Stop Molding Tiny Mean Girls!

My daughter is a second grader this year and for the first time in her life she’s struggling a bit socially, and if you knew her you would know this is completely out of the ordinary. She’s been talking about herself in very negative ways, calling herself “stupid” and “ugly” because she thinks saying otherwise would be bragging.

The thing is, I know that at least some of my daughter’s self-depreciating behavior was learned from me. I’m very hard on myself in all aspects, and it’s very hard for me to accept compliments without following them up with a negative comment about myself. I’ve noticed that I need to lighten up and learn some better self-care habits… otherwise I’ll be passing all of my issues on to my 7 year old whether she knows it or not.

It doesn’t help that the whole “mean girl” crap starts way too early! We were first dealing with mean girls in preschool, a time where you would expect kids to be perhaps the happiest and most accepting that they will ever be in their lives. Boy, was I wrong! There have been multiple girls that have told my daughter that she is ugly or gross when she is anything but. These girls have learned this behavior from somewhere… and absorbed that it somehow makes them feel good to tear someone else down.

Women are so unbelievably mean to each other, often for no reason at all. Of course, we pass these behaviors on to our girls not even realizing it. They overhear our conversations and are a lot more in tune than we give them credit for. Women need to wake up and see that their girls are watching the way they treat other women, and even subtle remarks can’t slide under the radar.

This summer my daughter was attending a summer camp and met another little girl her age that happened to live in our neighborhood. We’ll call her Josie. Josie was very manipulative and passive-aggressive for such a little kid. She was constantly telling my daughter that she wouldn’t be her friend unless she did whatever it was that Josie wanted. Even though I told my daughter that Josie was not a good friend for her she still wanted to play with her because there aren’t many little girls that live nearby.

Where did Josie learn to manipulate people into doing what she wants them to do? I would bet anything that she learned it at home. Josie might have observed her mother pulling the same kind of crap on another adult, probably oblivious to the fact that she was modeling destructive behavior for her daughter.

Passive-aggressive behavior is a real pet peeve of mine. . . Saying one thing out loud, but saying something completely different by omission and tone of voice. While men are outwardly combative, women tend to prefer passive-aggressive tactics. It’s hard to decipher the exact intent to cause harm via sarcasm, so when these situations arise you’re left wondering if the jab really happened even though you know full well it did. You can feel the indirect expression of hostility, but it’s cloaked by plausible deniability.

Even little girls can pick up on it. Don’t underestimate the maturity of your child’s perception.

It seems like women associate honesty with weakness, as if they’re somehow going to lose ground by laying all of their cards out on the table… but this line of thought leads to an ugly game that no one can win. It’s a recipe for messy, uneasy relationships.

The world would be a much happier place if women would stop teaching their daughters to be tiny mean girls. It’s senseless. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. You never know what our girls are paying attention to and absorbing. Model niceness for goodness sakes! And remember that your tone of voice matters just as much as the words that are coming out of your mouth. Disingenuity… fakeness… whatever you want to call it — it’s damn unpretty.

Share this if you want to stop the mean girl cycle.


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