I Hate Girls.

I can’t say I wasn’t warned. Last year, when my daughter was in kindergarten, everything was great. It was a new school, where she didn’t know anyone except for one boy from preschool, who wasn’t even in her class. But she’s likeable, and sweet, and she made friends easily. Nice friends. Whew, I thought. No mean girls. We dodged a bullet. But the wise moms with older daughters told me not to start celebrating just yet. Just wait, they cautioned. It all goes downhill from here.

 

Of course, they were right. This year, the classes mixed, some new girls came, and suddenly, in first grade, there’s a whole new dynamic. Instead of stories about how all the girls played together at recess, my daughter is coming home with stories about the girls who wouldn’t play with her at recess. Instead of looking forward to having a new job partner each week, my daughter worries each week about who her partner is going to be. Some of the girls, she tells me, just aren’t that nice. Taunts of “I don’t want to sit with you,” or “I only want to play with so and so,” cloud her mind, and some days, my happy, joyful little girl steps off the bus looking positively crushed. I won’t say that we’re quite at “mean girls” yet, but I can tell, it’s a comin’.

 

At the same time, however, I look at the boys, who all seem to get along just fine, as long as there’s a ball involved. And it makes me realize how lucky boys are, to have the kinds of common denominators that distract them from the petty nonsense with which girls become so consumed. My own son is a perfect example. He just turned four, and he hasn’t gotten sucked into the whole sports thing yet. But still, he can make friends with anyone if they’re wearing a Star Wars shirt, or carrying a Power Rangers lunch box. Just last week, we saw a boy at his school wearing a tee shirt with Darth Vader on it, and my son walked right up to him, and without saying a word, pointed at his own Darth Vader tee shirt. They had never even seen each other before, but within minutes they were having a pretend light saber battle, and chatting about who their favorite characters are. When we left to go my son’s classroom, he asked me if we could have a playdate with that boy. What’s his name? I asked him. I don’t know, he said. But he likes playing Star Wars.

 

It’s the same way for grown men. My husband has made all kinds of friends at Dodger Games, or at restaurants where a football game is playing on the tv above the bar. All it takes is a nod of the head and a grunt of what’s the score, and suddenly, they’re hanging out, speaking a sports language that few women understand. Obviously, these aren’t real, close friendships. But there’s no question that in playing sports, watching sports, or even battling with pretend light sabers, boys are able to bond with each other in profound, positive ways. I’ve wracked my brain trying to think of equivalent ways in which girls can connect with each other, but every time, I come up short. Shopping? I don’t think so. Dolls? Not past the age of six or seven. Sports? Maybe for some girls, but then they usually end up playing with the boys at recess. Unfortunately, for girls, it seems that their “sport” is, a lot of the time, just being mean to other girls.

 

mom2cne
12.03.08

I couldn't agree more with this comment. My son (1st grade) has been run through the wringer of mean "friends". One boy in particular has caused him all sorts of heartache and misery. I do what I can, outside of school, but there isn't much I could do while they were in class together. I did insist, this year, that they be in seperate classes and that has helped quite a bit. Now they see each other for 15 minutes a day at recess instead of all day.

leslie morgan s...
11.06.08

Leslie Morgan Steiner

There is a great book about female bullies titled Odd Girl Out. The part I remember most is that girl bullies are very, very different from boy bullies. Girls who bully are often natural born leaders looking to lead (ie, boss) everyone else around. If you can grasp that, and give them positions of true leadership (captain of the soccer team, line leader, class president) they learn to channel their alpha-female nature into more productive outlets vs. turning into a so-called "mean" girl (a stereotype that I don't believe actually exists in reality -- it's just a juvie version of "bitch". As if only women can be mean? Give me a break!)

zomanda
11.01.08

I must mention one thing, mean girls dont stay mean girls forever, many go on to become mean teenagers, who sometimes go on to become mean adults. When our daughter was faced with this endless issue I thought, how do I deal with mean people? So I shared my feelings with her, I told her that the reason she doesnt understand why some people are mean is because she really doesnt know what mean is. She understands being silly, fair and most other things positive people know. I went on to say those girls know mean because there must be someone in their life who is mean to them, and that may be the only way they know how to "be". I suggested that she not to spend so much time upset about the way they treat her, and try to understand that they are only putting out what they get. Just be patient, dont take it personal, and it really is them and not you.

mecrob
10.30.08

It is really ironic to read this article. This just started happening to my oldest daughter more so in second grade. Finally my daughter teacher told me to back off and just let it happen and she would handle it from here. I can't believe 7 year olds have so much drama! It breaks my heart to know my little girl is sad but I guess I can't fix everything! 3 days in to me backing off and so far so good. Thank goodness for teachers that are on the ball!

ned7088
10.29.08

I am so glad your daughter is doing great! I can't believe what that mother did to you! Well you know now where her daughter picked up this repulsive behavior! Parents can be worse than the kids sometimes! Hopefully this mothers behavior will come back and bite her in the butt someday! Thanks for sharing!

