That Mean Girl is Mine!

posted in: Opinion, Parenting 71 comments

I got pulled aside at carpool today for the first time. Ms. Gretchen needed to tell me that my darling Sophia is the mean girl in class since a new girl showed up.

Sophie’s Mean Face

Sophia talks about the new girl all the time. She wants her to be the new BFF and come to her tea party. It is going to be Sophia, one old friend and the new girl. Turns out that means her other friend is out. Literally – Sophia told her that the empty seat their table was not for her – she was out. Only room for 3. Sophie actually laid herself over the chair. She lost her time in the gym and sat with the teacher. I almost lost my lunch.

WTF? I was instantly transported back to Heathers, back to Molly Ringwald, back to Mean Girls. I was immediately feeling the nausea I can still remember from my youth.  I always had a lot of friends, but we moved a lot, and I was always one of the first ones out when the girls got nasty.

And yes, girls do get nasty.  From a very young age they form cliques.  They learn that skinny is good and long hair is good and nice clothes are good (this is one of the only pictures I have of Sophia in pants).  And when they form cliques and see special groups they see power – they know how it feels to lead the masses – and how it feels to be left behind.

Sound dramatic? To a little girl, or a junior high schooler, or a teenager – IT IS LIKE THE END OF THE WORLD.  Even if you have good friends and you know who you are – to be the target of the mean girls is a huge fear.  From reading the news you all know to be a target of any bully is now a very dangerous game.

Our children are precious and whether they are 3 or 10 or 16 the emotional stakes are high.  I firmly believe we need to guide them from an early age to include others and act with kindness to ALL.  I think we should ask about their friendships and pay attention to the dynamics.  Whatever side our kids are on we need to guide them with love, and discipline, when necessary. I have to believe that as a mother I can make a difference.

My biggest parenting fear beyond my children’s health  is to have kids who are mean to others, who are exclusive instead of inclusive.  Kids who are selfish and mean.  This kind of child would break my heart.

So I talked to Sophia about feelings and about kindness.  We did not do any other punishment at home.  She was punished with a time out at school.  She cried.  She told me she knew she was being mean and she wanted to make the rules.  Both Sophia and her friend have strong personalities.  I knew part of this had to do with Sophia being the boss.  I told her about how important friends were and how we don’t always get to pick the rules.  I told her how we love all of our friends even if they are different from us.  I told her we need to always make room for others at our tables.

I hugged her and asked her if she was mean to her friend.  She said yes, and my heart broke a little.  But then, she said she did love her friends, and that she wanted to be a nice girl.

I kissed her and said she would have to be nice or we would not have a real tea party at the house.  I’m the mom so I can say that kind of thing and be mommy – not bossy – you know.  She is only 3, so she said I was kidding and laughed at me and then she saw I was not kidding.  She stopped laughing.  she REALLY wants to have a fairy tea party at the house.

For the time being, I think she will be nice.  We’ll see what happens as she “blossoms”.

Now, as a grownup, I am going to apply the same rules in my own life.  Be a friend to everyone.  Let others be the boss. Make room at the table.  These simple things never go out of style.

Here’s to acceptance, kindness and friendship.

Brittany
I'm Brittany. I believe that simple is best and that smiling can make or break a day. I love being a woman, a wife and a mother. I like to make pretty things and making things with big tools. I am a huge fan of good design. I love to travel. Hugs make me happy. I share my life, experiences, tips and tutorials in the hope that this community can find a whole lot of awesome together.
Brittany
Brittany

70 comments… add one

  • March 10, 2010 Kristine Brite

    I think at one point during our childhood, we were all that mean girl. You are an amazing momma to make sure Sophia’s mean girl attitude is temporary. I don’t know why girls are so mean to each other. But, we are. Or were. Jealousy?

    Reply
    • March 10, 2010 Brittany

      Gosh Kristine it brought me back and then I remembered that the same sort of cliques are tweeted about and blogged about! That’s why I know I need reminders as a grown up. We just don’t need anymore of that! Thanks for the comment. I have been thinking a lot about you lately. I will email you soon! Just SO tired tonight!

      Reply
  • March 10, 2010 jing lejano

    Wonderfully written! :) Reminds me of thhat, All I Really Needed To Know I Learned in Kindergarten (Or something like that). Thank you for the reminders, sometimes we forget these simple “rules.”
    .-= jing lejano´s last blog ..No Sweat =-.

