Girls are mean.
Elementary school girls are mean.
The social mores are hard to decode.
If you don't have a "big" sister to help you navigate the treacherous waters, you could drown.
Building confidence and self esteem are life long exercises. At 8 and 9 years old, it is difficult to even explain what that means, let alone figure out how to do it!
The innate desire to be liked is magnified in these early years. If a child doesn't have a "claim to fame", the struggle to carve out a spot in the social fabric of school is almost too much to take.
My Grace is a nice girl. She can be bratty and a bit dramatic, but for the most part she is just nice.
My Lea is completely different. Not that she isn't nice, she is just unaffected, unconcerned really, with what is considered main stream.
Grace has a group of friends. Lea is friendly with everyone but doesn't really have a "group".
Grace does NOT stand up for herself. She lets girls push her around. Literally and figuratively.
Lea is more likely to push and if you push her, you had better be able to run....fast!
I worry about Grace. I worry about Grace A LOT! I wonder about Lea. I wonder what kids think of her. I wonder if she knows OR cares what kids think of her.
I was a leader. I liked having followers. I do not have a reference point for what Grace experiences. No one EVER wrote on me, took my snack, or rallied against me. I was not bullied.
I think Grace is concerned about being popular. Lea believes that she is popular and she doesn't even care.
I am reading every book I can get my hands on about girls and their cliques. I need to arm myself with some touch-points so I can fill my daughters ammo clips. Figuratively of course.
I hear about young girls who are abused by their boyfriends. Sex-ting pictures in 7th grade. Stealing, smoking, lying.
The inability to listen to your inner voice, to respect the swirling unease in your gut, leads girls down this road.
I am hyper-vigilant. My girls know, because I tell them CONSTANTLY, that they can tell me anything. That even if it disappoints me, I will be on their side. I am their "go to" girl.
I am in the trenches right now. I am trying to guide, without being too much in the way. I am having a dialogue that lets them know what I expect from them, while asking them to have respect for what it feels like to be respected.
RESPECT....find out what it means to you.
Like a GPA, it will drop like a hot rock, and you will have to work extra hard to raise it back up...so goes your integrity and reputation. Once you let it slide....well, a lifetime could be spent trying to undo that damage.
I am a MOM on a mission. I will speak to my girls about all eventualities and I will let them know that asking for what you want, need, expect from friends; is in no way being a brat.
Please give me strength.
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