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How can I help protect my daughter from mean girls?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Awareness is the first step to stopping mean-girl cruelty against your daughter, and turning this troubling trend around. Simply put: you must get educated about the Mean Girl Scene, what it looks like by age and stage, and the most common types of relational aggression. Relational aggression begins in earnest around third and fourth grade and is at its peak around those middle school years. The latest research shows that girls, as young as four, are bullying, threatening, and shunning out other girls from playgroups.

Knowing the signs of mean-girl cruelty is the next step. The signs of relational aggression are often tougher for parents and teachers to spot than traditional bullying. One reason is because there are usually no physical scrapes, bruises, torn clothing, or lost items that are typical with physical or sexual-type bullying. And then there’s another reason: your daughter may not tell you that she is a victim of the mean girl set which is exactly why you must learn the warnings.

The final step is for parents and educators to squelch this mean girl scene. Yes, cliques have always existed. And you’re right, girls have always been a bit catty (hmmm), but this goes way beyond cattiness: this is cold-blooded cruelty. Don’t expect overnight success, and do try different approaches. The goal is to raise strong, confident, and respectful young women. So open up the dialogue: Talk to your daughter. Get on board with other moms. Hold discussions at your school. Bring in speakers. Do what it takes, but start talking about the mean girl scene.

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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.