We have all met a mean girl at least once in our life. And we all know how hard that encounter can be. But, now that we’re parents you cannot help but wonder about our daughters.
How can we prevent our daughters from becoming a mean girl?
Or how can we prevent her from being devastated by one? Another thing that certainly changed is the age girls act mean. You see previously when puberty hit things changed.
Girls excluded girls from their group and gossiped with the best. Being mean meant telling others not to invite a certain person to a party or not to vote for someone when there as a class election.
Nowadays, things have changed. Because there are girls at a much younger age, who are doing this behavior of a “mean girl.” These days young girls are spreading rumors by posting lies online or doing it verbally, are isolating and excluding other girls.
When you think about it is really disturbing to understand that young kids are deliberately trying to hurt their friends and classmates.
The truth is that kids of the age of 7 and 8 do not understand how their actions can hurt people around them, and that is where parents must act.
There is one study on this topic by Sarah Stanger and Jamie Abaied of the University of Vermont.
The study which was published in the Journal of Family Psychology by the name “Socialization of coping in a predominantly female sample of caregivers: Contributions to children’s social adjustment in middle childhood.”
This study looked at the way the teaching of coping skills by parents helped girls from 8 to 10 years old to manage stress and asses their social development.
The girls had to do a frustrating and challenging tracing task. Here the parental encouragement was measured in attentiveness, responsiveness, and warmth as their kid worked.
The girls where parents used positive encouragement such as “Take a deep breath and calm down,” or “Keep trying, feel free to take your time’ and “This is a good task for you” actually fared better socially.
According to the results of the study, these girls had less social issues and friendships of higher-quality.
On the other hand, those girls whose parents encouraged girls to stop with phrases such as “You do not have to finish if you do not want to finish,” and “Do you want to stop with everything?” were less able to deal with social issues.
To be more precise those parents who used positive encouragement with their kids were actually more likely to have kids who can handle stress.
According to the adolescent and child psychotherapist Katie Hurley, complaints from young girls are usual to hear. Most girls do not want to go to school because they do not want to face all the mean things.
Social or relational aggression, which is known as bullying begins early around 3rd grade. Most parents feel that their kids have to cope with whatever social stigmas, pressures, and insults come their way.
But what most parents forget is that when they went through this, they were teenagers and not kids. As a teenager, you are in a position to deal with these problems with more perspective or maturity.
Nowadays younger girls deal with bullying on social media or in person.
Parents must teach their daughters how to be a good and caring friend, and how to obtain the social skills girls need in order to move on after being left out or being bullied.
Parents can make the difference as the study above mentioned shows. Help your kid to get ahead of that anxiety they shall face which might smother their drive and squash the way they see themselves.
Your girl needs your guidance in order to deal with all that. You need to define the words cyberbullying, gossip, cliques, teasing, public humiliation, taunting and excluding.
You need to do this even if your girl does not get screen time or owns her phone. Parents want to think that by avoiding the subject their kids won’t have to worry.
The reality is that your girl is probably worrying about this because, even if other girls aren’t mean to her they are mean to someone else, and she sees it happening around her.
To help your girl get through the bad phases of childhood and also later in the teen years, the therapist recommends you to:
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