Mean Girls in Full Effect

So, the mean girls are evidently in full effect in kindergarten these days. I wouldn’t believe it, if I hadn’t seen with my own eyes the drastic change in my own girl. She pouts. She whines. She tosses out ultimatums. She’s all, “I won’t be your friend unless/if” and “so and so says she doesn’t want to be my friend any more. Now she and so and so are BFFS.

I say, “What is a BFF?” She rolls her eyes at me.

Where did my sweet little girl go? She sure as hell didn’t learn this bullshit from me. This shit is why I always had more male friends than girl friends. (Once I was old enough to realize that girls generally suck and are more trouble than they’re worth). I’m not surprised that it’s happening. Just surprised that it’s happening so early. I thought for sure that I would have until fourth or fifth grade, at least, until i dealt with Queen Bees, Heathers, and Mean Girls.

So, where is it coming from? Have little girls always been this way, this early? Is it too much TV, with the bratty, self-centered, smart-mouthed girls? Is it my generation’s fault? As a girl, if you sassed your Mama, that was frowned upon. Were we completely misguided, misappropriating the term, reading our Sassy Magazines, and reveling in our own sassy attitudes? Have our girls just learned from us? What happened to true friendship, or at least the old adage, “Treat others as you would like to be treated?” I fear we have lost it in a whirlwind (an ill girlwind?) of iCarly and Miley and Serena. This is not what i had in mind when I reveled in the awesome women in music of my youth: Joan Jett, Madonna, Sinead O’Connor, Chrissie Hinde, Debby Harry, Terry Nunn, and Johnette Napolitano. What the fuck happened?

So, I’ve been a bit bewildered, dealing with the tears and the tantrums, the stomping and the mirror-smashing door slamming. To say that I am in fear of the age of 13 is putting it lightly. But she’s only six. And worse than the tears over her own hurt feelings? The knowledge that she is picking up the same tactics and using them on others, in some sort of Lord of the Flies scenario. She is not treating others as she wants to be treated, but as they are treating her. And so it is that we have reached the advent of The Mean Girl Note.

Be frightened. Be very, very frightened.

Or if you are me, be very disgusted, a little sickened, and a whole lot disappointed.

We had friends over the other night. They have a girl about T’s age. The kids all play well together and almost never fight. But they fought this evening. Something about not all wanting to play the same game, which was some kind of running club game. (I am of course in total support of this game, as any game that involves them wearing their little asses out is always my first choice. “Here, baby. Tie this rope, the one attached to the cement block, around your waist. Good. Now run back and forth in the back yard, dragging the cement block behind you. Yes, that’s right. Now do it as many times as you can. Y’all have fun!”)

So, the girls disagreed and one of them quit and played with R (the only boy), having become fed up with the arguing. (Girl after my own heart.) After they left, and our kids were in bed, Todd and I came across the mean girl note. It read something along the lines of, “I will be your friend, if you will play the game with me. If not, you are not my friend.”

GRRRRRRRR. This is it. This is the fucking bullshit that girls do that made me want to BLOW UP MY FUCKING MIDDLE SCHOOL. That’s a bit of a lie. I didn’t always daydream about blowing up the middle school. I actually would have been more happy if there was some kind of disfiguring virus that attacked all the mean, superficial girls. They would contract the disease (spread by lip gloss and notes, of course), suffer a deathly illness for weeks, and then come back to school with hair fallen out, a few pounds piled on, complete pizza face acne, and wearing clothes from [GASP] Goodwill. You know who else would get hit? The social climbing brown nosing types. You know the ones: Not really ugly, but not exactly pretty either. Kind of plain, but with a layer of too much makeup that said, I’m trying too hard. They usually still had some baby fat. They did just what the popular girls wanted them to do, and followed them around like god damn puppets. They also threw their also-not-so-popular brethren under the bus in an attempt to impress the popular girls. In my eyes, they were always the absolute sorriest pieces of shit of them all. Because they wanted to be popular so. very. badly.

Oh, wait. This post isn’t about me? My bad.

So, we found the note. The next morning, Todd talked to Tills about it, and about all the ways in which it was wrong to write it, and they decided together that the next day, she would write a letter apologizing to her friend. I would help her write it after school. It was bedtime when Todd came home the next night. He asked if Tiller had written her letter. I did the deer in headlights – Because I am such a stellar parent, I had completely forgotten about it, what with all the Bonbons I was eating, and Facebook and my soap operas. I promised that I would help her with it the next day, and told him the kids were in bed, but not asleep, and they wanted him to come and tuck them in.

He went upstairs. A few minutes, he came back down, with a funny look on his face, holding a piece of paper. This piece of paper:

Alwase

She wrote it some time after school, of her own accord. It is so sweet I could cry. Yeah, she misspelled some stuff, but SHE PUT A PAIR OF SUNGLASSES ON THE SUN, for heaven’s sake. How can there be a mean girl in a child who thinks the sun wears shades?

I would be happier if it said “I’m sorry for hurting your feelings.” I would prefer it dropped the “best friends” language all together, as the premise of Best Friends seems exclusionary by its very nature. But the essence of it, of two girls, holding hands so sweetly together, so full of love and light that the very sun is blinded by it. . . I’ll take it.

Hell, I’ll cling to it. Allwase.

  21 comments for “Mean Girls in Full Effect

  1. Dawn
    February 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I’m sorry you are having to deal with this so early. I didn’t realize it started that soon with girls either. Would it work to just sit T down and talk to her about it? She has always just seemed like the sweetest girl to me. I can’t imagine she wants to be mean unlike some little girls I’ve met.

