Today I am going to discuss how you can help your middle school and high school daughters deal with that dreadful behavior known as “girl bullying” which can certainly impact any girl’s self-esteem and mood. Girl bullying as most of us know, especially the moms, can be subtle or less than subtle. While your daughters may not be able to change the behaviors of the bully there are things that you can teach your daughters that will help inoculate them from some of the harmful effects of this sort of bullying. Just to clarify, girls bully each other via a variety of methods including: 1. excluding each other; 2. spreading gossip; and 3. ruining reputations.
Consider letting your middle and high school daughters in on the following truths:
1. Let your daughters know that they do NOT have to pursue the “populars.” In fact, they are less likely to be bullied and excluded if they make kind friends who are fun to be around and who are not likely to throw them under the lunch table by telling them that there is no room left.
2. They should only consider someone a true friend who doesn’t ditch them when more popular or higher-status kids are around.
3. The popular girls are not necessarily even nice to each other. This is a well-kept secret.
4. When a “friend” wants to fill them in on rumors or gossip that others are spreading about them they can say “I don’t want to hear it because it will only hurt my feelings.” Yes, this is an option. Honestly, nothing good ever comes from hearing gossip and/or rumors.
5. Let them know that the goal of life is to be happy and at peace NOT popular.
6. Remind them that popularity is often fleeting. The “populars” of today may be the shunned girls tomorrow.
7. Yes, girls do seem to develop more empathy as they get older. Tell your daughters exactly this so that they can look forward to a light at the end of the dark tunnel.
8. Remind them where they stand in your life and heart. They may seem to dismiss this but I promise you that they are taking this in.