Mean girls. The term is part of our lexicon these days, thanks in part to the movie that made the phrase super popular. While I don’t like the term “mean girl,” all signs point to this still being an issue, despite the messages of inclusivity and kindness that we hear culturally. So many tween and teen girls (and younger!) have experienced the cruel comments, mean looks, and gossip from other girls in their class. Which begs a really important question: How do we make sure our daughters are not mean girls?
If you’ve been raising your child to have virtue and good manners in your home, then learning to be a kind friend or classmate is second nature. Because kindness and inclusivity starts at home.
Think about it: If we allow our children to be cruel to their siblings, if snide remarks and backtalk go unchecked, we shouldn’t be surprised if our children treat others that way. If rudeness and entitlement has become a habit inside the home, it will definitely show up outside the home.
But it’s also important to teach and talk to our girls about what it looks like to be kind and inclusive when it comes to school and friends. That’s one of the most popular parts of our Teen Manners Course for girls — because it shows girls not only what to look for in a friend, but also how to treat friends well.
P.S. For the month of July, we are offering 30% off on this popular course — an on-demand video course with two hours of confidence-building content and gracious tips is the perfect thing to have girls watch before they start school! Sign up here and use code TAKE30 at checkout.
This is the thing: Just because teens and tweens may act like they don’t want to listen to us doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still be talking about these important topics. And one of the most urgent topics in our divided society right now is treating others with respect and kindness!
Below we’ve shared some conversation starters that you can discuss with your girls to make sure they know how to be kind and gracious in school, on a team, and beyond. The things below take character, which we all want to encourage in our children!
Character Traits of Kind Girls:
They hold their tongues.
Like Bambi’s mother instructed, if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say it all. That includes judgmental remarks as well as sending unkind texts and DMs. And I’m sure this goes without saying, but we should never comment rudely on someone’s differences — including disabilities, appearances, religious beliefs, income levels, and personal/family decisions.
The comments below might seem like harmless observations or comments, but they are not. One cruel comment can stay with a young girl for years.
“Your _____ looks funny.”
“I can’t believe you ______.”
“Why are you so shy?”
“You’ve never been to _____. Wow.”
“My family would never _____.”
“Eating foods like that will give you cancer/make you fat/etc..”
Kind girls use their words to uplift and encourage others, rather than the other way around. (And they compliment sincerely, and not in an effort to receive a compliment in return.)
They practice inclusivity.
This doesn’t mean she has to invite everyone to her birthday party. Inclusivity is an attitude and something we should actively encourage. Traits of inclusive girls:
When someone walks up and wants to sit at their table, they always say yes.
When someone walks up to their group of friends, they open up the circle and invite the person into the conversation. (Tip: Our course shows girls HOW to seamlessly navigate these sometimes awkward situations!)
They never crop someone out of a group photo on social media.
They don’t talk about parties and sleepovers in front of people who weren’t invited.
They make conversation with new students.
They look people in the eye.
This may sound like a minor thing, but looking at someone in the eye is a sign of respect. If your tween or teen is looking at their phone, or looking for someone better to talk to, that can make the other person feel incredibly small. And kind girls should lift others up. Looking someone in the eye is also part of a solid friendship. So much about friendship is listening, one of the things we talk about in our course.
They don’t blatantly ignore people.
Making someone feel invisible is one of the cruelest things someone can do. Kind girls treat others with respect. They value people and their actions reflect that.
They acknowledge someone’s presence when they walk up or walk into a room.
They don’t say things like, “Oh I forgot you were here,” when that person has been standing there the whole time.
They don’t move desks or lunch seats because they don’t like the person who sat down next to them.
I hope these provide helpful conversation starters with your girls before school starts. Remember, “mean girls” are often mean because they have low self-esteem. They bring others down to prop themselves up. One way we can help our girls not to do this is to build up their confidence and encourage kindness. And our on demand course for teen and tween girls helps do just that!
From friendship to social media, communicating graciously, table manners, and more, our hope is to instill confidence in and empower young girls to be the best versions of themselves.
Be sure to sign your daughter up for our Etiquette Essentials course today with code DSG30 and watch before school starts! Girls get two hours of on-demand content, bonus downloads and moms receive lots of tips for raising gracious, confident and kind young women!