One thing about me- I never really thought I was cut out to mother girls. There are a number of reasons for this. For starters, I just don't think of myself as girly enough to teach them all that cool stuff they will need to know. Like how to pick the perfect outfit. Or wear makeup. Or accessorize. Also I'm just not that soft and fluffy. I'm really a tough-love kind of girl. I'm half convinced that deep down I am mostly male when it comes to that stuff.
But aside from lacking in the feminine exterior knowledge, I really am very sensitive when it comes to inclusion and thinking of how others might feel. I want my girls to learn to never exclude others, to be kind in their thoughts and words, and to treat all people equal. I'm sure we've all had those experiences in our lives where we have been hurt by actions and comments of others - I've probably stored those up in a giant catalogue in my mind and can recall the most hurtful ones at any given moment. It's because all of those instances where I have been hurt have taught me to never repeat those to others.
So with that in mind, I've been trying to teach my girls how to be kind to each other and to others. Last weekend Hayley had what I think is her first real exposure to outside Mean Girls. She has a little friend that lives a few houses away from us. This girl is in the same class as Hayley but is about 8 months older and two feet taller than Hayley. I fully expect that this is going to be a problem for Hayley her whole life for two reasons, one, she tested into school as she didn't make the birthday cutoff so she will always be the youngest in her class. And two, for some reason even though Hayley was 8 pounds 6 ounces at birth she has somehow turned into this tiny little thing which makes me feel even more protective of her than ever.
Hayley was acting out last weekend so I put her in her room to think about it. She was crying and told me that her friend had called her a baby, said she talked like a baby, and looked like a baby. It had obviously been bothering her all day. I was at a loss for how to help her as I didn't think it would really start this early. She is six years old for heaven's sake!
For everything I am doing to help her treat others nicely, I am not sure how to help her defend herself against those that don't treat her nicely. I was lucky enough to have a younger sister that defended me. When girls were mean to me, I brought out my younger sister Sara, who would get right in their faces and bully them into leaving me alone. Somehow I don't think that's the right way to help Hayley, to teach Sam how to become her "heavy".
So the only advice I could give her was to tell her friend that she would not accept that treatment from her. To tell her friend if she was not going to be kind to Hayley that they could not be friends. I hope I can teach her to be strong enough to stand up to people that treat her that way, even if they are the most popular kids. Mean girls are just a fact of life. I don't know why that is. I don't know what makes girls behave that way and I don't know what we, as parents, can do to help them through that terrible phase. I also didn't know that it was going to start so young. All I can hope for is that I can teach my girls to always treat other girls nicely and to have the confidence to walk away from those that don't treat them with the same kindness and respect.
Please let me make my way through this without my heart breaking all over again.