How can mothers and daughters discourage mean girls together?

Mia Redrick

One of the easiest ways to discourage mean girls is to encourage a connection between the mothers.  Usually if you call the other mom directly and tell them what's going on, the two of you can find ways to redirect them and even to help them get to know each other.  Helping young girls understand the importance of embracing differences without judgment is very important because often girls are mean to each other because of these differences.  

Another way to help your daughter overcome mean girls is by teaching them conflict resolution.  If possible, you and the other girl's mother should get together with your daughters, and the four of you should work together to solve the issue.  If this is not possible, tell your daughter to go to a trusted adult at school who can referee the conflict resolution.

To begin conflict resolution, start by setting some ground rules.  Both girls must look each other in the eye.  They must listen to each other, take turns, and speak respectfully.  Together they can come up with a plan for change by clarifying the issue.  For example, one of the girls may have gotten the impression that the other girl did not like her because of something she said, but by hashing out what happened and the feelings behind what happened, these girls will learn exactly what it feels like to be each other.  This usually helps reduce the harmful behavior.

Michele Borba
A great idea about how can mothers and daughters discourage mean girls together came from the principal of Hilltop Academy in Washington. She was concerned about the sixth grade “Mean Girl Scene.” She asked a couple of the school’s key Queen Bees if they would like to start a book club with a few other girls. “Sure!” the girl said. The principal chose Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, by Rachel J. Simmons (Love it! Love it!). Once the girls started to read and discuss the book (under the guidance of a fabulous principal), they recognized their own behavior and suddenly their mean streak stopped.

Why not set up a book club with a few moms and daughters? My other favorites is Queen Bees & Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence, by Rosalind Wiseman.

The Mother-Daughter Project is a fabulous resource to get you started.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.