In the movie Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan plays an innocent girl who, at the beginning of the story, is an outsider. She convinces herself and her friends (other ‘outsiders’) that she can infiltrate the popular girls’ inner circle and somehow teach them what it feels like to be bullied. During the process, Lohan’s character not only slowly becomes one of the popular girls, she becomes the meanest girl in the high school.
In real life, we have seen these girls at some point in our past. Perhaps they were the ones who pointed at us when we wore a different pair of shoes than everyone else. Or they excluded us from lunch conversations or a sleepover party. They may have said untrue things about you to get other girls not to like you. The real question behind a mean girl’s actions is why – what makes them feel the need to make others feel bad?
Acting mean can unfortunately make a girl feel like she has a sense of power. On the outside, they demonstrate confidence. Inside, these girls must feel pretty low about themselves that they need to put someone else down to feel good about themselves. How can we address this need to feel better than other people? There is no simple answer and as Moms, we struggle with knowing how to help our daughters who can be on the receiving end of another girls mean spirit.
Three Tips To Feel Better
- Listen to your daughter. She may tell you about one girl in particular who is sort of ring leader and enlists others to follow her actions. If you know the parents, you can talk with them. More than likely they don’t know their daughter is acting this way. In fact at home she may have a different persona entirely.
- Instill confidence. Help your daughter by reinforcing things that give her confidence. It can be something like smiling when she walks through a door, writing down things that she likes about herself and smiling at her reflection in the mirror.
- Change the focus. It isn’t easy in middle school and high school to shift attention away from a girl who seemingly has everyone following her lead. Help your daughter find an activity that helps her feel better, whether it is volunteering or sports having an outside source of enjoyment will help. Expanding the reach beyond the girls at school will also help and if she is valued by others it will encourage her to believe in herself.
As a mom, knowing what to do about a mean girl isn’t easy. Help us #bringbackthegoldenrule and teach teens that there is more power in being nice to others than being mean. We would love to hear what you think. Join us on Facebook and share your ideas with us.