Mean Girls

First, I have to apologize. My last post was nothing more than a pity party, but I forgot to mention the most comical part of that hospital stay.  I tested positive for MRSA – “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a type of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mrsa/basics/definition/con-20024479 After the MRSA culture came back positive, my room resembled that of the the house in ET and the staff looked like a hazmat clean up crew. One of the nurses was a little put off by all the safety precautions and in her deep southern accent stated to me, “Girl! You done got everyone runnin’ scared.” She was fantastic and made the stay a little more tolerable.

I would like to thank everyone for their encouraging words and prayers! Since our vacation was a last minute trip scheduled in between baseball tournaments, I wasn’t sure if my parents would be able to go with us. Again, I thank God for his good work in our life. Had my parents not been with us, it would have been very difficult for my husband to be with me at the hospital.

Onto my current rant…mean girls.  I think I have explained how much I absolutely hate middle school, but I realize it is a stage in life that everyone has to get through. My daughter has received more than her fair share of “mean girl” attacks and it’s difficult to find that balance between sideline parent, helicopter mom or full force snowplow parent. The helicopter mom is a title I wear with pride when it comes to social media. With four sisters, a few sisters-in-law and several “mom” friends, I am more like a small squadron when it comes to social media.  However, it’s a fine line when teaching my daughter to navigate middle school drama. The helicopter mom watches everything that is going on. The sideline mom wants to let her learn to deal with issues and drama on her own, but the snowplow mama wants to push through it all and pave a nice cozy path where she can’t be hurt by any of it.

I want to be the parent that gives my daughter sound advice. I want her to survive middle school unscathed, and I want her to leave middle school holding her head high, sure of herself and willing to trust those true friends that have walked through the muddy middle school waters along side her.

Isn’t it funny how the it’s the same group of girls over and over again that cause all this drama? After some reading, it’s not really funny or ironic. Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World, describes these same girls as “[having] all the tact, sense of fairness and social graces as a pack of hyenas.” I can’t help but laugh at that comical, but accurate comparison.

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This behavior derives from a need for acceptance and a wide range of insecurities. In reality, it’s sad. These girls are so insecure that they do things or say things to make themselves feel like they are, in some way, a little higher on the middle school totem pole than those they taunt. From the Mayo Clinic…Researchers say teenage girls have a few basic needs…called the ABCs & ME. A stands for acceptance, B is a sense of belonging, C is control, and ME is the need for a meaningful existence. When those needs aren’t met, girls sometimes do mean things to get them met.

In some of my reading, I found a quote from a mother in Virginia, “I explained to her that the ‘mean girls’ feel their status is threatened by pretty, smart, talented people and they are acting out of fear, jealousy and insecurity. I also explained to her that those girls only have the ‘power’ that is given to them.” Not an author, not a researcher or child psychologist, but a mother and her experience. It’s true. These “mean girls” only feel like they have accomplished something when their intended target reacts to their words or actions.

I always tell my daughter – smile, keep your head high and go out of your way to be kind. I’m not expecting her to be their friend, but a wave or simple (but loud enough to be noticed) salutation is enough to knock these “mean girls” off their game.

This daughter of mine is a good mix of my kindness, my sister’s sharp tongue and my other sister’s dismissive personality. She is straight up honest and doesn’t sugar coat a thing. I’m sure she will survive middle school without so much as a scratch with this cocktail of attributes, but I also know that she has a hard outer coating covering a very fragile heart. The Irish temper in me wants to teach her to pounce with dagger sharp words that will leave anyone daring enough to mouth her name wallowing in a pool of their own insecurities, failures and downfalls. Ouch! That can’t be good parenting.

Matthew 5:43-48 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 

Love your enemies. This is a hard lesson to teach and even harder for middle school minds to understand, but it’s not so hard for adults. In pondering my daughter’s middle school experience, I think it comes down to parenting. I’m trying my best to teach her and our boys to be kind…to everyone. I guess my bigger question is what are the parents of these “mean girls” teaching their daughters?

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