How To Deal With Mean Girls

Nekimi  02

There is no doubt in my mind that mean girls come from mean moms  nor question about whether this plague is new because it is not.

My children and I have talked about the mean girls and mean people in their schools and I have told them about my encounters. We have had conversations about giving people the benefit of the doubt, allowing for misunderstandings and accepting that not everyone will like us nor will we like everyone.

But we have also talked about bullying and they know I have no tolerance for it. They also know that I don’t paint myself as being perfect and that I have encouraged them to try to avoid taking on my bad habits.

Examples

Several years back when I had daily contact with the mean girls collective I mentioned in the link I had it out with several mothers. Three of them decided that it would be smart to lecture me about what my role should be at the school and why my opinion didn’t matter.

What none of them expected was how easy it was for happy go lucky Jack to transition into the nasty guy who suggested that the only reason they were married was because they did good work on their backs and or had husbands of questionable judgement and intelligence.

Rumor had it that I made at least two of them cry, but that is just a rumor. However I can confirm that I saw the quivering lip and flushed expressions so maybe I sent them over the edge.

Part of me felt badly because I stooped to their level and part of me cheered because they never expected someone would have the audacity to tell them to shut up.

Confession: I didn’t say shut up. I told them that their was no equivalency between bank account and level of intelligence and that I expected them to walk away and leave me alone.

When one of them suggested they might ask their husband to help adjust my attitude I told her I was unconcerned about a man who had been gelded by his wife and inquired as to whether his balls were in her purse.

And then I told them all it was time to go buy batteries for their favorite toys so that they could improve their emotional states with something other than a bottle of cheap wine.

I would prefer my children not get involved in that kind of silly nonsense, do as I say and not as I do.

Lessons Learned

Second confession: I gave them ample opportunity to end the conversation before it got ugly. I told them it was ok to disagree and that we didn’t see it the same way.

When they insisted on talking I suggested that they walk away because I didn’t see how it wouldn’t get ugly and then they told me it was my problem if I couldn’t be civil.

I said I didn’t think it was a problem and that I didn’t mind if we disagreed and when they continued I shrugged my shoulders and said ok.

If there is a downside it is that my daughter didn’t get invited to a couple of birthday parties and all the other kids were. However she didn’t like those girls and didn’t care much.

Still she noticed that she was the only one who wasn’t invited. For a short while I was concerned that she felt excluded but ultimately she didn’t.

So what can we say we learned from this?

There are benefits that come from standing up to bullies. My encounter led to an overhaul of how things were done at the school and many parents thanked me for my work.

But we had to deal with these mothers for a couple years afterwards and they never forgot and when they could make things harder they tried to.

My kids didn’t see the argument but they heard bits and pieces through the grapevine. What I hope they took was the understanding that it is ok to disagree with people and that you should try to be civil about it and that you shouldn’t be afraid to be your own advocate.

I won’t say it was my finest hour, but someone had to tell the mean girls that they had crossed the line.

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11 Comments

  1. jamie February 2, 2014 at 9:00 am

    What happens (to me) when looking back at those situations — situations that I kind of wish I held my tongue but ultimately believe in what I said — I was reacting at a visceral level to incidents that have multiplied over a life time. We all hated the mean girls in school. We all wish we had had the courage back then to put them in their place.

    So it comes out now. I’m with you. I get it, But the problem is the mean girls even decades later will most probably never get it.

    A pox on them.

    And like your new digs.

    • Jack February 2, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      a visceral level

      Yes and yes. They brought it out of me too. Sometimes I wonder if those people ever wake up and recognize how awful they are/were.

  2. Pingback: Mean girls come from mean grandmas

  3. Gina February 2, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Apples never fall far…

    I’m also a huge proponent of agree to disagree and then be okay about it as a suitable means to leave things. I don’t want everybody to be just like me or me like them. That would be boring. Bullying, by anyone at any age, is something that makes my blood boil each and every time. Always will. I thought it would stop when my kids grew up but I found myself last week on the other end of a bully’s wrath (a friend of mine) and I didn’t sink to her level but my response to her left some people uncomfortable and the room quiet for a few minutes. I’d had enough. Plus I don’t like to be called out by people for things that are none of their business. Ooooh! I guess I felt like ranting here. Good post. If you said some of those things to me, I probably would have laughed and the situation would be defused.

    • Jack February 2, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Life would be very boring if we were all clones of each other. I have never understood why some people are so small they can’t accept others disagreeing with them.

      And bullying, well we are on the same page. I don’t stand for it.

      Sorry you had to put up with someone being an ass, sometimes people suck.

  4. Joe February 1, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I can’t imagine that trying to lecture you would ever be good idea.

    • Jack February 2, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      I don’t do well with lectures. If you are friendly I’ll engage in a conversation but a lecture is a good way to encourage me to give you the kind of response you probably don’t want.

  5. Natalie DeYoung February 1, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    *Cringe* I was wincing at some of those zingers. Mean girls are the ones that usually make me cry, but at least it taught me to not give two shits about their opinions…

  6. Aisha February 1, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Mean girls come from mean moms… I think you’re right. They say in Egypt something like, “Turn a woman upside down, and out falls her daughter!”

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