Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mean girls

So, it turns out my daughters, the sweet looking ones shown here:

Are mean.

I am horrified.

Evidence for the court:
1. Older daughter was scolded at daycare because she would not allow one of the little girls to participate, because she didn't have "yellow hair" like the rest of the girls.

2. Younger daughter trots over to me with a new little 3 year old friend in tow, as I have tea with the girl's mother.
"Mom, can I have a piece of paper?"
"Sure, why?"
"Because I want to make a sign for the door of my room that says SHE (fingers pointed at sweet 3 year old friend) has to stay out."

3. I am approached by a little girl we know well after the younger daughter's dance class, who says my daughter told her that she doesn't want to be her friend anymore. My daughter is sporting a wicked grin, even while I am forcing her to apologize.

What the heck?!?!? I don't know what to do. At our home we are constantly stressing that everyone needs to be included and welcomed (there is always an odd man out with 3 kids!), and we always talk about kindness, manners, respect and people's feelings. In each of these instances we had a full discussion with the girls, made them apologize, etc, etc. But yet new incidences keep popping up. I would never have expected it from them, they have always been such sweet, sensitive girls.

Any motherly advice would be welcomed....before my girls further terrorize the neighborhood!


Elizabeth Dackson said...

Yikes! If I had some advice, I would definitely pass it on, but I'd wager a guess that it's maybe a phase they're going through at the moment... Good luck!

Grandpa E said...

Time to turn the tables on them one at a time. Perhaps little girls who wear orange/pink doesn't get her favourite desert today. A dose of exclusion may show them that it is unacceptable behavior to hurt other children's feelings. They have to recognize and feel how unfair they have been treated so the can relate to what they have been doing to others. Think of it as a hard time out with counselling only after the lesson sinks in.

Peggi said...

Mom of 2 boys here, 10 and 16. I have discovered that kids learn by rote. You have to tell them over and over and over and over and over... it gets exhausting but they eventually DO get it!

Another thing I did was reward good behavior, and I REALLY think you should try this. We printed up some fake dollars (found in clipart on my computer) and made up a list of things they could buy. Video game time was $2 for 15 minutes; I had a box of treats they could purchase; if they saved up enough, they could "purchase" a special father-and-son trip to the sushi bar (mom doesn't do sushi). Get creative - you know what your kids like. When we saw our boys doing something nice for someone, we would hand them one of the fake dollars and tell them why. It has to be spontaneous - if you tell them to do it, that doesn't count. This puts the focus on GOOD behaviors. You might have to start with small things first, such as simply not annoying a sibling while watching tv. But they catch on quick and you will see improvement within days.

Peggi said...

p.s. If you catch them fighting, completely ignore the child who started it and make a HUGE fuss over the wronged child. Hugs, kisses, band-aids and Popsicles, whatever you do. Turn your back on the naughty child and COMPLETELY ignore her. She is not there. After a bit, when the fuss has died down and the wronged child has moved on, THEN go punish the naughty child.

Jamie @Terrabyte Farm said...

First of all this type of behavior is TOTALLY NORMAL. However, normal or not, it is NOT acceptable. I would do some pretend play with them where you act out both the mean girl part and the part of the victim. Vocalize the thoughts and feelings of both characters while you are playing. Lather. Rinse. Repeat ;)

Good luck

Alisa said...

I'll never forget the day my young daughter and I had to go around the neighborhood and take back the birthday invites that were just given out. She was told that either everyone comes to the party or else there wouldn't be one. Well, she decided not to invite everyone to the exclusion of just one little girl. We collected the invites and it was a really difficult lesson to learn. She did learn however but I really think they understand this kind of meanness when it happens to them and it will happen much to the heartbreak of their mothers. Life lessons are really difficult. The fact that you even notice and care makes me think that your little ones will be just fine.

Unknown said...

oh buddy, I'm sorry. I think the trickiest thing about parenting is that you never know what's coming next (and that whatever you keep hoping that they won't do, they DO!).
no advice from me... let us know what you figure out! :)

SewHappyGeek said...

I really like the money idea, and role play is good too. What I did with my tween: I was, as mentioned above, VERY positive with good behaviour, even if it was really little, like putting ONE toy away, I always said (and still say) thank you. I told her she was a good girl all the time, and if she asked why I thought so, I told her good stuff: smart, funny, kind, etc.
When I caught her being mean, I sat her down and forced her to think thru what the other kid felt, then reminded her of specific times when SHE was excluded and how bad that felt. Eventually it kicked in, I think, although now it's gossip that drives me nuts.
But it's normal, all kids do it, but you are already on the right track by addressing it head on. You'll be fine!