10 Tips to help you and your daughter survive a Mean Girl

Reprinted from www.anniefox.com

 

At some point in your school career, chances are you’ve had at least one run-in with a kid who seemed determined to make your life miserable. If your daughter is currently dealing with one (or more) of these kids here are some positive messages you can offer. These aren’t magic bullets by any means. But if you a) empathize with what your child is going through, b) make sure she knows no one deserves bad treatment from anyone, and c) become your child’s #1 advocate, then you will help the situation. Tell your child:

  1. This is NOT your fault. You haven’t done anything that deserves this kind of rude, insensitive, mean treatment.
  2. You are not alone. Unfortunately lots of kids deal with this every day.
  3. Don’t suffer in silence. Talk to me. Tell me what’s going on. I can help. Together we can let the school know what’s happening and make sure they put a stop to it. If you absolutely can’t/won’t talk to me about it, you need to talk to a trusted adult at school. (Note to parent: Targeted kids may resist all help. They may feel ashamed of being bullied. They may believe that bringing attention to the problem will make things worse for them. And that can happen, especially when the adults at school fail to do their job. As a parent, you can point out that by staying silent there is little chance that the situation will improve on its own.)
  4. Find at least one friend you can trust. It’s easier to put up with mean kids with someone on your side. If your child feels everyone in school against him/her, encourage social opportunities through activities outside of school. Everyone needs at least one real friend. Do what you can to help your child find one.
  5. Do NOT try to retaliate. Even though you’re hurt and frustrated and angry enough to explode, do NOT try to get back at the mean kids. Meanness only turns into more meanness. That’s how wars escalate. Seriously! Instead of “getting even” speak up for yourself by telling an adult who has some power to make things better. As angry as you might be (and justifiably so) a parent should never target a kid who is mean to your child!
  6. This isn’t about you. Happy, self-confident kids do NOT target others just for the fun of it. Mean kids often have problems. And major insecurities. They pick on other kids to make themselves feel more powerful. If their lives really were all that “prefect” they wouldn’t get pleasure out of making others miserable. None of this makes what they’re doing OK, but it might help you understand a bit about what could be behind their mean behavior.
  7. You can’t control what they do, what they say, what they think. Don’t even bother. You can’t control the choices others make. You only get to control your own choices. That includes your response to what’s going on. That may not seem like a lot, but how you respond can make a lot of difference in the way you feel at school.
  8. Choose not to let them get to you. Mean kids say mean things. Words are the weapons they use. Their words can hurt, but they are just words. When you start believing the rubbish they say about you, then you are using their weapons against yourself. Don’t go there!
  9. Get involved in activities outside of school. Follow your interests and your self-esteem will soar. You are also more likely to meet some very nice kids who know what it means to be a real friend.
  10. Real friends are trustworthy, respectful, supportive, loyal. Be the kind of friend you want to have and real friends will find you. In the meantime, you always have me. I’m here for you 100%.

 

Annie Fox, M.Ed. is an award winning author, educator, and online adviser for parents and teens. AnnieFox.com

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