Posts Tagged ‘mean girls’

Middle School Mean Girls

Last week I accidentally bought a novel…written for children. I decided to read it anyway. Here’s the plot: a 12 year old girl is going into middle school and suddenly (well over the course of a couple of months), her very best friend in the world turns into a Middle School Mean Girl. She becomes popular with the “popular kids”. It’s a heartbreaking story with an uplifting end.

I knew my friend Amy, who is a DJ on one of the stations I work for, had daughters. So, I gave her the plot synopsis and asked if her girls would enjoy it.

“This must be a God thing,” Amy said. Then told me about her beautiful daughter who is going though almost the exact same situation.

Her story killed me because I remember so well, struggling though middle school with my oldest daughter. She had a few wonderful friends for several years, then they all turned on her. We never figured out why. But my girl spent a couple of years in my pocket and miserable. Her former friends were saying all kinds of stuff, about her. They said she was ugly, fat, gay, stupid, a slut and she wasn’t Christian. One of the reasons we took her out of that school was to get away from her old friends.

Every week in restaurants, at the pool, in Walmart I hear middle school girls talk to their parents in a way that is shockingly mean and hateful. The parents just laugh it off, they don’t think their girls are serious. They tell themselves “it’s just a game, or a phase she’ll grow out of”. But they know, in their hearts, they never spoke to their parents that way.

Boys are gross and annoying, they make fart jokes and fall out of booths at restaurants, but they don’t sigh and roll their eyes at their parents, as though warning them to keep their mouth shut. I swear sometimes it looks like the parents are hostages.

So what’s the deal with so many Middle School mean girls? Why do some turn cruel and ugly? Why do they quite caring about old friends and focus on popularity and good hair?

Boys  might get in a fight with their friend, they might even try to beat him up…but they generally don’t get catty, cruel and start spreading rumors.

I think parents might be part of the problem.
We tell our daughters they are beautiful and can be anything from an astrophysicist to pop star, we tell our daughters they are strong, not to be kept down by anyone. We tell our daughters they can accomplish anything. We put our daughters waaaay up on a pedestal, we buy them the very best “high horse” And they listen. they believe us, the believe they are better than other girls, that they are smarter and prettier. We drill this stuff into their heads CONSTANTLY, and so do tv stations, songs on the radio even public service announcements.

But do we ever tell them to be kind? Do we tell and teach them to empathize? Do we tell them to be sweet and nice. No, because those virtues are seen as weakness. I’m thinking back and I don’t think I ever had conversations like that with my girls. I’m sure I hoped they would see their family being nice to folks and get the idea…but I don’t think that’s enough. The truth is, some of our daughters are turning into bitches, right in front of us.

Moms, I’m putting this on your shoulders. I suspect most of us know when our daughters has turned that corner and become a mean girl. But very few of us are willing to own and correct the bad and hurtful behavior. We are too excited our daughter is “popular”. We can’t forsce them to be friends with another girl but we can absolutely demand and make sure they are kind. We need to tell our kids we disapprove of cruel behavior and then demonstrate kindness , everyday, in front of them.

And consider this, when we are all old and dealing with health issues and trying to stay in our own homes , when we need help with everyday life and desperately want someone to treat you kindly and with dignity, chances are our mean ass daughter will be in charge.

Sweetness, kindness and compassion are not weaknesses. They are virtues that make all of us stronger.

Are Christians Nice?

crossHuum. I know we are supposed be, but I keep running into folks who are devout Christians but they just aren’t very nice and that really throws me for a loop.

Nice sounds like such a wimpy,soft word, vacuous and lame but it’s a very important quality.

We all know what “nice” means but I looked it up just to be sure. Nice means “giving pleasure or joy.Kind, polite and friendly.”

We as Christians are supposed to be nice to everyone, not just people who are just like us.  I keep running into Christians who are not kind, friendly or polite to the boy at Sonic who is Goth and wears mascara.   They are not nice to the very effeminate, over weight boy who works at the Smoothie place. They are not friendly or kind to the woman in line at Walmart wearing the head scarf or the Hispanic man cutting their neighbors grass.

Parents and preachers, I think, need to teach the talented jocks, the beautiful mean girls and the cool kids that they are not acting like a Christian when they bully, taunt, tease and harass.

But some of the people, kids and adults, who are not kind, are still very quick to tell everyone they are Christians.

Here’s the thing. I believe God loves all those people previously mentioned, the Goth kid, the fat kid, the immigrant, the guy who just got out of prison, just as much as he loves you are me. And I think it breaks God’s heart when we are not “nice” to all of his children. Thankfully, God is not as picky about who he loves or we would all be in trouble.

