Thursday, August 6, 2009

Helping Your Daughter Navigate Mean Girls and Cliques

Hey Everybody,
If you're visiting my site after watching "Tennessee Mornings," welcome!
Mean girls and cliques, unfortunately, are a part of growing up for every girl. Your daughter will make it through best when she can count on your help. Here's a summary of what I talked about today on the show!

What Can "I" Do?
The middle school years are not the time to fade into the background of parenting. Now, more than ever, your daughter needs a mom who is involved and who knows how to "get in her business!" Get a Facebook, learn to text, and get to know your daughter and her friends! Get to know her friends' parents, too! There is strength in a strong parental network!

Share your INSIGHT.
If we're honest moms, we'll admit that the "girl thang" of queen bees and wannabees is hard to navigate as a kid, but it must still be refined as an adult! Share your struggles with your daughter! As hard as it is to relive, remember those painful memories and talk about it. Your daughter will be comforted by the fact that she is not the only one! Plus, your insight comes with the incredible gift of perspective. Putting things in balance is an advantage we've gained from our experience, and a benefit our daughters get from our encouragement.

While it's difficult to not get your Momma claws out when the catfights begin, this is your opportunity to show your daughter how to react when she is hurt. Teach her that, "Hurting people hurt people." Grit your teeth and keep your tongue in check when she comes to you in tears. You can comfort her without going off. She's watching for your reaction, so be careful. There are times when these girl things resolve themselves in a day or two. There are times when they go on and on, and you may need to step in by contacting other parents, or the administrators at school (or church--it happens everywhere!).
Quick Tips:
  • Avoid cliques by encouraging diverse friendships and group activities.
  • Best friends are nearly essential at this age, but help your daughter keep her eyes and heart open to those girls who are consistently left out of the loop.
  • Show your daughter, by example, an attitude of "Others First."
  • Pump up her self-esteem by affirming her with your positive words,
    listening ear, and open heart.
  • Encourage her faith and remind her that she is a priceless treasure to the One who made her.
Don't be afraid to establish your presence in your daughter's life (and the lives of her friends). Every girl needs a mom who is THERE for her. Know her passwords, not to invade her space, but to have access in case you ever need it. If your daughter shows sudden mood changes or expresses other weird behavior, she might be being bullied or harrassed online. And what if she's doing the bullying? You're the mom. Be the mom.
Wise Up! A Coming-of-Age Bible study for middle school girls!
Season of Change A parent's primer for the middle school years

More Articles:
The Lean On Mean (Part One)
The Lean On Mean (Part Two)



Jane In The Jungle said...

OK we need to talk long before my girl gets there. And I have run into some of this with my boys. Are ya coming back to Chatt any time soon??

I know the boys email passwords not to pry but just in case. I do not allow facebook but one of Dereks friends is pressuring him to get on it.

Rebecca Ingram Powell said...

As a matter of fact, I've had a church approach me about doing a parenting conference in Chatt soon. I will let you know if and when that gets scheduled!

My older son wants a FB too. The good thing about FB is that there are lots of great privacy controls that you can set. The bad thing about FB is that it is so addicting! Besides privacy limits, strict time limits will have to be established before we will go through with this!

Kelly Combs said...

GREAT advice! So needed. My oldest has 1 more year of elementary. I am alittle nervous about middle school because of "mean girls" but I definitely plan to be involved!

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