As she walks outside, I can see the burden she carries. She gets in the car and bursts into tears the minute the door is shut. “Mom, I don’t know why she doesn’t like me!” My heart aches for her and I hate that I can’t shield her from the hurt.
Dealing with a mean girl is a part of life for most of us. At some point in our lives we have all dealt with one, and unfortunately, our daughters will have to as well. But, how do you handle it when the time comes?
Keep communication open
Talk to your daughter; let her know that she can talk to you. Don’t pry, but also don’t shut down. If you see your daughter bothered by something make a point to get her alone. Take her for ice cream, go shopping or to a movie. Even if you can’t leave the house, you could turn on a movie for your other kids and get her a soda, then find a quiet corner to chat. If she feels comfortable, she will be more likely to open up.
Talk to a neutral individual
I needed some wise counsel, so I spoke with my mom, who immediately defended my daughter, and gave me some “motherly” advice. I love my mom, but she was not neutral at all. So, I spoke with a friend who did not know the family, and who I knew would give me honest and Godly advice.
When you’re looking for someone to talk to, pray about it and don’t just go to someone who will take your side! It’s not about sides – it’s about making godly decisions. Also, make sure that you’re giving an accurate portrayal of the situation and not just focusing on someone else’s negativity.
Intervene if necessary
Sometimes a situation does need parental intervention. When that happens, speak to the other child’s parent. If you know the parent or family involved speak with them. If the family is not responsive you may need to intervene in a way that will keep your child safe, emotionally and physically. That may be include speaking with a coach, teacher, or another official.
Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. ~Matthew 18:15-16
Pray with your child
My daughter was not herself for a few months after the incident. She was reserved, self-conscious and some of her innocence was gone. But, slowly she became herself again. We prayed together and prayed for the other parties involved. I encouraged her to forgive the other child and to remember what a true friend is. We turned the situation into a learning experience on friendship, empathy, and forgiveness.
Remember that the other family may be hurting as well
None of our children are blameless, and sometimes people just don’t get along. In the case of bad behavior from others, we need to remember that we do not know what is going on at home, or in the other person’s family. We also need to realize that at some point, the tables could be turned and our own daughters could exhibit mean girl behavior. Bad behavior does not necessarily mean a bad child. So, please, don’t hold a child’s actions against them long term. If handled appropriately the behavior can be changed.
As parents, we will have to handle situations we may not be ready for. But, we also need to be prepared for each new level of parenting that we come to.
Have you ever had to deal with a mean girl situation? How did you handle it and what did you learn from it?
Lauren Elliott (@elliott_lauren) says
Great suggestions & tips! Thanks for linking up for Tuesday Talk with us 🙂
Yes, I’d love to read it! Do you have a link?
I wrote a post titled “Mean Girls” in my blog. You may find it very insightful. Glad I came across your blog.
Absolutely! I am still friends with some of the same girls I went to high school with. The ones who stick with you are the ones who truly matter.
mila bassett says
Great tips! I also try to encourage my daughter (who is 16 and encounters plenty of mean girls) to value herself more, and to diversify friends: there are some girls who will stick with her no matter what, and the rest don’t matter. It is important to cultivate deep and meaningful friendships to offset the influence of the “mean girls”.
Brittany at EquippingGodlyWomen.com says
Great tips! I always told my school kids–just because someone says something is true… doesn’t mean that it is. It just means that they don’t know what they’re talking about, and you don’t have to listen to them. That seemed to help somewhat.
Hope N. Griffin says
Visiting from #FellowshipFridays. At 36 years old I still often deal with mean girls/women. What you said at the end has always helped me the most. Hurt people hurt people. When I can see the world from their point of view it helps me have compassion in response rather then anger. I’m trying to teach my children the same. Prayer helps.
Oh yes! I couldn’t imagine. We homeschool so were able to handle it our way, which helped a lot with this difficult situation. Hope your daughter is doing better now!
Visiting from #fellowshipFriday thanks for a great post, my daughter when through this throughout her school life and it is hard being a parent and wanting the best when the school ignores the situation.
Debroah your comments blessed my socks off. Thank you for your kind, kind words. My prayer was just like you said, that by sharing our situation it would help others who may be faced with similar circumstances. Thanks again for stopping by!
While prayer is definitely the most important intervention on your list, a neutral party’s involvement is the one most overlooked, and it takes a strong and mature individual to really embrace that. This shows me how caring you are not only of your own family, but of God’s family–after all, aren’t we ALL His children? I confess when my children hurt, it is not easy for me to try to keep that love of others who have hurt my child in place. This definitely shows your heart.
Thank you for turning this painful situation into an opportunity to share and advise others who may be going through this pain.
I think you made some great points! We have honestly not dealt with this issue many times. So, I was just sharing what happened when we did. But, I fully agree that as she gets older (she’s only 10 now) it is going to be more and more common for me to sit back and let her choose the course of action. I am praying that as she gets older our line of communcation stays open and we can continue to have open conversations. Tweendom was something I was NOT prepared for 😉
Steph @MisplacedBrit says
Lots of great points here!
It’s awesome that your daughter tells you about it, and that she obviously feels that you’re addressing her needs so appropriately that she continues to tell you.
I think another good one is to ask your daughter how she would like you to respond? What she would like you to do about it or to say to her?
I’ve had moments when I’ve told my pre-tween how sad it makes me to feel that someone is doing this to her and that I viciously want to protect and defend her, but she’s getting older now so it has to be her choice too what she’d like me to do. I guess I just want to make sure that she knows that my heart is for her.
…That doesn’t mean that we always address the issues in ‘only’ the way that she suggests, but it means we can have an open conversation about it …And she can say ‘no’ to my ideas too 😉
Some great tips.
I haven’t hit this stage with my girls yet (my eldest is five). I’m not looking forward to it – but will try and remember to keep these tips in mind.
I was shocked how early it starts! My daughter is homeschooled so it surprised me even more. I thought we would be immune to it for some reason…
Thank you Aimee for sharing your story. It was SO hard to go through, but thankfully we worked it out with the family as well. God is So good and healed my daughters heart. I know it could have been a lot worse had the situation not being handled appropriately.
Aimee Imbeau says
I know this kind of situation all to well. I remember walking home with my daughter after an incident and I was furious. I realized that in order to lead my daughter to the Cross, I needed to deal with my anger and begin the forgiveness process first – and quickly. I didn’t want the wounding to turn into bondage for my daughter. It is so important to teach our kids how to take these hurts to Jesus. My daughter and spent some time talking about the situation and then we prayed. I agree, prayer is so important.
Thanks for your post!! I enjoyed it!
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
I’m so glad you shared this at the #SHINEbloghop! Thank you!
Mean girls, ugh. This starts early and only gets worse.
I love you suggestion for praying with your daughter. Sometimes only advice from a loving Heavenly Father will help our daughters understand and have the strength to do what they need to do in these situations.
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
When I was younger, I consistently dealt with mean girls. It was awful. I think prayer is huge… my parents and I weren’t saved then. That would have made a huge difference.
Thanks so much for sharing.
Wishing you a lovely evening.