    I agree that guys make better friends. This is the first time in my life that I haven’t had more male friends than female and it’s because they all up married.

    I wonder if it would work to talk to Lindsey when she gets back and have her do some sort of workshop for the girls in the school and their moms, perhaps?

    One of Brendan’s best friends is a girl and she tries this crap with him and he just ignores her for a while until she stops being so bossy/mean. She has never apologized to him though when she’s behaved poorly and her parents kind of just blow it off.

    Good luck. I have no doubt you and Todd will correct this sort of thing before she reaches middle school.

    Oh! I did just remember a good book I just bought for my boys. It’s called “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?”. Just look on Amazon for it. We love it and I think it’s reinforcing the idea of acting with kindess and how it benefits not only others but yourself as well because it feels better to be nice than to be mean.

  2. t
    February 28, 2012 at 11:24 am

    you’re gonna make her tie a rope around a cement block and her own WASTE? That’s disgusting.

  3. February 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Ha! Thanks, T. I don’t do that often. Does change the meaning a bit, don’t it?

  4. February 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Thanks, Dawn. I have read that book – it is good. Kind of forgot about it. I am not really worried. She will turn out okay.

  5. Lucy
    February 28, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Girls are mean, get over it.

  6. February 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    We are battling this with Annika. Sometimes she is the excluder, sometimes the excludee. Know you are not alone.

    I can’t send enough sunlight and kisses to Dagny’s daycare/pre-K though, because they did not put up with this crap and she is a better kid because of it. The school called the kids friends (not classmates or class) and expected kids to treat each other that way. AND THEY DID!

  7. Leelee
    February 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Tiller is sweet, and empathetic and she will be fine! But thanks for this post, it made me laugh and remember some mean girls from when I was little.

  8. February 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Oh, leelee. You think Tills can do no wrong.

  9. February 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Yeah, I’m guessing your reaction, Lucy, is a product of your being one of the aforementioned Queen Bees. Just a guess. :-)

  10. February 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Steph, that’s interesting. How did they intervene when they needed to?

  11. February 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Oh, and Leelee, who were your mean girls? Are you friends with them now?

  12. February 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Grrr. I hate this stuff. We had a taste of it in freaking preschool…..with a little bit every year since. I have recognized that girls who have older sisters and watch too much of what I call ‘that disney crap’ tend to start it, at least they did then. Even now with Edie in 4th grade, the girls that start business tend to fit into that description, although by this point there are a few who clearly have issues at home that love to do that too. I have noticed apples generally don’t fall far from the tree and the moms who raise a stink about nothing at school tend to have daughter who are mean girls. Insecurities are a bitch. Literally.

    My fourth grade girl realized last year when her BFF kicked her to the curb hard that boys make much better friends. I’m also proud that my girl tends to walk away from conflict and if you tell her she can’t be friends with someone, well, you just made her want to be a friend to that someone.

    Now to make sure she stays that way through middle & high school…..

  13. Niecy
    February 28, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I am afraid of the coming years and my babe is only 2. I’m so glad this ended well! To infinity and beyond!

  14. February 29, 2012 at 10:24 am

    So glad you read it, Niecy! Thanks for the comment.

  15. Lucy
    February 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I was not a Queen Bee, well maybe not at first. I do remember being picked on and picking on others in elementary school. But, it reached a crescendo in middle school and early high school. Middle school was just awful, I came home and cried EVERY day. I eventually decided to rise above it and had a very happy latter-part of high school. I liked making friends then, esp. with newcomers, as I do still. I am sure there are some people out there that thought I was mean, but my memories are not of that.

    I do think girls are sneaky, spiteful, gossipy creatures. They get their feelings hurt and hurt others feelings, much more than boys. But, they also just FEEL a lot and express feelings better, but you know that. They are more verbal and I think this is part of it. That is not to say you shouldn’t try to teach your daughters to be nice. But, some of it seems to be a girls nature. I’d be willing to bet this has been going on for a long, long time.

  16. February 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Agreed. I am okay with my kid getting her feelings hurt. She will hopefully grow out of that. i am not okay with her hurting others’ feelings. I’m not having it. And you know I was joking about the queen bee thing.

    Kind of. [wink]

  17. March 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Like Aunt Lisa, I am pretty sure T will be just fine, but I do hate to hear that this kind of thing starts so early. Not growing up with any sisters, I really didn’t realize for a long time how mean girls can be to each other. Boys tend to just beat each other up and get over it. ;)

  18. March 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    True, Lyle. V. true. Hope y’all are staying safe – Looks like Madison county had some bad weather.

  19. Nikki
    March 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I tend to be more quiet and observe things, and I’ve come to realize that little girls are a lot like grown women. Our social structures really are not different. Many of Piper’s friends’ behaviors are an awful lot like their mothers’ and the dynamics play out the same way.

    I’m sorry to say, this issue has not gotten any easier for us, and I hear it peaks in 4th and 5th grades. I’m not sure if it’s a comfort or not to say it’s “normal”, although it certainly does not excuse the behavior, does it? I don’t remember it being this dramatic, but then I kind of hung back a little more and did my best to steer clear of it all.

    Raising a girl can be so exhausting!

  20. Nikki
    March 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    By the way, the above doesn’t mean at all that I think Tiller gets her mean girl note writing from you! Hope you didn’t take it that way. I guess I’m just thinking out loud because we deal with this too.

  21. March 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    LOL! No, Nikki, although i can write a mean note! Tiller has backed off the mean notes the last week or so. Fingers crossed it was a v. short phase.

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