Last week at WalMart the cashier was a 40 year old black man with a speech impediment.  He was slow and the lane was backing up because of his disability.  The woman in front of me, wearing a big silver cross, had to repeat something several times because he didn’t understand.  Then she looked at me, obviously annoyed, and rolled her eyes.  I wanted to punch her in the face.

Maybe she was a Christian but she was not a nice person.

But I think I have an idea.  Preachers, pastors and parents need to teach their children to be Christians and be nice. We need to stop assuming kids instantly understand being Christian means you are supposed to be nice, kind, friendly and polite….to everyone. We need to teach our children, from a very young age, that it is their duty, as a Christian, to be kind to teachers and hobos and waitresses, to those who serve the public and those of other races and beliefs,  to be kind to everyone, not just to people who are like us or we agree with. And we should do that because Jesus asked us to.

I know I fall short every day. I get mad at myself sometimes when I act ugly. There’s a guy  who works in a store I frequent. He drives me CRAZY, I mean really really bugs me. I just want him to stop talking and stay out of my space. But that’s my problem, not his fault and I have to remind myself that God loves him just as much as he loves me.

And when you see the goth kid, with the giant gauges in his ears, holes big enough to put a shot glass in, the big gold ring in his eyebrow and tattoos all over his body…..God loves that boy too, just as much as he love you.

When you see the kid with the tank top and jeans sagging down so low you can see his red checked boxers, running across the street, against the light. You might not agree with his fashion decisions but God loves that guy a whole lot too, just  as much as he loves you.

Christians are supposed to be “Christ Like”  and Jesus was nice.

But I will try every day to teach my kids to be nice to their family, to those they love and those they don’t understand. Because we are all God’s children. So teach it and be it….Be Nice.



Mean Middle Age Women….It Never Stops

bra strapIt’s an old story but I’m still surprised. Some women just can’t stop being bitches. The worst ones are those who do it in the name of friendship. Because that means one of two things. 1. They don’t actually understand the meaning of friendship or 2. They are liars.

My oldest daughter, Mary, recently got a great new job. She’s so excited, I’m so proud and almost all her friends are so proud. Except for one. Melissa. Instead of saying “congratulations” the first thing out of her mouth was, “Oh my god, you don’t have any experience like that. How are you gonna pull that off?  And no offense, you don’t even have the right clothes for that job.”

That’s an unbelievable mean spirited comment and only works to undermine Mary’s confidence (if she actually cared what Melissa thought). Is that what Melissa was trying to do? She says, “No! of course not!” But the truth is Melissa has been stuck in the same lame job for five years. She doesn’t have the guts, drive or intelligence to work her way up and she want’s to keep everybody down in the ugly trenches with her. If you step back and think about it, Melissa’s comment just makes her look pathetic and jealous.

This weekend I was the MC for a  big event, with well over a thousand people. I was nervous because I felt old, but excited too.Things were going along beautifully. Literally dozens and dozens of folks, strangers and friends, stopped me and made positive comments. “You look beautiful,” “You’re doing a great job,” “Take a picture with me.”

Then a “friend” stopped me and smiling said something like, “Hampo, I’ve got to take you shopping.” Seriously? I was stunned. Moments later I had to take the mike and get back up on stage.

Her comment was not helpful, friendly or funny. And even if it was true, why would a “friend” say something like that when there was nothing I could do to change the situation?

A real  friend would say, “Your bra strap is showing” or “you have lipstick on your teeth.” Cause that’s fixable.

Maybe other people in the audience were thinking the same thing, fortunately they had enough tact and kindness of heart not to say anything. Or maybe, they didn’t agree with her and I looked just fine.

So why would she say something so unnecessary and bitchy?

I hear people make derogatory remarks about this person’s and other’s appearance but I would never never ever repeat them because that’s not what friends do.  Friends build each other up. Period.

I always told my kids the one thing they can not say to friends is, “No offense but………”

If you start a sentence that way you are going to something mean and hateful. Sure, it might be true, but that doesn’t give you the right to say it! And I told them not to trust kids who start  sentences with “No offense but….”

Mean girls are the same in third grade, in your twenties and right on into old age. Wish them well, be respectful, maybe even have a beer together but watch always your back.


100 Dollar Jeans and Snotty Little Girls…….. Brilliant Parenting That Didn’t Come From Me!

    Sometimes people do really smart stuff. Sometimes they do stuff that makes them look smart than me. I can’t believe it.But it’s true and kind of wonderful.