    Reply
  • March 10, 2010 My Life As Mom

    I, too, would be so sad to raise a “mean” kid. I, too, was outed quite a bit in school, due to moving so much, so I do know how it hurts. If my child was to have done what yours did, I would have them make a sorry card to show to give to the outed girl. Especially if she showed that she was sorry and didn’t want to be the “mean girl”. I would also explain that there is ALWAYS room for one more at the table and if there isn’t, you make room or move to a bigger table. Maybe she should invite her to her tea party?

    Good job, mama! Don’t beat yourself up.
    .-= My Life As Mom´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

    Reply
    • March 10, 2010 Brittany

      Cecilia was already invited – they planned it together! Funny I should have noted – we did make a card to send to her. I didn’t want others to feel left out at school! Thanks!

      Reply
  • March 10, 2010 Amy

    Kudos to you for addressing this with her and guiding her towards kindness. Also, kudos to the school for keeping you informed so that you could intervene and use this as a teachable moment.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Glad I Didn’t Do That =-.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2010 Brittany

      Thanks! Yeah Sophie’s teacher is great and is working with me on a plan!

      Reply
  • March 10, 2010 Karen

    Hi =)

    I’m now following your blog from The Blog Following Network.

    I would love for you to come on by and check out my blog :)
    On the Brink de la Locura

    Much Luv,
    Karen

    Reply
  • March 11, 2010 Helene

    This post definitely tugs at the heart strings! I can’t believe how young all this stuff starts…my daughter experienced this last year in preschool. She desperately wanted to be friends with this one girl and the little girl wanted nothing to do with her. I think because Bella was almost like an obsessed stalker it kinda scared the little girl! I had to explain to Bella that it’s okay to have more than one friend…yadda, yadda, yadda.

    It still hurt my heart though…who knew parenting was this hard??

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the follow!!! I’m following you now too!
    .-= Helene´s last blog ..Tell me it isn’t so… =-.

    Reply
  • March 11, 2010 joan

    Wow! That was a tough one, I’m so impressed with how you handled it!

    I was the victim of a “mean girl” when I was in COLLEGE (!), and even at that age, it was pretty brutal! We girls should be sticking together, not hurting eachother! It really sounds like you got that message across! Yay, YOU!
    .-= joan´s last blog ..Dancing in Jeans =-.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2010 Brittany

      Joan seriously it is still brutal now. I can admit that I have cried as a grown up when confronted with some mean girls and mommy cliques. UGH!

      Reply
  • March 11, 2010 Eve

    Good job at handling it so well. x
    .-= Eve´s last blog ..For the love of Beets =-.

    Reply
  • March 11, 2010 Kel - rewritingkel

    I worry so much with my daughter. I try to teach her to be fair and friendly to everyone but I worry she will be one of those mean girls. I never was, one of those girls (I don’t think) and I try not to be one now.

    I think you handled this well, and hopefully she will understand
    .-= Kel – rewritingkel´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – My Rob =-.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2010 Brittany

      I wasn’t mean either – in the middle socially and total theater dork :) I always try to be nice now too – its not worth being mean. I will confess my feelings are still hurt very easily by mean girls.

      Reply
  • March 11, 2010 Christiana

    If it makes you feel better, I was the bossy girl when we were little kids and the anti-clique girl in high school, so hopefully it will get better! But I’m proud of you for staying on top of it, regardless! I think that good parents deal with these issues as soon as they can and don’t brush them under the rug. When 3 year olds are taught what is right and what is wrong they have a better chance of knowing it when they’re older!
    .-= Christiana´s last blog ..10 on Tuesday =-.

    Reply
  • March 11, 2010 Grateful Twin Mom

    Acceptance, kindness, and friendship, indeed.

    I, too, have one of those strong-willed girls, and she’s 7, so I’ve been dealing with these issues for years already. It did start in preschool, improved, returned in kindergarten, improved again, and now, in first grade, she and the other strong-willed girls sometimes butt heads. The way I see it, she’s growing all the time. Set backs of immaturity occur because it’s hard to be part of the world and deal with others’ personalities. On the hard days, I listen to her. Sometimes there’s more there than just pushing out one girl, but maybe more about how she can’t fathom how to include all the girls she wants to love. She doesn’t even know it. When her feelings are heard, she’s much more likely to be compassionate and kind the next time.

    You’re right to be on top of it, and the way you handled it was beautiful.

    I just wrote about some of this discipline stuff too. Check it out!
    .-= Grateful Twin Mom´s last blog ..Discipline — Part 3, The Harried Working Mom Version =-.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2010 Brittany

      I will definitely check out the discipline post! It is so hard to know when to just listen and when to include a punishment. It is so HARD to be a girl – we know that. Ugh it is going to be so hard to figure out when to be soft and when to be hard! She does have a big heart – you are right – she just also has a hard head!

