That’s when it really started for me. Something about 8 and 9-year-old kids, especially girls, that this age is when they try to test the power of control over others.
I’d experienced it for myself, and now I’m starting to see it affecting my daughter.
I’d been made fun of for the clothes that I wore, how long my hair was, my slight Boston accent, stupid petty things. And yet, it really affected me. No matter how hard I’d try to ignore it, I couldn’t avoid it. It continued through junior high and high school; I couldn’t avoid it.
And now it’s my daughter’s turn. She was telling us about a situation, and she told us she tried to talk to the girl, but it sounded like she was trying to dish it back, and failing at it. She was being made fun of because of how she wears her hair, and because she did Bible Quizzing.
I sat and talked with her, trying not to cry. I told her that just because that girl might like the headbands with lots of sparkles and big bows, doesn’t mean she has to. They don’t stay in her hair very well. And if it’s “too long” (as I was often teased for), maybe she’s jealous because her mom cuts her hair short. My daughter has hair that most women swoon over, asking to borrow her for a little while to take to their colorist so they can get color just like hers.
My daughter is not athletic… she’s tried sports, but they’re just not her thing. She’s not a bad runner though, but she doesn’t want to be a runner. She likes music and reading. I’m not going to force her into team sports unless she wants to try it. But she loves Bible Quizzing. She’s proud of the work that she’s done. But in a public school, she doesn’t get an opportunity to share her experiences and talents. Other kids who aren’t active in a church don’t see this as a real activity. She should be proud of her hard work, and even if the kids at school don’t recognize her accomplishments, I know many parents who are.
As she was getting ready for school today, I told her that if someone is trying to say something to bring you down, just walk away. If they continue bothering you, and it’s hard to ignore them, just pray for them; because even if they don’t seem likable at that moment, Jesus still loves them.
As a mom, who was in her shoes, I just want to protect her. But most importantly, I need to let her grow and handle things on her own.
Have you had to deal with mean girls? How did you deal with it?