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4.06.2007

Mean Girls

Is it frowned upon to slap your neighbor's daughter? Because I swear I almost did tonight.

Let's work backwards.

Savannah had been cooped up in this house for the last three days with her allergies/strep/cold thing. By last night I'm pretty sure we had broken the record for the most consecutively played games of Connect Four, so today we were both aching to get out of the house.

We ended up going to see Meet the Robinsons and when we returned Chris casually mentioned that two hours earlier our neighbor Susan had invited Savannah to come over to her house and play with her daughter - THE Lindsey - and two other neighbor girls.

Lately, we've been letting Lindsey come over every so often to "secret agent babysit", which mainly consists of her eating all my 100 calorie snack pack Doritos while glued to my TV, just so Savannah can have a few precious hours with this girl she adores.

And adore her she does.

Which made the ensuing actions all the more heartwrenching.

So, Savannah catches wind of this missed invite and while it was now nearly six at night, I felt for her lonely little form sitting on the front lawn. So I told her to go ahead and call Susan and ask if it was too late to come over.

She did. And I overheard Susan say "Sure! I'll have Lindsey come get you".

Do you know what my daughter did? She could barely contain her joy. She rushed upstairs and changed into her new skirt and shirt. Then she came rushing down with hair accessories and asked me to do her hair before the girls came by to get her.

And then she waited.

And waited.

All the while I'm assuring her that I'm sure they're on their way over.

And then do you know what happens? They go running by our house, holding hands and giggling. And shushing each other when they see our front door is open. As if to say "don't let her hear us because then she'll want to play".

And we saw it all from the front window.

And my heart broke.

"Mommy", she cried, "Why are they running away?"

I quickly said "Oh, I'm sure they're in a hurry to get to the other neighbor's house for dinner. They just need to change out of their bathing suits. They're...uh..."

Her lip shook. "Do they not want to play with me?"

"Of course they do!" And my hands shook. With rage.

I realized I was going to have to play the bad guy.

"You know what, honey? I'm sure they're running because it's getting dark. And I'm sure they're about to call you. But, you know what? I'm going to have to call Susan and tell her you're not going to be able to come after all because it's gotten too late."

And of course she crumples on the floor sobbing with disappointment. So, while Chris soothed her I took the phone upstairs.

And I laid into our neighbor. I was sure to let her know that it wasn't her fault, but I made damn sure she knew how devastated Savannah was over her snotty little girl's cruelty. I was absolutely shaking with fury. Even her apologies didn't calm me down and I had to hang up on her.

So, when the doorbell rang an hour later and the mean girls were on my doorstep with a letter covered in rainbows and hearts and a big "We're sorry" I could only muster "Yeah, right" as I took it and shut the door in their faces.

The saddest part is I know mean girls are a fact of life. I know this won't be the last time Savannah is crushed by another girl's actions. But, the thing is, she didn't know that yesterday. And today she does.

So, how do you handle these situations? Because I'm guessing a Slam Book passed around the neighborhood is out of the question.

36 comments:

Tessa said...

Oh Hon, I know how you feel. Wait till she comes home from 1st grade crying because "So and so isn't her friend anymore because she wanted to play with someone else and not me." or She comes home crying because the lil boy she likes doesn't want anything to do with her or worse played with her yesterday and today told her she was annoying...

It breaks the heart and all you can REALLY do is hold her while she cries and tell her how wonderful she is an how much you love her. (I went through all this this year with my son. God... so not fun.)

Brillig said...

Stupid mean girls. I've only had to deal with this once so far, and the most infuriating part was that the girl's mother was sitting right there while the girl taunted my daughter, just allowing it to happen. When I learned what was going on, I made a comment to the girl that she needed to be nice. The mom looked up at me and just shrugged. Apparently "nice" wasn't important to them... We don't play with them anymore.

My daughter was so sweet about it. Maybe she didn't get how mean the girl was being. I've since sat her down and told her that she doesn't need to allow ANYONE to talk to her like that. I think that helps a lot--empowering her, teaching her to stand up for herself. Beyond that, though, I have no idea how to handle this sort of thing.

Lena said...

Seriously you guys, I am so not prepared for this!

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

Jesus.
I'm so sorry.

I think you handled it like a pro though. What a mom!

You thought fast and protected your little girl without sheltering her from it all. Unfortunately, she will learn about mean girls but with an understanding force behind her, she will be okay.

You did great!

Antique Mommy said...

I think I might have held her and explained to her that sometimes people behave this way (because they do) and it's really hurtful and we want to always make sure that we don't ever treat people that way because we don't want to be like that. And the good thing that might come from this is that it will ratchet Lindsey down a notch or two in Savannah's view.

The idea is not to protect Savannah from this kind of hurt, because it's inevitable, but to start the process of learning empathy for others from having been hurt.