      Reply
  • March 11, 2010 Shell

    It sounds like you are doing the right thing, mama!

    Reply
  • March 11, 2010 Zen Mom

    Those are some wonderful words to live by. You handled the situation beautifully. As the mother of a teen and preteen girls I can tell you she’ll have plenty of opportunities to test the waters and play nice.
    .-= Zen Mom´s last blog ..I Hate Winter =-.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2010 Brittany

      Thanks! Iam taking advice from all of you who have been there and from my mom who raised 3 girls!

      Reply
  • March 11, 2010 becca

    Oh, yes. I have already dealt with both sides of this issue with my five year old daughter. She’s come home in tears because her best friend seemed to no longer want to be her best friend. It was truly heartbreaking. My then 3 year old was Heart Broken. And then the other side. When I see her excluding a friend and teaming up with other friends. It makes me furious. But you’re right… we’re the parents and WE are in charge of directing them to do the right thing. And the best thing we can do is set a good example. Let them see us being nice to everyone, welcoming everyone and saying nice things about everyone. Then they will know no other way! Great post!
    .-= becca´s last blog ..In the Cards =-.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2010 Brittany

      Becca I am so coming to you for advice too. It is really heartbreaking. Growing girls is tough business!

      Reply
  • March 11, 2010 Scary Mommy

    It’s so hard having girls, isn’t it?! I mean, boys, too. But, with girls, we’ve BEEN there and it’s so hard to watch.

    I think you’re doing great.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2010 Brittany

      Thanks Jill. I am always interested when you post on girls – I am just a few years behind you with Sophia and man is it scary! So far Miles seems easy – rough – but easy!

      Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Sarah Coulsey

    Happy Friday!! I am a New Follower!!!

    Sarah

    sarahsblogoffun.blogspot.com

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Krissy @ ArtsyMom

    My 4 year old has a mean streak too. When I was a kid I was always the outsider and I dislike that my 4 year old is becoming so judgemental and critical of others. I guess it’s genetic since her father was like that, but I want to try to get her out of that habit. She’s not a bad kid, she loves everyone, but she nitpicks everything about other kids and I can see her growing up being in cliques if I don’t get that streak out of her. Though, they’re kids… I’m sure it will eventually dissipate!!
    .-= Krissy @ ArtsyMom´s last blog ..A treat for myself. :) =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Rita A

    Sometimes I hate to share too! Thanks for supporting Friday Follow. Have a wonderful weekend. Rita @ One 2 Try.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Tara

    Hi I am your newest follower from Friday Follow. I’d love to have you join in over at Trendy Treehouse’s Follow Me Fridays too!

    http://thetrendytreehouse.blogspot.com/2010/03/follow-me-fridays.html

    Have a great weekend. Tara @ Trendy Treehouse

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Blessing

    Happy Friday Follow. I am your latest follower, you can also follow me at http://www.safehomehappymom.com

    See you around!

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Felissa

    Happy Friday Follow. Hope you have had a great week. Feel free to stop by when you get the chance.

    Felissa
    http://www.twolittlecavaliers.blogspot.com
    http://www.felissahadas.blogspot.com
    .-= Felissa´s last blog ..Customer Favorites & Friday Follow =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Debra Hawkins

    I new follower from Friday follow! Check me out at Housewife Eclectic! .-= Debra Hawkins´s last blog ..Book Review- Percy Jackson and the Olympians the Lightning Thief =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Nicole

    Wow . . . the social interaction between girls is so intense.

    Happy Friday Follow! I’m your newest follower :-)

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Lois Bartley

    Hi happy Friday Follow! I am a new follower. Hope you have a great weekend. Lois x

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Dimes2Vines

    Stopping by from
    Happy Fri Follows – I’m a new follower!

    Reply
  • I think, as grownups, we do often forget this lesson…We have a tendency to fall into the pack mentality and simply follow the crowd with who’s “in” and who’s “out.” Good for you for teaching your daughter and THEN following up with your own changes.
    Coming over from Friday Follow!
    .-= Lindsay @ Kids Are Teachers´s last blog ..I’m Happy…Here’s Why =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Tina

    Great post. I completely get where you are coming from, I hope that I am able to raise my girls to be nice girls as well!

    New Friday Follower!
    .-= Tina´s last blog ..Friday Follow 3/12/2010 =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Jessica

    Ahh, the mean girls. My daughter is going through just that, only she’s the new kid in Jr. High.
    I agree; we do need to make room at the table.
    Now following!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Toasting Nuts with Gretchen & Grapes =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Tina @ Life Without Pink

    Very well written! Sometimes I am so thankful I don’t have to deal with a little girl because I hear it can be tough! But great job teaching her how to be kind….after all they are kids still learning their way!

