Girl Drama and Bullies

02.08.22 05:09 PM Comment(s) By Lisa




……It’s so painful. As I watch my daughter and hear of her friends going through the rollercoaster of emotions with girlfriends, it brings back my own childhood memories.

 

Fast forward to our Olympics. You see girls supporting the efforts of their female teammates, encouraging each other, consoling each other from faults, and always building each other up. Why then can’t our kids do the same in grade school, middle school, and high school?


 

 

Girls that don’t have a developed sense of self-confidence tend to be resentful of their friends that succeed. They will tear them down with their other peers to build up their own perceived self-worth, thus placing themselves in the spotlight. Someone who is confident doesn’t need a spotlight because their accomplishments will do this on their own.

 


We see grown women that can’t get along with other grown women. At this point in my life, I have absolutely no time to deal with this behavior that should have been addressed during childhood adolescence. My dad raised 4 strong, independent daughters and a son. There was never a time I didn’t feel strong enough to speak in a crowd.  It is so important to teach our children to hold their heads high and act confident (which is sometimes different than FEELING confident. We may not always feel confident, but if we portray confidence, it typically sets everyone around us as ease). It displays leadership. It is one reason I am equally at ease speaking with a boardroom full of CEOs as I am hanging with the maintenance staff. We all put our pants on the exact same way, and I have taught Maggie the same.


 


FACT: Little girls who can’t get along with others become big girls that can’t get along with others unless there is someone who intercedes in the earlier stages of life. The problems become more complex and sometimes more serious as we age. So, how well we navigate our daughters through the rollercoaster of relationships has long-term consequences. An early grasp of conflict resolution translates to more meaningful relationships later in life. Let’s set them up for success as early as possible. I am certainly no expert here, but I have survived elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and graduate school. Each stage had its own drama, but as you get older, it’s not that the drama goes away, it just gets easier to manage with the prior life experience.


These issues traverse every culture. It exists because we live in a broken world that is not perfect. Kindness and love are the answers. Without them we don’t feel safe and self-preservation kicks in. We start building walls around ourselves. When your child comes home feeling sad and defeated, here are some suggestions:

 

Stay calm. There has been an uptick over the decades, of increased parental involvement (including excessive emails to their teachers, over communicating on the sporting sidelines, and calling the parents of our kids friends when feelings are hurt). Come on people!! Did our parents do this? Hell no!! They let us resolve our own issues (with the exception of actual danger…. Then all bets are off.). If your kid is in physical danger, then you act like a momma bear, but if someone told your kid their shoes were ugly, let them deal with it. If they can’t learn to resolve their own social conflicts, they will forever be dependent on others for defense.  


 


Be the source of strength: Don’t bad mouth the “frenemy” with your child. Support their feelings, be empathetic, and brainstorm healthy ways to help them cope. Encourage them to take the higher road and to continue acting kind. Or you can do what I do and laugh hysterically at how ridiculous they sound. When a bully doesn’t elicit a negative emotional response from their target, they typically will move on to someone else (or they will lose their mind in anger and show everyone their true crazy). Either way, you win. 


 


Be assertive, not aggressive: Likely due to a lack of attention or parental support, bullies rely on their target to be passive. Use your strong, confident voice.




Hang in a group: Bullies typically will not bother individuals a group. Usually, it’s one person in a secluded area that is targeted.


 


Cast a wide friend net: It doesn’t mean you will be best friends with all of these people. But when your ‘sometimes fickle friend’ attempts to edge you out, you won’t be alone. More times than not, that friend who leaves you out will feel uneasy about your quick rebound and dismissal of their behavior.  “Never let’em see you Sweat” and “Fake it 'til you Make It”, are two of my favorite mantras.


 


Set Boundaries: This is important with hurtful people. It’s easy to set boundaries outside of a social situation because you can just walk away, but when we are stuck in an active situation (like school or work), things can become stickier. It is so important to explain to our kids that we can’t control everyone else’s reactions and emotions, and that conflict is a part of life. But what we can control is our own response and reactions. Remain calm, remain professional, and without emotion.


 

 

Foster Self-Esteem: Enroll them in extracurricular activities that boost confidence (Sports, music, art, self-defense classes).