I know. It's a lot to ask of a little girl. And her mother. Especially when you want to beat the snot out of them.

Kris H. said...

I am SO SORRY! That completely SUCKS!!! I have to say mean kids are the hardest thing I have had to deal with so far, and it is made all the harder by the fact that Daughter is very sensitive and easily hurt.

If it makes you feel better, I think you handled it perfectly. You are an awesome mom!!

And if you want, we can form a posse and go after those mean girls...ya think?

Jennifer said...

Good for you! I love that you slammed the door in their face.

This is not something I look forward to. Children really can be so mean.

Bunny said...

My heart aches over this. I wasn't good at dealing with the Mean Girls back when I was a kid, how can I help my daughter handle them better?

chris said...

Oh man my heart broke for her. That is so sad.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Oh man, I'm tearing up over here just thinking about your little girl and her broken heart.

Mean girls suck. Big time.

Kelly said...

Yep, girls are the worst. My youngest is 13 and in 8th grade, the most petty and bitchy age of all for girls. She is one of the popular girls in school, and I ride her absolute ass on NOT being a Mean Girl. I've explained that she has a "responsibility" to be nicer than normal if other people look up to her. (I can't guarantee that it always works, but I can assure you that if I find out about her being mean, her head will ROLL. So far so good, many people relay that she is kind to everyone - that's why they like her.)

My advice? Homeschool her or lock in the house during the 8th and 9th grade years when girls are really mean. It's amazing how many parents don't seem to care about ensuring their own child's kindness qualities.

lisa said...

OOH, your poor girl. I'm so glad she has you as a mom, as you handled it like a PRO! I got teary reading your post, thinking about my 4 year old, who recently had the same thing happen, except it's a blood relative causing the pain.

My sister-in-law is the offspring of Satan. She's RUDE, EVIL, ARROGANT, and she's a horrid mother, plus more. Oh, the things I could tell you. Let's leave it as my hubby and I tried to remove her child from her 2 summers ago, because her then-15 m old couldn't eat, didn't know how to chew, was malnourished to the point that family from other states were getting scared for baby B.

She has never done a thing to celebrate for her child. No Christmas, no birthday, nothing, and baby B just turned 3 in Feb. It's not a religious choice, it's a lazy ass. My hubby and I have tried to plan things for baby B, but always always her mother ruins it. We planned a bday party for her last year, to which the mother showed up 6 hours late. All the guests had left by then, of course. This year, we had decided to have baby B come spend the weekend with us, so she could be with my 4 yr old daughter A, and they could have a weekend to play. I should mention that A ADORES baby B, and LIVES for the moments she gets to see her.

We asked Satan-spawn to show up by 8 pm, as A had basketball practice at 9am the next morning, and we didn't want her staying up late. Satan-spawn showed up at 9:30, and then had the BALLS to get in my face and tell me she didn't have to respect me in MY home because we are the same age; if anything I should respect HER more because she was a single mom, blah blah. OOh, just thinking about that night makes me want to smash something.

But the long story short, she sat and screamed at me in front of my child (and hers), calling me names, until I PHYSICALLY had to throw her out of my home, and of course she took baby B with her. My poor baby laid on the floor and cried like she had just lost her best friend, the whole time asking WHY MOMMY, WHY DID SHE DO THAT? WHY DID SHE TAKE BABY B AGAIN? I MISS HER SO MUCH... If you knew my baby, you'd know how huge her heart is, and that this devastated her, on so many levels. Satan-spawn is no longer welcome at my house - I'd rather have A miss her cousin at a distance, than to ever have her see that kind of BULLSHYT scene again.

So to you, Lena, I say you did the right thing. You stood up for your baby, and even when the little bas*ards came to be 'nice' you shut em down. YOU GO GIRL, because way too soon, you aren't gonna see all the mean girl action, and your baby needs to know that it's OK to stand up for herself, and more importantly, that she can talk to you about it!

and damn. i sure 'talk' a lot.

Spree said...

My heart broke for the both of you as I read this. It sucks and it doesn't get any better as they get older.

This has happens to my dd all the time, she's 8. I don't get it at all. She is known in her class, brownies, etc as the nicest, sweetest girl yet the girls around her don't want to be bothered with her. They'll gloat about bday parties, parties my dd isn't invited to.

Sadly, dd has come up w/ the concept that all girls who have blonde or dirty blonde hair are going to grow up to be mean and rude teen girls. It is best that she avoid them at all cost. Can I tell you how shocked I was to hear that?! I've told her numerous times that mean girls come in all hair color, that blondes and dirty blondes don't hold that title. She doesn't believe me.

I don't understand why the mothers, who seem like really nice women, allow their daughters to get away w/ this awful behavior. It really chaps my hide I tell ya.

