Thursday, March 3, 2011

That Whole Mean Girl Thing

Having three daughters, drama is most definitely not a new concept to me. However, I am seeing the drama of pre-adolescent girls manifest itself in new and ugly ways lately. Bethany has some friends who take drama to a new level. Ugh. My sensitive girl is having a hard time dealing with hormonal friends who want to be besties one day and never want to speak to her again the next day for reasons she is finding it difficult to ascertain. Jealousy is rampant...ridiculous one-upping stories are being told, and punishments in the way of withholding friendship are being doled out for imaginary or grossly exaggerated offenses.

The entire fourth grade put together an endangered animals museum after school today to share with families. Each child had done a report on an endangered animal and created a model to display. Chris and I fought the crowd with three kids, one in a stroller, and found Bethany sitting at her station in tears. A friend with whom she had been having a jolly good time just a couple days ago was angry with her, and Bethany couldn't quite figure out why. So badly I wanted to approach the little girl and tell her to get her butt over to Bethany to apologize STAT. To ask her if it was making her feel good inside knowing that she was hurting her friend and making her cry. I walked right past her. It was hard not saying anything to her. Really hard. But I know I can't fight Bethany's battles for her. At least not this kind. I can only listen and advise and hope she chooses her friends wisely and treats them as she wants them to treat her. 

I remember similar incidents at that age...running to the girls' room in tears, confused and wondering what I did wrong to invoke the wrath of a mean girl who was also my good friend on better days. The thing I didn't know then was that maybe I didn't do anything. Maybe it had nothing to do with me. Maybe this girl was having feelings and emotions she couldn't understand and was taking it out on me. Maybe she had an urge to just be a bitch and didn't yet know how to get that urge under wraps. Maybe this girl who messed with Bethany today is actually a really good kid who just hasn't figured out yet how to deal with emotional highs and lows and bad moods that make you want to punch someone hard. Maybe she was ticked about something else and took it out on my daughter. Maybe Bethany did do something to tick her off.

Whatever the case, seeing my girl with tears running down her face and a look of heartbroken confusion makes me just want to hug her tight and put her in a protective bubble. I hate that she has to learn these lessons. I hate that she has to deal with people hurting her. But I hope that she learns enough from it to remember what it feels like so she takes special care not to make anyone else feel like she has been made to feel. I hope she learns how to be a better friend because of it.


Tracy Balderach said...

I can only imagine the heartbreak of watching your daughter deal with mean girl heart ache. I too, remember being the only 7th grader no one would speak to- it was miserable, but hopefully that time was purposeful to give me something to share with my girls when they go through what your daughter is starting to see. Fourth grade is so early for it to begin. Sounds like you have great advice to give her and a loving home to help her on the tough days!

alyaia75 said...

Thanks Tracy! It is young for this stuff, but as you will surely see before you know it, kids are growing up so fast right before our eyes, and it just goes into hyper speed once they start elementary. Keeping them sheltered and innocent isn't so easy anymore! I'm trying my best to use incidents like this to teach her about compassion, friendship, and the golden rule - treat others as you want them to treat you.