No.1 Reason Why Mean Girls Are Now Meaner and Younger Than Ever: The Parents

No.1 Reason Why Mean Girls Are Now Meaner and Younger Than Ever: The Parents

Do you (and especially, the parents) know at what age do little girls and teen girls today act mean? It isn’t what it used to be.

I’ve known a close bestie for decades, and we’re not harsh to each other. We are completely supportive: we call for guidance or simply listen to one other’s woes. We are concerned when things are not going right in the lives of others.

Were we always like this? No, not at all. But none of us can recall being blatantly nasty before high school — and my buddy has a razor-sharp memory for life events. But something had changed by the time adolescence arrived, and we were rejecting other girls from our circle and gossiping with the best of them, urging others not to vote for someone in a class election or not to invite someone to a party.

We now hear of younger girls showing similar “mean girl” actions, such as excluding, isolating, spreading rumors orally, or publishing falsehoods online. It’s upsetting to learn that even young children are purposefully causing harm to their peers and friends. To be sure, 7- and 8-year-olds may lack the social skills and maturity to comprehend how their actions affect others or how to behave differently. This is when parents come into play.

Related: 9 Signs Of A Toxic Family And Solutions For Healing

Encouragement from parents makes a difference

The University of Vermont’s Jamie Abaied and Sarah Stanger studied the impact of parental involvement on the social adjustment of females. Their study, “Socialization of coping in a predominantly female sample of caregivers: Contributions to children’s social adjustment in middle childhood,” published in the Journal of Family Psychology, looked at how parents taught coping skills to 8-to-10-year-old girls and then followed up six months later to assess their social development.
The girls and their parents were recorded as they attempted a tough and tedious tracing job. Parental support was assessed in terms of responsiveness, warmth, and attention to their child’s work. Girls whose parents provided positive reinforcement centered on problem-solving or tenacity fared better socially:

  • “Take your time and try again.”
  • “Take a deep breath to settle down.”
  • “This is fantastic preparation for the next time you have to do a really difficult task.”

Then, they had fewer social issues and more meaningful friendships.

parents

When parents disconnected from their daughters or urged them to quit, the girls were less able to cope with social problems:

  • “Do you want to stop?”
  • “You are not required to complete if you do not like to.”

Parents who engaged in pleasant activities with their children were more likely to produce daughters who could handle the stress and problems that girls experience.

Related: Here Is The Most Harmful Question Parents Always Ask Their Kids

It’s no longer only a teen issue

Bullying, also known as relational or social violence, begins in third grade when some of the girls in the University of Vermont study are. Parents frequently believe that their children must just deal with whatever pressures, insults, and social stigmas they face. “I went over the rocky road of barbs and being left out, and so will my child,” the reasoning goes.

However, such parents were most likely adolescents at the time, and so could manage such situations with greater maturity or perspective. Hurley points out that this is no longer simply an adolescent issue, with younger girls suffering bullying in person and on social media. “What happens in elementary school has a direct impact on what happens in tween and adolescent years,” she adds.

Girls begin with a low sense of self-esteem: According to the 2016 Girls’ Attitude Study, 69% of girls aged 7 to 21 believe they are “not good enough.” Many younger people have already experienced the agony of isolation and quick reputation loss as a result of social media platforms.

The same survey, conducted in 2017, showed that half of 7-to-10-year-olds were concerned about being bullied online. According to a University of Oxford research on boys and girls’ technology use, our fear about our daughters being bullied appears to be well-founded: Girls aged 8 to 18 spend more time socializing on their smartphones than boys, who spend more time playing video games.

What Can Parents Do?

A parent’s role is to encourage and teach young girls how to be good friends, as well as to offer the social skills they require to move on after being bullied or excluded. As the Vermont research and several other studies have shown, parents may make a significant impact.

They can assist young females in getting ahead of the impending anxiety that will undermine their self-esteem and suffocate their desire. “Our girls have the chance to stop ‘mean girl culture’ and transform the narrative of girlhood for the better,” Hurley thinks, “but they need us to assist them along the way.”

Hurley suggests that defining the terms gossip, teasing, taunting, public humiliation, exclusion, cliques, and cyberbullying is an excellent place to start. The parents should do this even if their children do not have screen time or their own phones.

As much as parents would like to believe — and some do — that they avoid the issue because they don’t want their girls to be concerned, the fact is that your daughter is undoubtedly concerned about nasty conduct because she sees it all around her, if not to her directly.

Hurley offers the following resources to assist you to lead your kid through the rocky terrain of childhood and adolescence:

  • Take the time to connect with your daughter, regardless of her age.
  • When she speaks, pay attention – really pay attention.
  • Discuss and keep track of her social media activity log.
  • Teach her all you’ve learned about friendship.
  • Demonstrate the power of friendship and unfailing support.
  • Help her get through the ups and downs of life.
  • Encourage her to collaborate with friends.
  • Explain how to consider a friend’s point of view during a quarrel.
  • Show her how to accept her position in a disagreement with her peers.

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