Shauna said...

I'm so impressed with the way you handled it! I know this I'll have to deal with this when the kids are older and hope I deal with it as well as you did.

And I think it's good that you slammed the door in the kids' faces. They need to know that a meek apology doesn't always cut it!!

Cheryll said...

Oh this is so terrible! I hate other peoples kids. My daughter had a smiimlar thing happen where the other kids are school would not play with her if they did not like the color of her shirt that day. I did not notice until she said, I cant wear that, Alexis doesnt like it and she wont play with me, as you can expect I was BENT. I called her teacher and we had a chat. Since then its been better but I am scared for the older years since she is only 5.

Anonymous said...

That is so sad. I'm so not looking forward to this. At all. Mine's only 4 but there have been a couple instances where she's been snubbed by big girls at the park or whatever, but I don't think she's caught on. It'll break my heart when she finally does.

Geege said...

Oh my god, I'm angry FOR you and Savannah! When I read this I could just feel myself slapping Lindsey. I know some people will say that you should tell Savannah what happened and burst her little bubble where Lindsey is concerned, but in this instance, I think you did the right thing. She will learn soon enough just how mean people can be. Let her be a little kid for awhile.

Kristin said...

When Jake was in Kindergarten, a little boy got up and moved when he (Jake) sat down to have lunch... it's been 5 years and I still hate that kid... and you know what? He is the class asshole. It wasn't because he was 5, or ignorant, or busy, it was because he was a little prick and, at 10, he still is.

You did a great job protecting Savannah and I hope Lindsey's mother gave her the what-for when she got home... you'll have to keep us posted.

& I also agree with Antique Mommy... sometimes it is best to just to call a bitch a bitch.

Serenity Now! said...

Oh that made me angry just reading that. Oh you had some restraint, much more than I could have. I probably would have told my daughter that they were just crack ho's running to meet up with their pimp. But that would be wrong.

Right?

Butrfly4404 said...

The best thing you can do, IMO, is teach her that regardless of what other people say and do, she is special. It's very hard and I couldn't even begin to tell you how, but sh*t like that will be happening her whole life...especially in middle school. My poor sister has been friends with the Bitchy Girls since elementary. Every day someone had to be hated...it was usually my little sis. She'd come home bawling because "everyone hates me".

Self-confidence is going to be her best weapon.

Allison said...

No mom is EVER prepared for this. I think every mom will be traumatized by the first time their daughter is hurt by her friends.

My mom still holds a grudge against my one of my friends who in second grade left a nasty message on our answering machine telling me I was ugly. PS, I'm 23. Her mom swears it wasn't her, but she'd left multiple normal messages on our machine and my mom recognized her voice.

I'm not a mom, but in my humble and uninformed opinion just comforting her is enough for now. To me, explaining too much can make her uneasy about letting people in.

I'm mad for her and I don't even know her! Mean girls are out of control!!

Mrs. M said...

ok so lindsey is an older girl and a babysitter, right? susan is savannah's age and a friend, right? and lindsey allowed this to happen? if i'm understand that right, i'd happily let another girl eat my 100calorie packs....put snarky ass lindsey in her place.

Shelby said...

I think you did an amazing job with this situation. I hope that I can be so fast-thinking and strong if/when the same thing happens with my daughter down the line. But here's my experience with Mean Girls...

When I was in elementary school - about 4th grade, I think - the 'Popular Clique', of which I was a part, started to single me out and torment me. They were Mean, with a capital M. This was the start of girls calling me fat (which I was not), and I will never forget it. HOWEVER, what I also will never forget? Is how, even at that tender age, I got fed up with it. So fed up, that I shunned that 'Popular Clique' and started sitting with the so-called 'Scummy Kids' at lunchtime and playing with them at recess. And you know what? They were nice, and polite, and fun to play with! I did that for the rest of that school year, and even to this day it gives me something to be proud of. That even at the age of 9 I had the guts and the self-worth to know that I did not need to be treated that way, and to seek out other friends.

We can only hope that we instill enough confidence in our girls that they can have similar experiences in the face of the Mean Girls, that they can look back on even from their 30's and say, "Man, I was a kick ass kid!"

wordgirl said...

When boys are mean it's always in an overt way that is easy to address. They hit you or call you a name and a line is drawn in the sand that establishes you and the other person as enemies. It's all out in the open. Girls are psychological warriors. Masters of the passive-aggressive. They prey on insecurities while they take what they want from their victim. A girl will ask you to loan her the bracelet your dead grandmother gave you and if you hesitate, she'll say: "Well...if you were really a generous person you would let me wear it." And they she would walk away. Meanwhile you argue with yourself because you know yourself to be a generous person, but you also treasure the bracelet too much to just loan it out like that. You lose no matter which decision you make and the resulting damage to your self-esteem and your ability to make judgements without questioning yourself over and over has just receieved the equivalent of an emotional pipe-bomb thrust squarely into the brain.

