THE EPIDEMIC OF MEAN MOMS
With our country currently being led by a cruel and heartless leader, we can only hope to find goodness and kindness within our own communities, personal lives and relationships.
However, it seems that the mentality of me, me, me has spilled over into our younger generations.
Bullying isn’t anything new but it does present itself in passive aggressive ways. It is not always obvious or in your face. A lot of mean girl stuff happens on the sly. Bullying can be wrapped in a pretty package and handed to you on a silver platter but do not be fooled…it is still bullying, although it might be hard for everybody to see it.
I have heard many stories from many of you.
“My daughter wasn’t invited to a birthday party.”
“My son was told there were only 4 tickets to a game so my son was excluded while his other 3 friends were invited”
“They all went to the movies and my child saw it on social media because nobody included them!”
My daughters are 9 and 12, old enough to know better but young enough that I still have to guide them and pay close attention to what they do. I often forget that although my kids know right from wrong, sadly many children do not.
As parents, we might think that adults will intervene at appropriate times and say, “Hey, your actions might be hurtful to someone, so let’s not do that!”
I am keenly aware when I am with my daughters if somebody is missing from a group activity and will ask, “Hey, where is so and so?” If I notice a pattern, I would feel compelled to question the other mom with “Hey, I noticed your daughter hasn’t been here the last few times the girls got together. Is something going on that I should be aware of? Is there mean girl stuff going on? Is your child being left out?”
As parents, it is OUR responsibility to make sure our children’s decisions don’t impact other child negatively.
I have instilled these kinds of values in my girls since they started interacting with other children. I have taught them to be kind and inclusive to ALL children. I have warned them if I ever hear about them excluding ANY child from a group activity, they will be the one to return home and leave the group. I always taught them that they do not have the right to tell another child, “No!”
I’ve asked them, “How would you feel if you were on the beach and saw a bunch of girls your age playing and you went over and they snubbed you?” Since you know how they would feel, act as if and if you don’t, you will reap the consequences of your mean girl behavior.
I have no tolerance for pettiness, gossip, drama or anything mean spirited.
I have never given the girls a limit of children they can include for any occasion as it is setting up a situation to hurt and leave others out.
When my children were younger, they would ask, “How many friends can we have?” when making a list for a party. My answer was always, “Include anybody whose party you would expect to be invited to.”
I would never expect my children to pick and choose leaving out children whose friendships they value.
My kids no longer ask how many people they can invite and instead say, “I am inviting these 12 girls so I don’t leave anybody out.”
It is a parent’s job to teach children how to positively navigate social relationships.
What many parents have painfully learned is not only do other parents not correct or acknowledge their children’s hurtful behavior but at times they tend to orchestrate it.
There is something called social engineering and it’s happening way too frequently. There are many helicopter moms, as we know, who orchestrate their children’s social lives. They knowingly leave children out and are genuinely confused when confronted on it. “I’m shocked. I didn’t think it was a big deal. It was just a few kids.” They are totally unconcerned with how their actions affect other children.
Well guess what? MANY OF us are not. We are woke and paying attention to what is going on with ALL children that includes our children and yours.
I recently heard a story about a little girl who wasn’t invited to her classmates birthday party, even though they were neighbors.
One of you wrote in about a group of parents who planned a ski trip together but one mother made a group ski lesson for 8 out of 9 boys on the trip and said, “ Oh I am so sorry, they could only accommodate 8 children!”
Ummm, note to this mother if she is reading it…you should NOT have made the fuckin lesson, you should have found another activity.
Umm note, to the other 7 moms who let their sons go while one child was left behind…how in the hell did you not say, “I am sorry you are not going, you will stay behind and play with so and so as he will not be left home alone!”
Although many people want to blame the children for this type of exclusionary behavior, I place the blame on the parents. It is their job to guide and teach their children kindness, empathy and compassion.
I will not only stand up for my child, I will stand up for yours too. I will not permit my child to be an accomplice in hurting another child. I am not desperate for my child to be included especially at the expense of another child’s feelings. So many moms are afraid and say, “Well I don’t want my kid to be left out” but in the interim are enabling that exact scenario to be another child’s reality.
Nope, not on my watch…not ever.
Your kids are a reflection of you. A few years back one of my daughters came home from school and said, “Everybody is going to so and so’s house Friday night…except one girl was not included.” Without missing a beat, she said, “So I am not going to go either, I will invite her to our house because I would hope somebody would do that for me!”
Kids are super impressionable and fickle. Things can change very quickly. We need to teach our children not to turn their backs on others. Not only is it unkind but the day will come when they will experience this very painful treatment from children they believed were their friends.
Parents make no mistake about it, it is your job to pay attention, ask questions and to encourage your children to treat EVERYBODY with kindness. In addition, it is our job as parents to protect all children, not just our own.
Mean girls are an epidemic and often come from homes where they are raised by insecure moms who unknowingly influence and support this kind of behavior.
So parents, if another parent tells you that your kid hurt their kids feelings, don’t make excuses…say you’re sorry and guide your child to correct their hurtful actions and behaviors moving forward.
You do NOT get to decide if they hurt their feelings or not. If you are told that they did indeed hurt their feelings and you prefer to argue why they didn’t rather than address the problem, know YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM hence why your child is one, too. It is YOUR job as a parent to address these kind of problems when they are brought to your attention.
If you raise your kids to think it is ok to just worry about themselves, you are raising the future donald trumps of the world or equally as bad, the donald trump supporters.
While we are all focusing on what is happening in the white house, we can not forget that it is equally as important to focus on what is happening in YOUR house. The world is comprised of millions of children who are our future generations and our future voters.
Raise a decent person so they can elect a decent president.
As I stated earlier, it all comes full circle.
~Alison Brettschneider (@alison)
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