How To Deal With The "Mean Girls"

"Mean Girls" 2004 Image: Fanpop
Has your child run into social troubles (or mean girls) during the transition from early childhood to adolescence?

If I had to pick one movie to describe my teenage years, it would be a cross somewhere between Lucas (1986) and The Craft (1996). 

Always the new girl - likable, but awkward. 

Fitting-in can be a common challenge for girls (and boys). One that has been memorialized in movies such as Tina Fey's, Mean Girls.

This female social game starts around age nine and can heat up during high school.

Even if there are NO mean girls (I hear that it happens in some remote communities), kids are still maturing into new roles with limited skills and quick-changing emotions. 

Relational aggression can intensify during the transition from middle school to high school, leaving children on their own to manage new people and places. 

We can't shelter our children. 

At some point, they will have to deal with the less-than-pleasant aspects of other people's personalities.

So how can we provide them with the tools they need and prepare them emotionally for this unfamiliar phase in their development where new social rules are being established, along with blossoming or dissolving friendships?

And most importantly how can we bully-proof our kids so that they don't become the target of other children's stress, immaturity, or unmet needs? 

Whether your son or daughter has been bullied or you're parenting one of the "mean girls" - we're going to serve up loads of compassion as we transform the labels and judgments and start empowering our kids to remain true to themselves no matter what!

I didn't have the best relationship skills as a kid, and I suffered a bit for it, But, there are a few things that would have helped me tremendously, and I am sharing them with you in this TEACHable Moments video.

What do you think? 

Bullies need more compassion or less tolerance? (wait - I'm not sure I want to hear the answer - you know how sensitive I am). 

I never understood how zero-tolerance policies which include suspensions and punitive discipline could increase a child's awareness or empathy. 

And, research shows they don't work long-term, and there are more effective alternatives.

Think about it,
 what were you thinking as a kid (whether you were a bully, a bystander or a target for the bullies)? You likely were just trying to fit in, be heard, or feel like you belonged - not create enemies.

What would you suggest to help a child understand what's really going on underneath all that teenage angst?

Share your story in the comments below and then tell me -- what MOVIE best represented your high school experience? 
Thank you for reading and watching and please remember, it's about being conscious - not perfect!

Talk soon,

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About Lori

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