By Image Consultant and Educator, Beth Newman for GalTime
Over the course of the last few days, I’ve had the same conversation with parents regarding this mean girl epidemic that, evidently, isn’t going away anytime soon.
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One parent expressed his concerns, asking if he should encourage his daughter to blaze a mean girl path for herself because, ‘she’s just not making as many strides academically or socially as the girls who are more aggressive.’ One mom told me she’s all but given up, and has expressed to her daughter the old ‘if you can’t beat them, join’ them cliché.
Quite disheartened, I pondered this for a good long while. It seems as if our society is constantly inundated with reports and examples of bad behavior that are not only rewarded, but encouraged.
All is not lost, though, I’m sure of it – as long as we adults continue to fight for what’s right and shield our children (and ourselves) from those negative, mean forces out there.
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Set the Example
When you sneak into that coveted parking space at the mall (the one that the driver of the Camry had been waiting patiently for, complete with flashing blinker), you’re sending the message to your child that cutting in front of someone is a perfectly acceptable act. When you mention that the clerk behind the counter gave you too much change – change that you kept – you’re telling your child that it’s okay to essentially steal (which is what you’re doing when you don’t return the money). We must show our children that we are aware, compassionate, and concerned with being good citizens. Anything less than this could very well plant a few mean girl seeds.
Keep Them Busy (But Not Too Busy)
As one mom and I planned for her daughter’s summer consultations with me, I grew shocked as I discovered that the giant, color-coded calendar on the kitchen wall belonged solely to the girl (who is twelve-years-old). Mom has registered Daughter in every camp, club, and private tutorial session available in our community. ‘What about down time?’ I inquired. ‘Oh, we don’t believe in down time. It’s best if she’s busy. She’ll stay out of trouble that way.’ I politely disagreed, for I’ve seen too many over scheduled students in my fifteen years of education to know that when a child has too much on her plate, she grows weary, frustrated, and tends to rebel a bit more than her less active counterparts. Down-time is good; please trust me on this.