 

 

Be Kind: No matter how ugly someone is behaving, keep your responses free of emotion. Stay polite.


Lean on your male friends: Girls: (stereotypically speaking) hold grudges, gossip, ostracize, encourage others to ostracize, and then dramatically cry. 90% of the time it is out of jealously or pressure to remain at the top of a social ladder. Boys tend to forgive quickly and are brutally honest. It’s why my best friends throughout life have mostly been men. And my best girlfriends are exactly like me, mostly having guy friends. While boys can certainly have their stereotypical faults, they are typically not too judgmental, they don’t hold grudges, and they don’t superficially gossip with their guy friends about you.


Example:

Girlfriend to my face: “That outfit looks so cute on you!”.

Girlfriend behind my back: “That outfit looks ridiculous on her!”

 

Boyfriend to my face: “That outfit looks ridiculous on you, wear the other one!”

Boyfriend behind my back: (This doesn’t happen, because they don’t talk about you behind your back.)


 

 

When all else fails as a kid, tell an adult. If you’re an adult and this is happening, you need to just grow a set and take care of it (legally of course).

 

Let’s face it, most parents won’t confront mean-girl behavior in their own children because we as parents often find our own self-worth tied to the happiness of our children. We don’t want to disrupt the perfect image we have of them. There are actually few instances where parents getting involved in childhood social drama will improve the situation. It typically makes the problem worse. I once overheard a mom say, “How can I get my daughter into the cool crowd?”. Her once sweet daughter then became a bully. Did this mom even notice? Nope. Because unfortunately, her self-worth is tied to her daughter’s happiness and social standing, regardless of how her kid treats others.

 

When you have a child with a heart of gold, teach them to identify those toxic personalities so they can steer clear, such as kids that are mean, gossip, alienate others, and turn on their friends.  When I have pulled myself away from toxic people in the past, I often feel like a weight has been lifted. My mood improves exponentially. 

 

 

 

Like we do with many other things in our lives, ask your kids to make a PROS versus CONS list:

1)  What positives would I gain from this friendship?

2)  What are the negatives with this relationship?

 

Online Bullies: NEVER respond to or interrupt an online bully when they are in the middle of destroying themselves. Here’s my take: they will dig their own graves. Let them talk, text, and type their fingers off…. All the while you are taking screen shots……. The internet is forever and someday when that punk is publicly trying to secure a high-profile job, you will have proof of why they are not the right person for the job.

 

I was bullied. In 6th grade, Nicole Ferrante (an 8th grader) tried to put my head in a toilet. (Luckily my friends showed up right behind me). What’s ironic about this is I found her recently on social media in a parenting group against bullying. Karma. It's real!! In my high school years, I was once cornered and threatened at a local dance. This time my fight-or-flight kicked in and I broke her nose in reflex. At the time I was just scared. I had no idea my fist could even do that. I was grounded for a month, and after I graduated from college, my dad finally admitted he was proud I stuck up for myself that day. But I have to say…… that day defined the rest of my life. I never took crap from anyone ever again. People that know me best, know that I am kind, big-hearted, loyal, and I dislike very few people. But when I am cornered or pushed, those scars from the past re-emerge. It ultimately has shaped my personality in a positive way. I found healthier ways to deal with people like this. I simply dust off my hands and walk away. I no longer waste my breath or energy on negative people, and I take pride in surrounding myself only with people who I respect, love, and who equally have my back. I constantly remind my Maggie to do the same. “Is this person adding positivity to your life?” Once you can do this, your confidence will rise.

 

The take-home message here is….. We will all face adversity in life. These childhood mean-girl moments, although so painful when they are happening, will mean nothing in 5-10-20 years from now. They are unfortunate steppingstones that many of us have faced. Those moments have made us stronger and taught us how to cope with adversity in the future. Lean on your family and your friends and know that these moments are fleeting in the grand scheme of life.

 

Xoxo -Lisa.

 

 

 

 

       

Share -
Added to cart
- There was an error adding to cart. Please try again.
Quantity updated
- An error occurred. Please try again later.
Deleted from cart
- Can't delete this product from the cart at the moment. Please try again later.