My daughter’s first “mean girl” experience was in Kindergarten. A girl in class brought toys and things to school and gave them to her friends but always left my daughter out. “Mommy, how come she doesn’t bring one for me?” The mama bear in me wanted to attack. It hurt my heart.
Fast forward to the 6th grade, the girl drama has advanced with age. Most women will tell you that middle school was a fierce time to be a girl. We learn to be snarky, survive other girls who are snarky, and basically skate by hoping to survive social injustice in our circle of friends. We never forget these times when our whole world fell apart. My friends didn’t talk to me for a week because I was “acting like a hoe” which in middle school meant I had too many friends that were boys. Mind you, I only saw them at school. It broke my little heart and instead of standing up for myself I was relieved they let me be their friend again.
My daughter was accused of snooping through her friend’s phone. She swears she didn’t do it, and naturally I believe her. It seems like a simple misunderstanding. Her friend forgot to close some apps but swears that she did; therefore, my daughter must have snooped in her phone. Honest simple misunderstanding, but this is 6th grade so it can’t be that simple. The circle of friends has been affected.
Some of them were “50/50” in believing her while another girl stated it was “a bitch move” and they’re no longer friends. I’ve explained that her friends probably just didn’t want to choose sides. Choosing her side means that her friend is a liar. To be honest, she’s not a liar. She just is honestly mistaken. Yet it has become this dark mark on their friendships. It’s possible that all of them have moved on and forgotten, but my girl hasn’t.
She is a quiet, shy, introvert. She likes being alone but loves her friends too. Now she is apprehensive about going to school and facing her social circle. She feels like they talk around her at lunch but don’t engage with her. Is it true? To be fair, she could be imagining that because she’s the one so affected. What I do know is that the kindest of girls can get trapped in these dramas even if they don’t intend to be. I made it to the other side of the drama, my daughter will survive too. The challenge is convincing her that this isn’t the end of the world.
I spend extra time worrying about my daughter because she’s very kind and sensitive in a cruel world. Rather than deal with issues, she’d like to hide from them. We haven’t entered the social media world yet and that will only add to my motherly worries. I can’t shield her from all harm, duh. I only aim to guide her and teach her to stand up for herself. I don’t want her to learn to hide from her troubles. I don’t want her to be easily manipulated. I want her to be resilient.
Sure, many people will think I’m overthinking things and stressing too much. Go ahead and leave that comment here if you’d like. What I do know for sure is that part of the adult she will be is shaped by these experiences. I’m her mother. I’ve endured a whole 20 years before she came into my life. It’s my job to guide her through this world and then nudge her out of the nest when she’s an adult.
We don’t know what lessons they will remember and which ones they’ll ignore. I’ll keep being there for her when she falls down. I won’t pick her up and fix her problems for her, but I’ll help her dust off, provide some of my “wisdom”, and encourage her to keep facing her problems head-on.