The now classic movie teaches valuable lessons but educating your daughter in ways to deal with mean girls isn’t just plonking her in front of the TV and saying, here darling, this will teach you everything you need to know. You may have had to deal with mean girls yourself when you were younger. As a parent you have to call on your experience, knowledge and sense to teach your daughter ways to deal with mean girls.
1. Tell Her It's Not Her Fault
Cliques can be devastating for your confidence and self-esteem. Your daughter may have no clue of ways to deal with mean girls, not understanding these cliques use different ways to exclude others. The first thing you can tell your daughter is that it's not her fault that a group of girls, or mean girls to be precise, treats her in an aggressive, bullying or discriminatory manner. Giving her this confidence will be the biggest help for your daughter to get through those insecure, tumultuous, and awkward middle and high schools years.
2. Support Her to Find a Solution on Her Own
Yes, you want to protect your daughter from every unkind word, every mean girl, and every sting of rejection, but you will have your limitations. It is better to support your daughter in every way but let her brainstorm solutions to feel powerful enough to resolve this issue on her own.
3. Treat Her Well at Home
With media overflowing with mean girl story lines on dramas like Gossip Girl or shows like Jersey Shore, it is obvious to see aggressive girls become role models for teen girls. They take their cruel behavior as a kind of confidence, but they can be really mean at times, and that's when you can help your daughter by lavishing her with acceptance and affection at home. Let her know that no matter how cruel the world is out there, she will get love and respect at home. It may not sound that relevant, but believe me, it will help her remain confident even in front of cliques and the meanest of mean girls.
4. Tell Her to Find Allies
Bullying behavior amongst boys may involve name-calling, shouting, and physical altercations, but the girl-bullying situations are different because of the absence of physical component. Mean girls may use exclusion, backbiting, and manipulation to inflict psychological pain on targets. Tell your daughter how to stay positive in situations when mean girls pass notes, flash looks, and spread rumors, and tell her to find other friends who will stand up with her. There's always safety in numbers, and even mean girls will have to back down when more girls stand confident and firm against them (but not retaliate in the same manner!)
5. Tell Her to Inform Adults at School
One of the ways to deal with mean girls is to teach your daughter the importance of keeping a trusted adult at school informed of the whole situation. In most cases, these mean girls handle everything in a way that adults seldom have a clue of such bullying, so it is a good idea to tell someone of what they're cooking.
6. Don't Offer Superficial Advice
Explain how she can be confident in her own abilities and strengths. Don't take her on a shopping spree and get her fashionable clothes to make her like the popular girls. Instead, encourage her to be herself and discover why she's a unique child of the world. Be sure to give her the tools she can use to tame the mean girls, but don't teach her to be like them to avoid them.
7. Don't Let Her See Herself as a Victim
It's very easy to make teenage girls feel sorry for themselves, but it's your duty to explain how your daughter can use these experiences to develop her character and be even more compassionate towards other girls that might also be rejected or lonely (yes, there will always be others as well). Tell her not to see herself as a victim and instead be strong to take rejections.
None of the ways to deal with mean girls are guaranteed or perfect solutions. You can however arm your daughter with the confidence and assurance she needs to face the issues. Help her find a solution that means she stays strong and grows from the experience rather than just scoring an empty victory. Beating them by playing a better game, with a higher moral stance and more social conscience is a far better victory to celebrate. Have you had to or are you dealing with mean girls?