We’ve all seen the typical group of girls pinpointing one unlucky victim as their primary target. Perhaps you’ve seen that one girl who makes everyone think that being in her presence is a gift. Let’s not forget the girls who make picking on other girls in their class their favorite pastime.
You may ask yourself, what motivates girls to be mean girls? The root of the problem could be low self-esteem, an abusive background, poor home life, or insecurity. The girl needs to make their position in life superior and valuable. Because they position themselves at the top of the pyramid, they focus on putting other girls down or making them feel less.
If your daughter becomes a target of the mean girl at her school, your life will become a whirlwind of emotions. You’ll hear about wrongs committed against them, and some of the most hurtful and vicious words ever said about their character. Some may find the stereotype offensive and overused, but girls can be incredibly snotty, catty, and downright mean to each other. When they feel wronged, they’re slow to forgive and won’t forget. It’s almost like they enjoy creating misery in those around them.
As a parent, how do you assist your daughter with navigating mean girls? How do you stop them from falling into a depressive state where they start to hate themselves and question their worth? Here are some tips on how to help your daughter navigate mean girls.
Help them recognize who they are.
Nothing is more important than your daughter’s understanding of her innate value, not only in your eyes but in the Lord’s. If their identity is set on the fact that they are God’s creation, He watches over them, and He’s invested in their well-being, then you’ve created a firm foundation for your daughter. Even a young child can understand the thought of personal sacrifice when someone lays down their life for another person, so start developing that awareness in your daughter. Tell her that God thought she was worth dying for and nothing could devalue her in His eyes. Having an unbreakable bond with her Creator will let your daughter know how valuable she is. This notion will build her self-confidence and humility if formed and molded correctly. As the mean girl darts fly, she may get hit, but she’ll be able to shake it off.
Walking away is okay.
Mean girls typically come to their target with tenacity, which would be admirable if it were focused on something positive. In books or movies, mean girl victims are often depicted as broken, fearful or cowering. However, teach your daughter that walking away is okay. You may think this lesson isn’t necessary, but consider this: some girls are taught to be polite, so turning their back on an offender feels disrespectful. On the other hand, some girls are scared that their classmates will label them as a wimp or coward. However, teaching your daughter that walking away takes courage and bravery would be best. The mean girls aren’t worth their attention or time anyway. They only feed off the misery they see, so walking away can be a safe resolution, even if it’s met with scoffing and mean words.
Stand up for yourself.
It’s okay to stand up for yourself, and it’s essential to empower your daughter to do the same. By enabling them, you teach your daughter to value herself while reinforcing that they don’t deserve to be taunted, bullied, or shamed. The idea of standing up for yourself may open the door for confrontation, so it’s vital to prepare your daughter to fight her battles and recognize when it’s time to walk away or when you should confront the trouble. This lesson will also teach your daughter discernment and reinforce that she can be strong and that the words of others don’t affect her.
Don’t believe the lies.
This lesson is a big one. Whether your daughter removes herself from the situation or stands to confront it, she will inevitably face a flood of lies. These lies may be insults or something far worse that encourages your daughter to cause bodily harm to herself. We can’t throw today’s mean girls into the “Legally Blonde” category. The days when snobs were mean are turning into days when snobs are mentally and physically abusive, sometimes with devastating consequences. It’s easy to tell your daughter not to believe the lies, but it won’t be easy to get her to do it. Lies from mean girls are effective, which is why they choose to tell them; however, why a mean girl’s opinion matters are beside the point. Helping your daughter see the truth means you need to reinforce it as much as possible, more than the mean girl sending out their terrible jabs.
Emphasize the truth.
Reinforcing the truth means you must be specific, proactive, and super-targeted with your daughter. You’ll have to ensure you’re pointing out the positives to offset the negatives she hears. It also means you’ll want to determine the best way to communicate these with your daughter. Not every girl wants to be showered with compliments. It’s nice to tell your daughter that she’s unique, intelligent and beautiful, but some girls find that patronizing. It may be helpful to counteract the negatives with one on one time. Spending one-on-one time allows you to reinforce your relationship with your daughter while teaching her what’s important. It would be best if you were sensitive to your daughter’s needs during your alone time. This is the time to figure out if she needs reinforcements with time, words, acts of service, or physical touch. Once you figure out what she needs, shower her with it until the mean girl shade bounces off her armor.
Addressing the issue of mean girls isn’t easy, especially if they’ve crossed into severe bullying and threatening physical harm. A one size fits all solution isn’t possible, but starting with building a level of self-worth in your daughter is essential. That self-worth needs to center on God because otherwise, your daughter will feel like her worth is diminishing as she disappoints herself. She needs to know that her value will never decrease in God’s eyes, so whatever comes against her, she can stand in God’s truth and love.