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Llama, Llama Preschool Drama: 10 Tips on How to Cope

May 1 2014 - 8:57am

If you're the parent of a preschool girl, then, like me, you're probably wondering if girl drama is starting younger and younger these days. From "This girl doesn't want to be my friend" to "That girl is being mean to me," the complaints about girl drama definitely kick in before kindergarten. We all want to to do what's right by our child without overstepping our boundaries, so navigating this world can be a little tricky. Keeping in mind that your child's best interest is priority number one, these simple tips can also really help her (and you) figure out how to handle preschool girl drama.

Source: Flickr user Clemens v. Vogelsang [1]

Leave Your Own Mean Girl Issues Out of It

Ugh, mean girls. We've all been there and done that, but just because you've been burned by another chick, doesn't mean you should take it out on your child's mean girl in the parking lot. Sometimes it helps to leave your own baggage out of it.

Source: Flickr user Jeff Hitchcock [2]

Ask Questions — and Listen

If your daughter has come home upset about someone being mean to her, ask her questions about the situation rather than jumping to conclusions. As parents, we can learn a lot about what our children say, and sometimes the issue is simply a misunderstanding or even just a product of being in preschool. Sometimes my daughter will come home saying so-and-so is being "mean," but after asking her a few key questions, I am able to realize it's really just them not understanding fully how to communicate yet.

Source: Flickr user Clemens v. Vogelsang [3]

Remind Her That Everyone Need Not Be Friends

Don't minimize her feelings of hurt, instead remind her that everyone can't (and shouldn't be) friends. We might be inclined to encourage our daughter to be friends with everyone, but if someone is not being a good friend, then it's perfectly OK to let her know that she does not have to be friends with the other child.

Source: Flickr user Oleg Sidorenko [4]

Suggest Friends Outside of School

One of the great things about preschoolers is that you still have an input on who they play with outside of school. So if you're tot is having troubles with girls inside the classroom, set up playdates with some nice girls for her to play with outside the classroom.

Source: Flickr user Steven Depolo [5]

Don't Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill

Preschool kids are full of drama — it's what they do. It's what they live for. So try to remember that before yanking your child out of school and homeschooling her. Make sure that the issue is even as big as it sounds. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be your child's best advocate, because you should, but listen to her concerns (rather than jump to conclusions), and once you've gathered all your intelligence, then take action.

Source: Flickr user peasap [6]

Read All About It

There are some great literary resources out there on relational aggression between girls, and one of my favorite books on the topic is Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World [7] ($9, originally $16).

Source: Flickr user David [8]

Tap Into the Teachers

Teachers are your eyes and ears when you are not there, and chances are that they've witnessed any relational aggression going down in the classroom. Talk to your child's teacher about it, and she'll probably offer some great tips on dealing with girl drama as well as helping your child deal with it.

Source: Flickr user Fred Rockwood [9]

Spend Some Time in the Classroom

One of the best things I ever did when my daughter was coming home in tears about a little girl in her preschool class was to spend a few days in there volunteering and observing. I was able to actually witness the interactions that were taking place and then offer suggestions based on what I saw (rather than what I was imagining was happening).

Source: Flickr user Richard "Dick" Morgan [10]

Role-Play With Her

Instead of telling her what to do and then expecting her to apply it in real life with no experience, do a little bit of role-playing with her. Oftentimes I play the mean girl and then let my daughter test out the responses we've talked about. At the counsel of a professional, I have advised my daughter to simply ask her gal pals, "Why are you being so mean to me?" We practice this often and since doing so, I've witnessed her using the statement on her own. As they say, practice makes perfect, and role-playing is a great application for dealing with mean girls.

Source: Flickr user Daniel Bentley [11]

If She's the Mean Girl, Explain the Harm

But wait, what if your child is actually the mean girl [12]? It's not the end of the world, and actually dealing with relational aggression at such a young age provides important teaching moments for both the mean girl and the child being hurt, because parents are able to stress the importance that our words can be harmful and hurtful early on — and may actually diminish the behavior later in life [13].

Source: Flickr user Rolands Lakis [14]

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