I could hear my kids arguing upstairs, so I went to see what was going on. I slowly opened the door to hear the conversation clearer. My daughter said to my son, “Daddy doesn’t love you.” I blasted open the door and said, “That is not true.”
Why would she say such a thing to her brother? What is going on in her head that would cause her to be so mean? And it isn’t just at home—she often says and does things at school that are mean, too. I see mean girls portrayed on TV and ask myself, “Is my daughter like this?” Does anyone know what to do when your daughter is a mean girl? Here are 3 actions I’ve learned to take when my daughter is being mean.
1. Tell her she’s not a mean girl.Unknowingly, we often impress a false identity on our kids by calling them names
Unknowingly, we often impress a false identity on our kids by calling them names. But we need to be careful about the false identities we place upon them. Over time, they become true. If you consistently introduce your kids to others in a certain way, they take on that identity. You see, my daughter is not a mean girl. That’s not who she is or who we want her to become. However, if we tell her that she’s a mean girl over and over, she will start to believe it and it will become part of who she is. So when my daughter does or says something mean, I make it a point to tell her this instead: “You are not a mean girl. You do not act like that.” By reinforcing her true identity, I remind her who she really is.
2. Search out the root.
A fruit tree is known by the fruit it produces. In the same sense, a fruit tree cannot produce without a proper root system. When correcting behavior, we often focus on the fruit and not the root cause of that fruit. If your daughter is being mean, there is probably a root issue you must address or her behavior will never change. The root of the issue could be as simple as being hungry or as complex as being bullied at school. You have to investigate her life and examine your own world and honestly identify the root of the problem. Creating a safe place for your daughter to express her true feelings is key to removing the label of “mean girl” from her heart.
3. Put her in someone else’s shoes.
Without demeaning her, find ways for her to see the perspective of the person she is mean to. Calmly ask her how she would feel if someone said or did to her what she says or does to others. Her response may be calloused, but don’t let that frustrate you. Over time, this exercise will build her empathy muscle. Another great way to build that empathy muscle is to find ways for her to serve others by volunteering locally or giving time to those in need. It not only meets a need for the community, but it also gives her new perspective—not to feel sorry for anyone else, but to see life through someone else’s eyes.
Is your daughter dealing with mean girls? Check out this article from iMOM: Teaching Your Daughter How to Deal with Mean Girls.
Sound off: Have you noticed mean tendencies in your daughter? What has worked well for you?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your daughter and ask, “What’s one area in which I can support you this week?”