Am I glad that I don't have daughters? You have no idea how much. Actually...maybe you do. Antique Mommy is right. Empathy is a powerful tool and teaching your daughter to identify who has it and who doesn't might save a lot of heartbreak later on. My sympathies to you and to Savannah. The day a kid finds out that not everyone is a friend is when childhood innocence begins to die. And I hate it.

Heather B. said...

Would you like for me to come slap the neighbor girl?

I have no sound advice for you. But I do know that I'd make an awful parent. For I'd be too tempted to kick the child who dares make my baby cry.

Queen of the Run-on Sentence said...

A little girl was mean to Carson and my pearls of wisdom were lacking in maturity. I told her that, that little girl is mean and she will probably be pregnant living in a trailer park by the time she is 17. Not my best moment but she laughed.

NiceMomtoNiceGirls said...

Wait. I am sorry that your child got her feelings hurt. That rots. I totally get that.
But why on earth have you not put a stop to this much, much earlier? Sorry honey, Lindsey is 6 years older than you are so she is a big girl and when you are a big girl, you will want to do stuff without little girls too.
You could have had the kid as an upfront occasional mother's helper but this secret stuff-I don't get it.
As far as slamming a door in an 11 year old's face when she has clearly found out that she behaved badly and has tried to apologize-far more unforgivable in my book. You are an adult. Yes, by all means, take it up with the neighbor and the child, but slamming a door in the corrected girls faces?

11-year olds are big girls but that doesn't make them grown up enough to always be sensitive.

It seems as if you were more of a mean girl than the child.

Anonymous said...

Girls are tough. They are mean and hateful and hideous to each other sometimes and it sucks. The only thing that I try, try, try to do is to teach the other kid too. Like, I'm a big, "I really expected more from you than that Lindsey. Savannah loves you and you hurt her very, very much. I really just thought you were a nicer girl. I hope you won't disappoint us like this again. It will be a long time before I can trust you with Savannah." (Well, the names I use aren't Savannah and Linsey ~ they're Emily and Morgan. But you know what I'm sayin'.

jennster said...

this breaks my heart for you.. and for savannah. blake is so freaking sensitive and lately, the stupid neighbor kid has wanted to play with the 5 year olds, instead of blake. and blake just loses all his cool and breaks down sobbing. he doesn't understand why this idiot doesn't want to play with him and it hurts his feelings and he cries and it makes my heart and stomach ache so badly...
and well.. i just have been there. good god, what will i do if i have a little girl?

Julia2343 said...

I am so immature and protective that I would probably have to move. I am still hunting for the bully that tormented by son through his freshman year of high school. (six years ago) I fully intend to run him over. I can hold tight to that grudge!

Anni Hispanni said...

As a girl that was TORMENTED all through school, I had to learn eventually that it really wasn't me that Mean Girls can dig deep wounds.
My Mom tried everything from talking to teachers, parents, the Mean Girls, etc. but, the bottom line is that there will always be jerks in this world. The most important thing is to teach your daughter to be strong and BE HERSELF.
Your reaction was what it was.Don't let anyone make you feel bad about it. It is your job to let other parents and their kids understand what behavior is acceptable for your daughter. They hurt her and that is NOT OKAY. I don't believe that you having a "sit down" with her would have done more than her mother making her and the other heathens come over to apologize. I hope that little brat learned her lesson.

Mrs. M said...

i've also noticed somoene said that lindsey is only 11 or 12 and still not old enough to always care..blah blah blah. i think that you need to have the maturity to be caring, sensitive, and fair if you're in fact going to be a mothers helper.

Mia said...

I have been blissfully reading your 2 sites now for over half an hour, when I should be studying -
I have 3 girls and so far this has happened to the older 2. Mean girls suck.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry your daughter was hurt. I've had to explain to my daughter a few times why the older kids don't always want to do what she does. I wonder, though, if this wasn't inevitable. I wonder why you didn't hire Lindsay to be a babysitter, or mother's helper, and make the relationship clear? This way Lindsay would have had the opportunity to develop some responibility and your daughter would get to play with the girl she adores? There is a girl in our neighborhood we're doing this with soon, and a boy who, when he's old enough (he's only 7) I'll hire him, too.

It's probably not too late. I think Lindsay is probably terrified of you, though, so you may have to explain why you were so upset and apologize. And then you can explain to her just how much your daughter looks up to her so she understands the impact of her actions. I don't think she's too young to get it, if it's explained to her.

Dexie said...

I'm not looking forward to this. My daughter is only 8 mos old but i know someday she'll experience this kind of petty cruelty.

She knows she has you and her Dad to count on and that's the most important thing.

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