Dealing with mean girls can be a difficult and distressing experience for young girls. As a parent, it is important to provide your daughter with the necessary tools and support to navigate these challenging situations.
Some girls are just so mean. Like, really mean.
We’ve seen it in movies, we witnessed it in person, and there is a good chance you have a personal story to tell about a mean girl.
There is even a chance that you recall a time that you felt pressured to be not-so-nice. Or, maybe you are a recovering mean girl yourself.
Now that I have a daughter approaching middle school years, I am making it a priority to understand why some girls are so mean and how to help girls cope with the ugly reality of girl bullying.
Why are Some Girls so Mean?
Girls bullying is a complex issue that can arise from various underlying factors. Understanding WHY some girls are so mean can help you guide your daughter as she deals with her own mean girls.
One significant reason is insecurity and the desire to gain power or control over others. In some cases, girls may feel intimated or threatened by their peers’ achievements or strengths, prompting them to resort to bullying as a means of asserting dominance.
Also read: 7 Social Media Rules for Kids and Teens
Additionally, certain social and cultural dynamics can contribute to the development of bullying behavior among girls. Peer pressure, cliques, and a need to fit into societal norms and expectations can create a hostile environment where some girls feel compelled to engage in bullying.
Related: Social Emotional Rules for all Kids
Moreover, societal influences, such as media portrayals and unrealistic beauty standards, can contribute to low self-esteem and a sense of competition, further fueling bullying tendencies among girls.
Conflict at home
I remember being in 5th grade and learning that the girl who bullied me had to move overnight because her parents were going threw a nasty divorce.
These girl bullies may find themselves entangled in interpersonal conflicts and struggles within their own familial environment. Psychological or emotional difficulties at home can also play a significant role, influencing their behavior and ability to cope with their own internal conflicts.
Check out these Conflict Resolution Lessons and Activities Designed for Kids.
5 Ways to Help Your Daughter Cope with Mean Girls
As a parent, watching your daughter deal with mean girls is both painful and frustrating.
Resist all urges to track down that girl and scream at her in public (joking, sort of).
Instead, teach your daughter these 5 lessons to help them cope with future mean girls – which they will inevitably face.
1) Take a Moment to Consider the Bully’s Situation
While this can be the hardest thing to do when someone is bullying you. Your child will most likely roll their eyes when you say “Think of what THEY are going through.”
While I don’t think there is ever a valid excuse for bullying, understanding that there are some unrelated factors leading to bullying can make it all a little less personal.
The bully may be growing up in an unstable home. She may have pressures or traumas we don’t even understand.
Promote empathy and kindness by encouraging your daughter to treat others with respect and kindness, even if they are not reciprocating. Helping her understand that mean behavior often stems from insecurities or unresolved issues can encourage empathy and reduce the impact of negative experiences.
Learn about toxic, or enmeshed parenting here.
2) Stay Grounded in Your Own Identity
Help your daughter build a strong sense of self-worth and confidence. Encourage her to cultivate her interests, talents, and abilities.
Engage her in activities that boost her self-esteem and empower her to stand up for herself.
Follow these tips to drastically improve your daughter’s confidence.
Also, help her value and nurture true friendships in her life. Learn how to teach your kid to be a good friend here.
3) Explore Coping Mechanisms
Help your daughter develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the emotional stress caused by mean girls.
This can include engaging in activities she enjoys, practicing relaxation techniques, or seeking professional guidance if needed.
4) Learn How to be Assertive
Assertiveness refers to commanding respect.
To demand respect is to tell others, “You will respect me or else.” However, to command respect is to have others observe and admire your actions without threat or consequence.
Empower your daughter with assertiveness skills to respond appropriately to mean behavior. Teach her how to communicate assertively, express her feelings, and set boundaries. Role-playing scenarios can be helpful in practicing assertive responses.
Sometimes it is okay to walk away, and sometimes it is appropriate to stand up for yourself. Developing these skills in assertiveness will help guide your child or teen.
5) Know When to Ask for Help
Encourage your daughter to surround herself with supportive and positive friends. Building a strong support system can provide her with the emotional support and friendship she needs during challenging times.
Tell your daughter to speak up right away if they ever feel threatened, worried, or just need advice or sometime to step in.
Create a safe and non-judgmental environment where your daughter feels comfortable sharing her experiences. Encourage her to talk about what happened, how it made her feel, and any concerns she may have.
Final Thoughts on How to Help Your Daughter Deal with Mean Girls
Remember, every situation is unique, and it’s essential to tailor your support to your daughter’s specific needs. By implementing these strategies, you can equip your daughter with the resilience and skills to navigate the challenges posed by mean girls and foster her overall emotional well-being.
Girl bullying unfortunately doesn’t go away. These 5 skills will help your daughter learn how to deal with mean girls now so that they will be unphased as they grow older.
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Also read: Girl’s confidence takes a nosedive starting around age 8, improve girls’ confidence with these tips.