Tonight my daughter caught me crying. I can count on one hand how many times in her eight years she has witnessed me in tears.
I tried to hide it, poorly.
She tried to make me smile, successfully.
And in that awkward moment between sighs as I tried to explain to my daughter why I was crying she opened up to me. There are not many moments where my daughter actually opens up to me. Most days questions are greeted in one-word answers like “fine” or “fun” or “yeah”. Today, though, we struggled with the same problem. One that probably every woman who has set foot on this Earth has had to deal with because…
Girls are mean. Like vindictive, jealous, spiteful, and unforgivingly mean.
Growing up I dealt with mean girls, but not until Middle School. Never did I ever imagine having to have a discussion with my kids on this in second grade. While we have had the talk about bullying, we hadn’t delved much into popularity. For us, it seems the time has come.
How to Help Your Daughter Deal with Mean Girls
Hearing my daughter open up to me about her experiences was painful. As a mom one of my biggest fears is getting my daughter through those awkward, insecure, and turbulent teenage years with her confidence still intact. My instinct is to attempt to protect her from every bully and mean girl out there, but I know that isn’t possible or wise. If I were to do so I myself would play a part in undermining her confidence. Instead of entering this with the mindset of protecting my daughter from the mean girls out there, I chose a different path. A path that would equip her to navigate those conflicts.
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Charisse Nixon, Ph.D.. co-author of Girl Wars: 12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying believes that girls bully when their needs of “ABC and me– acceptance (by self), belonging (among others), control, and meaningful existence — are thwarted.” This is one of the biggest basis of my belief that is our job as parents to equip our children. That in doing so we are building their confidence, self-acceptance, belonging, and compassion while avoiding a control battle. So how do you equip your daughter?
1. Don’t Offer Superficial Advice to Help Your Daughter Fit in Better.
Teach your daughter to be true to herself. Don’t offer to take her shopping for more fashionable clothes or push trends on her. Ask her about her interests. Support those interests. Encourage her to be her best self and seek out friends who enjoy the same things that she does. Friends that will love her for who she is.
2. Make Your Home Filled with Love.
The outside world is rough. I have had more than my fair share of days where it has beat me up, spit me out, and left me utterly exhausted. I am sure you have too. And guess what? Our kids will also have those days. There is nothing that you can do to stop that. You can, however, make your home an oasis. The place that no matter what your child is showered with love and acceptance. Where they can relax and be accepted 100% as they are. This isn’t easy. Especially if you have a child who is going against your core beliefs or isn’t going down the path that you imagined for them. But, it is the most important thing you can do.
3. Teach Compassion.
Rejection sucks. Bullying sucks that much more. When you are on the receiving end of those two things it is easy to become the victim. The victim mindset also sucks. It will suck the life right out of your daughters’ confidence, self-acceptance, and control. Compassion is one of the strongest weapons your daughter will have against mean girls. It is the weapon that will make her a survior and not a victim.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. –Ephesians 4:32
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