How to keep your daughter from growing up into a mean girl
Want to know how to avoid raising a mean girl? Try these tips to help your daughter become truly kind and compassionate
When raising girls, parents should focus on building their self-esteem. It is one of the key ingredients that will help them become go-getters when they grow up. But emphasis should also be placed on teaching kindness and compassion and not using ambition and the need for dominance as an excuse to hurt or demean others should be prioritze.
Mean girl culture, in schools and even in the workplace, is real and it's important not to tolerate mean behavior in childhood to avoid raising a mean girl.
Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to raise a truly kind and compassionate girl.
1. Call your daughter out
Your daughter should know that meanness will not be tolerated. If she gets away with a mean remark or aggressive action once, it can become more and more of a habit.
2. Model kindness and confidence
There's a reason why parents are often advised to "be a good role model." This is because they are the first models of behavior their child can look up to.
Mean girl groups develop not because all of them are spiteful. It is more often because of their need to belong, even if they have to bully others to do so. By empowering your daughter, your equipping her with the confidence and self-esteem she develops the will not to fall into the wrong crowd.
3. Show empathy
Do not invalidate their feelings. Author and social worker Signe Whitson's advice, in article on Psychology Today, is to allow them to voice out their feelings. What works for her and her daughter, who is in the third grade, is open communication. However, when the statements border on being mean, she makes sure to steer the conversation into a more productive route. She also makes her daughter feel more empowered to do what's right.
4. Genuinely listen to her
Sometimes, a mean girl is just a girl who feels like she is not valued or heard. Having parents who genuinely listen and care about her thoughts and feelings will help her lash out less. It will help her learn how to sort through emotions in a positive way instead of projecting her frustrations on siblings or peers in a negative way.
5. Set limits
There should absolutely be no excuse for mean or aggressive behavior. However, it's best to make sure that limits and rules age-appropriate. Younger girls may need gentler reminders and less strict rules. They may also require more explanation as to why certain behaviors cannot be tolerated.
Aside from limiting them, try to expand their world and their social circle. This can help teach them to play well with others and build more friendships that can help them grow into their best selves.