An Open Letter to the Mom of the Mean Girl:
I’m not sure many people will tell you. So I’m going to.
Your daughter is mean.
It’s why your daughter wasn’t invited to the last two birthday parties. Perhaps you’d like to know that the moms sat in the corner swapping stories of how your mean girl and her “crew” terrorized our babies this past week. How they pushed them off the swings or called them names or made fun of the special education kids out on the playground, too.
Your kid asks my kid why she is so weird every. single. day.
I thought that our kindergarten carpool line conversations would be about sight words and silly songs and practicing counting. Instead, she’s asking me if I think the kids really like her or if they are just pretending. Because your daughter told mine that the other kids were her friends as a joke. I have to help her navigate the idea of “she’s better than me” and “I’m not good enough” daily. I have to remind her to ignore your daughter’s hateful attitude and hurtful words. That her worth isn’t measured by someone else’s opinion.
Yes, these are all tough lessons of life. But she’s six. She doesn’t understand who she is let alone how to accept that she is uniquely wonderful. That’s even difficult for some adults. When your daughter makes fun of my daughter’s clothes or her singing or her love for Ninja Turtles, it’s devastating. Because she doesn’t understand why your kid would be so mean to her. Every night, we deal with your daughter’s behavior. We’ve given our daughter strategies to ignore it. We’ve addressed it with the teacher. We’ve read books and discussed why and talked about ways to ignore her.
But it continues. The other day, my daughter told me “I just can’t change her, Mom. I try and try to be nice but she doesn’t be nice back.”
No, we can’t change your daughter. But you can.
You can teach her empathy. And kindness. And how be a good friend not just a mean girl. I would hope that this isn’t what you want for your daughter - to be a mean girl. But my life experience has shown me that mean girls have mean Moms.
And as I sat in the Kindergarten Counselor’s office Tuesday morning, cradling my sobbing girl who refused to get out of the car and go to class because your daughter once again made her feel like she was less than, I realized I had a choice. I could be a mean Mom, too. I could teach my daughter to mean girl your mean girl. Or. We could pray for you.
Because obviously your daughter hurts others because she is hurting. And you can’t help her not to hurt. Probably because you, too, are hurting.
We live in a world ready to tear everyone around us down. And I refuse to teach my kids that the best humanity has to offer is stepping on each other to raise ourselves up. We will continue to see the world differently. I will teach her to raise up those around her. Not pull them down.
Please don’t misread: I am not dismissing or justifying your daughter’s status as mean girl in the class. But I can not control your kid’s behavior. I can only control mine. And encourage my kid to be kind. And accepting. And help her toughen up.
Because mean girls are going to follow her throughout life. Hell. I deal with mean adult girls every day. And she needs to learn not to value her worth by the words of her peers. She needs to toughen up and not be so sensitive. She needs to begin to see herself through the lens that the majority of the world around her sees: passionate, creative, kind, a blessing.
That is our job as mothers: to help build them up so that when girls like yours try to knock them down, they stand strong. And firm. And confident in their faith. In themselves.
We will continue to take the high road. And pray. For you both. I’m going to admit now that this approach isn’t my natural inclination. But it is the one I know I need to take to best equip my daughter with the skills she will need to be the change.
Because she will.
One day. She will break through. And God’s light will shine so bright from my sweet girl that your little mean girl will be blinded by grace. And she will change. And hopefully you will, too.