her eyes, she rushes to her class, wishing she could just disappear forever.

Many of us suffered painful moments such as these throughout our school years; in particular, our Junior High and High School years. We would never wish such pain on anyone, and especially not on our daughters.

But what if our daughter is  not the one being bullied?

What if she’s one of the girls laughing at the 2017 version of Lindsay?

Unfortunately, these incidents will always be an issue in school, no matter what age our kids are. But these days, social media has taken bullying to a new level. It’s so much easier and more efficient to destroy a girl’s reputation online, because kids have such a wide reach.

If you have a suspicion that your daughter might be bullying or making fun of others, here are a few tips to help you clarify what’s going on:

  1. She puts others down. This includes her siblings and even a younger friend. She sees herself as better than other girls. These types of girls generally have a narcissistic attitude and like to intimidate others. Wealth is not always the cause; these behaviors can also cover up extreme insecurity. 
  1. Pay attention to her friends.Eventually, you will see a pattern in their behavior as well – the snickering, the snide remarks. Look for attitudes in your daughter that convey this kind of “everyone loves me/is jealous of me” persona. Do you overhear them laughing as they insult and make fun of other girls? 
  1. She loves extreme drama. We’re not talking about regular fights and arguments. There are constant disagreements, oppositional behavior, and competition with other girls. Are you getting phone calls from the school because she’s constantly involved in arguments or fights?
  1. She uses social media to push others around. In previous articles, we discussed the fact that social media needs to have ground rules and guidelines.  A free pass to unsupervised online access is a recipe for disaster. Check her facebook page and look for any posts or emails that are hateful or mean. If you find such content, you must question her. Her phone should also be checked - look at her What’sApp conversations and texts. 
  1. Don’t be afraid to be the bad guy.Some parents are afraid of invading their daughter’s privacy because they want to be “friends” with their daughters. That is complete nonsense. Your daughter needs a mother, not another friend. If she sees you as her friend, she will not respect you any more than she respects her other friends. It’s important to establish the hierarchy in the family. She must respect you and listen to your direction. If she doesn’t, you can certainly take away her privileges, including her phone and all online access.  

Every mother wants her kids to be kind, considerate, and sharing. It’s a normal human desire to want to give and receive empathy and compassion. If you find that your daughter is turning into the opposite of what is good and healthy, speak with her about it in a non-threatening way. If you put her on the defensive and accuse her, you will get nowhere and she will further retreat from you. It might be worthwhile to meet with a therapist if you see that her behavior is truly hurting others and she’s becoming highly oppositional.

Just as importantly, show her by example what it means to be a good human being. Volunteer with her in activities that care for others, such as giving out food in a shelter, offering to walk someone’s dog, bringing food to someone who’s just given birth, or visiting sick children in a hospital. Try to put her in situations that will make her more sensitive to others, especially those who are less fortunate. Being someone that can make a positive difference in these people’s lives will give her a deep sense of joy and gratitude for what she has.

What do you think? Let us know, We're always looking for your input and thoughts about these topics.

-The Yellowberry Team

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