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Nicole Johnson

    Happy Friday Follow!

    Following from…

    Hope you’ll come by!
    .-= Nicole Johnson´s last blog ..My 3rd Friday Follow! =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Magically Ordinary

    Happy Friday Follow! Happy I found you – looking forward to reading more!

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Heather

    I am your newest follower! I found you on Friday Follow! Please feel free to follow me back!
    http://www.gigglingkids.blogspot.com

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Angela

    Great post, girls can be catty some times. I have two girls, they have both had their moments. They have also had some great giving moments that have made me very proud. New Friday Follower.

    Angela
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..Post -it Note Tuesday! =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Freely Living Life

    Good morning and Happy Friday!

    Awww- I love her “mean” face. <3

    I'm a following from FF!

    Please stop by and visit us today. :)

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Melissa

    Happy friday! Stopping by from Friday follow.

    Can’t wait to learn more about you!

    melissa @ http://lifeonsunshinestreet.blogspot.com/2010/03/fabulous-friday-follow.html

    what a cutie! She will get over the attitude in time :) Have fun!

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Christie Cottage

    What an adorable “mean face” photo!
    ………………………………………………………..

    Happy Follow Friday!
    http://christiecottage.blogspot.com
    .-= Christie Cottage´s last blog ..Friday Fun =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Jaclyn Wolfe

    This post rings so true. I always tell my friends that I want to have boys when I start having kids because I remember all the lady politics from when I was little. I think I was mean sometimes and those are my worst memories. I’m glad that you are starting early with the kindness reinforcement. On a totally different topic, I really love your “Sharing is sexy” buttons at the end of each post. Where did you get them if you don’t mind me asking?
    .-= Jaclyn Wolfe´s last blog ..Mini Ears Baby Hat in Champagne- Free Shipping in US =-.

    Reply
    • March 15, 2010 Brittany

      Hi! The buttons are literally a Wordpress plugin called SexyBookmarks.

      Lady Politics – *giggle* I like that!

      Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Kelley

    You handled it very well. =)

    ( hello from FF)
    .-= Kelley´s last blog ..Aloha Friday and Follow Friday….. =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Chrystal

    Hello from FF. I am following you now. Come check out my blog at http://tryingitout83.blogspot.com/

    Aww you handled it well. :)
    .-= Chrystal´s last blog ..Guess what was for dinner. =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Surviving Little People

    Love your blog. I am now following you from FFF. at MBC.
    .-= Surviving Little People´s last blog ..Day 4210 Of Parenthood =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Michelle

    Hey, droping by from Friday follow, I’m a new follower. Happy to meet new blogging friends! Have a great weekend.

    Love this post, your doll baby can’t been the mean girl! :)
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Trust me, you will not be tight and perky forever =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Molly

    This is so well said. Children have so much growing and learning to do. It’s hard. But they’ll get there. And the best we can do is try to help keep them on the right path along the way.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Becki

    I wonder how kids figure this out so quickly! I mean, really?
    Growing up is tough to do.
    Will you check out my last blog post and tell me what you think? Its about carseats…right up your alley… :)
    .-= Becki´s last blog ..Been there, done that? Question for the Mommas! =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Nicole Johnson

    Happy Follow Friday…

    Following You From http://bizzimommi.blogspot.com

    Hope You Drop By!

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 Maria

    If that’s her mean face, I’d hate to see her pout!

    I’m your newest Friday follower.

    Come visit me at Mom-et-al.com

    -Maria

    /
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..Tips For Ruling Your Castle By Sofia, Age 4 =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 rebecca d

    We’ve had the mean girl too… it was a brief phase when our younger daughter was in 5th grade… She didn’t grow into a “Heather” so far…

    I’m here from Friday Follow… I’m your newest follower.
    .-= rebecca d´s last blog ..Five Favorites Friday =-.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2010 jackie

    Great post! I remember the mean girls and cliques at school. But, you are doing a good job in teaching your daughter about kindness and what’s right.

    Have a great weekend! I’m a new follower.
    .-= jackie´s last blog ..Friday Follow! =-.

    Reply
  • March 13, 2010 Katrina

    Oh this definitely brings me back to the school years. It’s so tough when you’re younger understanding how big of an impact you’re making when you’re being mean. I can only wonder how things will be when my son is in school! Just like you said– I hope he always makes room for others at his table but I suspect there will be a bump in the road here and there.

    Following from Friday Follow. :)
    .-= Katrina´s last blog ..Oh… Picnic Baskets! =-.

