It is nothing new that kids behave badly towards each other. With technology, it makes it easier, faster, and more widespread. Just one click can ruin lives and with the ease of use, kids do not realize what they are doing and can’t take it back.
Psychologists refer to this as “relational aggression”.
This type of destructive behavior can begin as early as preschool but tends to be most pronounced in early adolescence. Girls begin separating from the family to “join a new tribe.” This tribe will be everything to them. Once in, their survival depends on bonding with the other girls and they are afraid to be cast out. Fear forces girls to act in a way to be accepted by their peers, including being mean to others or watching as others are.
Not all girls are nasty and not all belong to cliques. But whether in or out, all girls will be affected by actions of cliques because behaviors are all around them.
Licensed professional counselor, Aimee Campbell has ways to deal with mean girls.
What Can Parents Do:
- Teach kids conscious development.
- Teach them how to not make the same mistakes twice.
- Help girls construct plans for use next time she has those feelings or thoughts, so you can change behavioral patterns.
- Teach the importance of kindness and empathy.
- Teach children to be “upstanders, distractors, and supporters.” (Linda Slade research officer at Santa Maria College in Western Australia.
- Parents must recognize what they say and how they treat other adults and children has an enormous influence on how their own children behave. Be a good role model. Be a good friend.
- It is not just other children who behave this way, it can be your child too. Your daughter may begin drifting away and will not volunteer information. Most parents are shocked to hear it was their kid that was mean.
- Stay engaged with your child. Ask your daughter her opinion about cliques rather than her personal experience with them. Once she opens up she may share her experience more freely.
- Avoid the temptation to fix the problem. Instead, describe the behavior you respect. Work with her as she comes up with a plan that describes what she wants to happen differently and how to make that happen.
- Keep an eye on social media and cell phone activity.
- Parents need to band together.
Friendships can be tricky, but girls can learn to navigate them.
A CAMPBELL COUNSELING
AIMEE CAMPBELL, LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR
3014 SW 26th Suite 4000