ned7088
10.29.08

I have a daughter who is almost 5, and I am not looking forward to her starting school because of this problem. Right now she can get along with anyone! I went thru this in my school years and I hope she doesn't go thru what I did! I am in my late 30's and the bulling I went thru still bothers me to this day! I also have a son who is in 7th grade. Boys can fight one day and be best buds the next! I agree girls learn this stuff at home! I can't believe the mom who oredered a background check and then sent it to other moms!!! What is wrong with mothers like this?! Usually the parents of the kids who are the bullies don't care. Going to the teachers and principal is the only way to go these days. The parents can't believe that their kids would bully other kids or the parents are bullies themselves who need to grow up!!! I went thru a situation with my son last year with a neighbor who has 3 girls. Since he was a boy he was at fault! He didn't want to play with the one girl because she was bossy, and he got tired of it! Well the mom came over and wanted to know what was going on? So i told her what my son said. She didn't like hearing stuff about her daughter, so she preceded to tell me how horrible my son was! Her daughters told her that my son was always cussing and causing trouble! First I had heard of it! I have seen her youngest daughter in action and it can get pretty ugly. That family has money and the girls like to rub it in other girls faces. I told her the kids need to work it out themselves! She didn't like that idea and kept going on about my son. So I told her some things I had witnessed her girls doing and she bacame very defensive!! Needless to say the kids didn't play for awhile and me and the mother only talk when we need to! I just hope my daughter doesn't have these problems, but I'm sure she will! Hopefully I can just get her thru these situations! Bless all of you with daughters! And of course with sons too. It just seems like boys don't go thru this stuff as much as girls do!

cyn
10.29.08

I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. I feel your pain, as a mother you just want to tell the kids to be friends with your kid because she/he is really awesome. When we moved I was more worried about my son making friends at his new school than he was. As you pointed out it is so much easier for men to make friends with each other than women. Sometimes it's hard for women to make friends as an adult too.

Mom_of_3
10.28.08

It's not just the girls. My oldest son (he's in second grade) has a "Best" friend that will decide he doesn't want to be friends this day or that. His friend can be mean in things he says or does. It's hard to teach your kids to treat others kindly when they themselves aren't being treated that way.

jennmang1
10.28.08

My daughter is in Kindergarten and I worried about this before September even hit. Fortunately, the "mean" hasn't kicked in (yet) so we're still okay. I went to the same grade school and there are still times that I look at the play ground and remember what it was like to be there - sometimes I was the mean girl, most often, though, I was pray for the mean girl. It wasn't until I told them all off in 5th grade in front of the whole class did they bug off me, but there was always someone else. There isn't much you can do but support your kids and help them figure out how to get around the mean girls or stop being one. Sadly, little girls especially, are forced to grow up much faster then we did as kids. My 5th grad experience may be my daughter's 2nd grade experience. It's sad, but like all things kid related, we'll get through it.

shannadl
10.28.08

I have to say that, as a mother, I have been exposed to both sides of girl friendships. My oldest daughter has a wonderful group of friends that really like and appreciate each other. They are in 6th grade and they are still great to each other.

My youngest daughter has been a completely different experience. These girls are awful! 2 years ago when they were in 2nd grade, I had to go pick her up from school every Wednesday. On the third week I took her to her MD who thought it was low blood sugar after gym class. So we modified her diet and still for the next 3 weeks she was coming home "sick" from school. I kept asking if she was sure it was feeling sick and not something else. I kept asking if there ws anything bothering her. The feeling sick was making sense but I was worried it was something more serious than low blood sugar because she lost 9 lbs in those weeks. So on the 2nd trip to the doc, the doc said, "Em, what's going on that is doing this because I can't find anything?" Then she began to tell us how mean the girls were being. It was horrific and completely unbelievable to me that girls in second grade could be like this! I have a psych degree and had worked in a child/adolescent psych residential treatment facility and didn't see those behaviors until girls were 13+.

I had to talk to the teacher and the principal who both told me that other girls were having similar issues with these girls and they were doing their best to address it. After that, the principal called all parents and let them know that bullying wouldn't be tolerated and called in those who had been affected by mean girls and who were mean girls as well as all their parents to talk about what was going on. One of the moms told me that I should have called her as soon as I knew her daughter was being mean. Keep in mind I had already heard how she had addressed it with other moms which is why I went to the teacher and principal. This mom then ordered a background check on me with a full credit report and all my information that was purchaseable and sent it to all of the parents in both of the grades that my girls were in. So unfortunately the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. It is true, children learn what they live!
I made sure for the following years that my daughter didn't have any of them in her class and amazingly her grades came up. Now in our second year without mean girls in the class she is a straight A student that tested in the 98th percentile for her Assessment tests and she has made friends with some good girls who have all had to weather Mean Girls! Hopefully it just equips them to deal with it all a little better in Jr. High and High School!