Girl Drama Starts Earlier Than You Think — Here's How to Equip Your Kid
Mean girls isn't just the title of an exceptionally awesome movie (and the inspiration for a host of other flicks). Unfortunately, it's also a reality for many school-aged children, starting at a way younger age than any mom wants to hear. Was I taken aback when my now almost 8-year-old daughter's kindergarten teacher told me one of her classmates was a tiny Regina George, dedicated to dominating the 5-year-old social scene and cutting down any girl who would challenge her dominance? Um, ya, but then I realized that my outrage was going to do very little to prepare my own, thankfully oblivious, kid for the girl drama that she'd inevitably be dealing with for decades to come (I shudder to think about middle school), if not the rest of her life.
Instead, we started talking about it. About why kids in general — but especially girls, who are quicker to figure out the concept of a social hierarchy and how they can affect their place in it — sometimes say hurtful things or try to leave people out on purpose. About why she should always stand up for herself and others when she sees someone being mean. About why she should choose to be kind, to include everyone, and to hang out with a lot of friends, all of who might teach her new things, before latching on to just one best buddy.
So far, we've avoided any real melodrama, but my daughter is only in second grade. From what I hear from moms of older girls, it's coming, showing up in the form of group Halloween costumes that not everyone can be part of, in exclusive slumber parties the uninvited will hear all about, and in lunchroom gossip circles focused on an outsider they want to keep that way. If girl drama has entered your daughter's orbit — or you want to gently prepare her for the inevitable — here's where to start.