From a parent’s point of view, mean-girl issues can be troubling, regardless of where your daughter fits into the equation. When you’re dealing with mean teen girls and potential bullying circumstances, handle it proactively to ensure a positive outcome. No teen should experience the pain and anxiety that comes from other teens’ mistreatment.
Managing a Mean Girl
Call out the bullying behavior with your daughter to draw attention to it, advises the GreatSchools website. For example, if your girl is making hurtful comments or spreading negative rumors about someone, you might say, “Wow, that doesn’t sound like something that’s kind or friendly.”
Encourage empathy in your teen to help her understand how hurtful these actions can be to someone else. Teenagers might not intuitively realize how hurtful behavior feels to someone else, advises the WebMD website. You might say, “Can you imagine for a moment how you'd feel if you were on the other side of your treatment and behavior?”
Insist that your daughter apologize to the victim to make amends. The apology should take responsibility for the bullying behavior and make a commitment not to repeat the behavior.
Help your daughter feel loved and valued to discourage a tendency to mistreat others, according to WebMD. Spend time with her, encouraging her and communicating your love and positive support of her activities, pursuits, goals, thoughts and desires.
Set a positive example for your daughter to follow in the way you treat others and resolve differences, advises the GreatSchools website. Your daughter is watching your interactions intently and likely patterning herself after your example. Treat others respectfully and your daughter should be more likely to repeat your example.
Helping a Victim
Watch your daughter for signs of bullying and mean-girl issues. If you notice anxiety, a change in eating or sleeping habits, isolation, moodiness or avoidance of activities she usually enjoys, she might be experiencing some bullying from other girls, according to the Kids Health website.
Talk to your child about your concerns to learn the details. Your teen may be eager for help or she may be reluctant to confide. If she spills all of the details, listen carefully and ask open-ended questions to clarify any points. If she resists talking, tell her you’re always available to listen and help if she needs it.
Resist the urge to overreact or personalize the bullying, counsels psychotherapist Debbie Pincus, with the Empowering Parents website. Of course, you’re concerned and probably angry, too, but try to maintain your composure as you try to resolve the problem.
Discuss strategies for resolving the problem with your child. Encourage her to resist fear and anger when dealing with a mean girl. Instead, help her find ways to turn a circumstance around so the other girl feels uncomfortable. For example, your daughter might say, “I don’t think that’s cool” or “This isn’t worth my time.” and then she should walk away.
Speak to school officials, if the bullying is happening during school to include school officials in the solution. Have your daughter inform a teacher or an administrator every time something occurs. Speak to the other girl’s parents if the behavior involves text-messaging or emails – have proof available to show them, if possible.