WT 133: What Do I Do About Mean Girls?
Question 1: I want some help about how to teach my 3 ½ year old daughter how to be a good friend. Recently, we had a friend over to play and the girls painted. They spent most of the time telling each other that their own painting was prettier than the other’s. I don’t think either girl had her feelings hurt but any advice on how to help this age with friendship? Also one little girl at her school was telling others she would only play with them if they wore a dress. Suddenly, my daughter only wants to wear a dress every day. I asked her if there was a reason she wanted to wear a dress and she said she just liked them. She doesn’t seemed to be bothered by any of this but I want to help guide her down this path. What are some good ways to help my daughter be a good friend?
Karen's Answer: Great question! First off, keep in mind they are 3. ☺ A lot of the time, I think we as moms can hyper focus on these type of issues, but I totally hear what you are saying. I think it is a good idea to always stress your child’s heart, and their actions. So you can say things like, “When your friend comes over today make sure you are sharing your toys with her, and be a good friend. Part of being a good friend is saying positive things to her, like, “I like your dress, your painting is good etc.”. But, keep in mind you will be having these conversations for the rest of your time with your child while she is in your home. Girls have a tendency to be mean. I think it stems from deep insecurity within themselves, so as a mom keep that in mind as you parent your daughter, try to build her up, not always giving compliments about her looks but also her heart. Also, as your daughter gets older the “mean girls” get meaner. Try not to allow your emotions to get the best of you, and keep in mind, girls are mean because they are insecure. Pray for these girls. I know it’s hard, but it’s all you can do. Being a mom is mostly training your child for life, it is a lot of learning, teaching, coaching. It is a LONG process.
Question 2: My 6 year old daughter tends to speak unkindly toward me and forgets her manners when she has a friend over, especially her best friend. I know part of that is more than likely my fault....I am not as tough skinned as you say we moms need to be (but I’m learning!!!)....I know you aren’t supposed to discipline in front of their friends or others. I have a hard time knowing which discipline is needed in this type of situation.
Karen's Answer: Okay sweet mom, I’m going to give you some tough love here! If your 6 year old is speaking unkindly to you, it will only get worse! You need to nip that in the bud. I would 100% correct her in front of her friend. I would say, “Do not talk to me that way, and if you do your friend will be going home and you will be going to your room until you can be sweet.” There is nothing wrong with correcting her in front of her friends. It is embarrassing to her, but it is also embarrassing to you when your six year old is not being kind to you. Mom, you deserve to be treated with respect. Being a mom is a hard job, and a job that can easily be over looked, I believe that it is our responsibility to be telling our family to treat us with respect. If we don’t demand no one else will do it. Remember you are the parent! You got this.
Question 3: I have a seventh grade daughter. The other day one of the so-called "popular girls" said she really liked the shirt my daughter was wearing and asked her if she could borrow it. It's one of my daughter's favorite shirts so she didn't want to lend it to her. She said, "no," but did so in a very nice way. The "popular girl" was angry and said some mean things to my daughter. Then she proceeded to "get back" at my daughter by spreading a bad rumor about her by text. What advice can I give my daughter on how to handle this or future situations like it?
Karen's Answer: I would praise your daughter for the way she handled it and tell her you are so sorry that the girl treated her that way. We cannot control another person’s actions, unfortunately. I would tell your daugther that obviously this girl has never been told “no” before and you feel sorry for her, because in life we are all told no at some point and the way she handled the situation was not nice. It is an insecurity issue 100%. That doesn’t make it easy on your daughter, but keep talking to her about it. For future situations, she should handle it just the way she did. As far as the false rumor, the truth always come out eventually and this girl will get the reputation of being mean. It may take several years, but it will come to light. The waiting for your daughter is the toughest part. Or at least it was for my girls. Keep your walk with the Lord strong, you are going to need to draw close to God during these hard years of teenagers.
Question 4: My daughter is about to turn 5, and we're beginning to have challenges with negative influences from peers. She is a sweet, outgoing girl and is especially drawn to older girls that live on our street, but the way they talk and play isn't always appropriate and their family values seem to be different from ours. How can I talk to her about choosing friends wisely while also teaching her how to love others as Jesus does?
Karen's Answer: I think because of her age, you as the mom need to guide her friendships right now. If you know these girls are too old for your daughter and you don’t like the direction they are going in, then don’t allow your daughter to play with them. You can try and tell her the reason why, but since she is 5 I’m not sure she is going to understand. Try and make playdates with children her own age. It maybe tough for a little bit, but it will get easier. Stand your ground as the mom.
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