    Reply
  • Nice story. At least she recognized that she was being mean and can learn from it. As I parent, I’d be more concerned if she didn’t realize it was wrong :-) Also a great lesson for everyone to make room for anyone in your life who wants to be there :-)

    Following you from MBC. Like your blog layout. I’ll be switching my blog from TypePad to WordPress & Thesis here in the next few weeks! (we have a couple of other blogs to transition first).
    .-= Chrystal @ Happy Mothering´s last blog ..Blinkblots Baby Memory Book Review =-.

    Reply
  • March 13, 2010 Marie

    Happy Follow Friday!

    I’m a new follower :)
    .-= Marie´s last blog ..What? We agreed? =-.

    Reply
    • March 14, 2010 Brittany

      Marie I tried to comment on your blog. What great news! I am following you too but I could not comment on your blog.

      Reply
      • March 20, 2010 Marie

        I just realized that there’s something wrong with my blog comments! I’m not sure how to fix them. But thanks for letting me know it’s not working for you too!

        WordPress tends to be a bit tricky! :(
        .-= Marie´s last blog ..I need a change… =-.

        Reply
  • March 13, 2010 CC

    Hi Brittany..
    I’m visiting via Follow Friday..and have become a follower. I hope you visit,like my blog and follow me as well. I love your advice and thought as to how to treat others. Sometimes we can be thoughtless and forget how it hurts to be left out. And we never grow out of it..we want to be part of the group..the outside family,so to speak. Your daughter is very lucky..she has a wise and caring mother..she’ll do well.
    Have a lovely weekend.. come visit
    .-= CC´s last blog ..Sunbonnet Sue Books of Patterns plus,a Sweet Cake and Cupcake Pattern …. Pink Saturday =-.

    Reply
  • March 14, 2010 Angela

    I see this sometimes in our playgroup, except from the other side. The girls in the group love my son when it’s just a few kids, but when they all get together the girls will sometimes gang up and single him out. There are only a couple of boys in the group, so it happens quite often. It’s definitely hard to explain to him what is happening, and from my position there isn’t much I can do. I love the way you handled your daughter’s situation though and your idea to lead by example. Great post.
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..Paper Mate Party =-.

    Reply
  • March 14, 2010 jackie

    Hi!

    I have something for you over at my blog. Have a great day!!

    http://blahblah-jackie1097.blogspot.com/2010/03/another-award.html
    .-= jackie´s last blog ..Another award! =-.

    Reply
  • March 14, 2010 Ron

    Those early lessons of kindness and compassion are so very important! My daughter is grown now and has her own daughter, and I can safely say that I’ve been a good role model. (bragging a bit, I admit!)

    Recently, I wrote a letter to my granddaughter, Greta, and the theme was kindness. Here it is to all those who may like to read it:

    http://inspiredbyron.blogspot.com/2010/01/above-all-be-kind.html

    Ron
    .-= Ron´s last blog ..A sacred space =-.

    Reply
  • I loved your post! I have a four year old – know what you mean… Sometimes I think the whole world should watch more Barney. Well, maybe not that far….

    One more late-comer from Friday Follow-
    (I know it’s Sunday but I’m catching up!)

    Nice to meet you, I hope you’ll follow me back.

    Kelly
    http://www.KellysLuckyYou.blogspot.com

    Reply
  • You sound like a wonderful Mom. You could give Mommy lessons to some Moms I have encountered during my teaching career. Bless you for taking the time to instill the importance of not excluding others in your child!
    .-= veterankindergartenteacher´s last blog ..Blogging About Daylight Savings Time From A Kindergarten Teacher’s Perspective =-.

    Reply
  • March 17, 2010 underground hypnosis

    I love the way you handled your daughter’s situation though and your idea to lead by example. Great post.

    Reply
  • April 6, 2011 Ado

    It’s so HARD when OUR child is the one being mean! You handled it really well, bravo to you. When my first daughter was a toddler she hit another tot in play group. She was the first to hit – my husband said be patient, the others will try their hand at hitting – or biting – eventually (and they did, & their moms went thru the same horror as me, asking themselves horrid questions like, “is this genetic? something I did? is my child MEAN?”)
    So I handled that and at the next play group my daughter was ON TOP OF another tot and it looked like she was STRANGLING her. Holy God was I mortified. The mom didn’t really want to play w. us again (please note: HER child became the biter) – anyway fast forward, that tot is now a really lovely, nice 9 year old who is not mean to others and who rescues kids who she feels other children are being mean to. Anyway – they have to try their hand at different “styles” – like what it feels like to be mean, but it thankfully doesn’t mean they’re going to be like that for life. (-;
    Ado recently posted… Bucket List for ParentingMy Profile

    Reply

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