Raising a daughter is hard, especially when you know that one day they’ll have to deal with the “mean girls” at school. Unlike the movies it doesn’t just happen in high school, now it has moved down to elementary school–even invading my daughter’s Pre-K class! If you know anything about girls, you know that instead of being blatantly rude there are several ways to be “mean” without any teacher ever knowing.
I’ll give you an example. This past week my 4 year old daughter told me about two girls in her Pre- Kindergarten class who was being very mean to her. At first I “chalked it up” to kids “just being kids” until she told me in detail what they were doing. The girls who use non verbal signals to ensure that my daughter did what they said and if she refused to do it they would say, “We’re not your friends!” They would even take steps to attempt to ostracize her from the group and try to intimidate her to do what they wanted her to do.
By the time she was done telling me I was so angry that I seriously considered going to the school to talk with the girls myself. Before I could turn the car around I could hear my mother’s voice saying to me, “Calm down Fran. Go home and think about it.” As I drove home I continued to be angry, but I began to think to myself, “where in the heck did little girls learn these behaviors from?”
Of course I had my answer already- usually from their mothers. We as women model what our daughters do. If we gossip, they gossip. If we act petty, they act petty. If we are mean women, they will be mean girls.
When I got home I sat my daughter down and in my serious tone I told her by no means did she have to listen to these girls. I went further and told her that instead of being quiet when the girls bothered her (or made her sad) that she was to tell them to LEAVE HER ALONE! I then explained to her that because she was smart, beautiful, and more importantly kind– that didn’t mean the other kids would be. She looked at me, and I could see in her eyes how serious she was taking my “talk”. We then practiced several situations, and what she should do so that she did not have to endure the “mean girls” or their bullying.
This my BMWK family, is what I call “real parenting”. It’s no longer acceptable to “sugar coat” issues, and send kids to school as targets for the ever widening group of bullies. Just like adults, kids have to be equipped to handle bullies in life. When I was in elementary school, my mother was the parent that was coming to the school if someone messed with us. We were so terrified of what she’d do that we’d hide if someone messed with us and take care of it ourselves. So I knew I was doing the right thing by talking with her about the situation.
The next morning I acted like everything was normal. I made everyone breakfast then volunteered to take our daughter to school and let my husband take the boys. On the way to school I gave her “the talk” again, and reiterated that by ALL means she was going to “take up” for herself. After sitting in the car with her for a couple of minutes, I walked her inside, nervous but I knew she’d no longer be a victim.
That afternoon I went to pick her up and she proudly told me that she had “stood up” for herself. She had yelled at the girls who were doing the teasing to “leave her alone” and then she went off and played with who she wanted to! I was proud that my baby girl was learning to take up for herself. This lesson will hopefully resonate with her for the rest of her life. Don’t allow the “mean girls”, or bullies to make you feel bad about your life.
That evening I called her teacher, and we had a good talk where she communicated to me what she was doing to minimize the “meanness” in class. I not only felt better but I knew that my daughter was in good hands. While I was really angry when I first found out about the bullying, here are three simple rules to ensure the “mean girls” don’t terrorize your children:
1. Contact your child’s teacher so they are aware of what was going on in the class. Many states have anti-bullying legislation in the wake of kids committing suicide over bullying. Read your state’s statutes and know your rights! For example, here in Georgia if kids are written up twice for bullying they are automatically sent to an alternative setting!
2. Instruct your kids HOW to handle the “mean girls” in life. I made sure my daughter understood that there was nothing wrong with her despite what the bullies wanted her to believe.
3. Schedule a conference with all parties involved (kids, parents and teachers). This should be a last resort but it can be an effective action. Many times the kids aren’t the ones to blame but instead you find that their parents are “mean adults”. Kids only imitate behavior””especially as young as 4 years old.
In conclusion, I quickly resolved my daughter’s issues but I know the day is coming where I won’t be there to give her immediate advice. Hopefully she’s learned what to do even when I’m not around.
Check out our latest music video that raises awareness on bullying #MikeBully.
If your child is a victim of bullying here’s more info on what you can do about it.
BMWK – Did you experience bullies or “mean girls” when you were young? How did your parents deal with it? Or, did you try to handle it yourself? Have/are your kids been victim to a bully? How did you handle it? Was the school supportive?