   Two days ago my 23 year old daughter Mary called. She is the nanny for three beautiful, affluent little girls. The girls have a lovely home and their parents have great big important jobs.

   Unfortunately, the girls, who are 6, 8 and 10 say really ugly things to my Mary. She is paid well but that doesn’t make up for their remarks.   Generally, the girls are lovely and well behaved, but sometimes they say horrible things like, “You have to clean up our mess, our mom pays you to clean up after us.”
  And “you’re just a employee”.
   This kind of language, directed at my daughter, makes my hands shake. Mary has tried every known form of “nanny discipline”…from lectures to time outs, explanations as to why the words hurt her feelings and taking away everything good like ice cream and movies.

The girls just don’t seem to care. When Mary called for advice I didn’t know what to say, I was out of ideas. All  I could tell her was, “Use the scary calm voice, remember when you were little? My shouting didn’t scare you nearly as much as my calm voice.”

“Oh God, you were freaking  terrifying,” she said,

Two days ago Mary called, squealing. She  took a tiny notebook to work. When the oldest daughter said, “we don’t have to listen to you, you’re just a baby sitter,” Mary took out the notebook, wrote down the words, verbatim, dated the entry, then read it back to the ten year old.
“Is that what you said?” she asked pleasantly.
And hour later the youngest daughter said, “Do it yourself” when Mary asked her to put her dishes in the sink.
Again, my daughter wrote down the child’s words and read them back.
Later in the afternoon, when it happened again, the oldest daughter said, “What are you doing with that book?”
Smiling, Mary explained, ” I’m writing down the mean stuff you say and tonight when your parents get home, you get to read them out loud, to your folks.”
The girls freaked out. A conversation and negotiations began. Mary won.

#2. Last Christmas my friend Amelia had a problem.  Her daughter asked for a pair of blue jeans that cost nearly one hundred dollars.  Amelia is a thrifty woman, she’s a brilliant folk artist who can whittle a monkey out of a peach pit. She recycles and donates used clothes to shelters.  A one hundred dollar pair of jean makes my friend physically ill.

So, Instead of caving in and giving her daughter a pair of ridiculous jeans, she wrapped up a one hundred  dollar bill, lots of pretty paper and bows.  When her beautiful daughter opened the box she was hysterically happy.  Amelia explained, “if you want to buy the jeans, go right ahead, I just couldn’t do it myself.”

Of course once her daughter got to the mall she ended up buying three pairs of pant and two shirts with the crisp one hundred dollar bill.  Amelia and common sense win.

And finally, when Ameila’s other child was stuck in an apartment lease with three other terrible dope smoking kids there seemed no hope.  She couldn’t get her kid out of the year long lease unless the other three tenants signed off on the move.  They didn’t want to do that cause they didn’t want to pay more or find a new roommate.

My brilliant friend sat down with the three strung out hipsters and cheerfully explained, “Here’s the deal. If you don’t let my kid out of this lease I’m moving in, in his place. And all I’m going to do is sit around, watch tv, burp and whittle.”

Guess who moved out the next day. No one ever yelled, screamed or cursed.  Amelia and cleverness win again.

I love these three stories because they prove great parenting doesn’t have to involve spanking and screaming. Just be smart and friendly.

Your Daughter’s New Friend Is A B*#ch

There is a terrible moment moment when your daughter introduces you to her new friend and you know, instantly, she’s a backstabber,a user and a bitch.

Her hand shake is fine, she is pretty and smiles. She has nice teeth. But you know because the ultra-developed mom radar starts pinging as though the Soviet Army is about to strike.

Your daughter doesn’t see it. She can’t feel that the bitch switch has been flipped and insists Heather is a sweetie and lots of fun and a good friend.

This is a sickening situation for any parent because we know this Heather, at some point, will become hateful. She’s one of those kids who tries to influence weaker students and if she can’t take over their life she starts trash talking. These girls are a nickel a dozen and every high school has pods of them.

This one, Heather, is not the traditional “mean girl” who owns the school. She’s a lot more manipulative. Boys suck up to her because she wears a lot of eye liner and that makes them think they will get some. Girls want her to like them because she’s got all the guys sniffing around.

You let her come over with several other girls, but you watch her very carefully. She’s good.  Her eye rolls are so subtle the other girls miss them.  Her sighs when somebody asks a silly question speak volumes. When one of the girls goes home early she starts making tiny comments that make the other girls, including your daughter, giggle. Then they bump against her and tell her to stop because they know what she is doing is wrong. Still, they are intrigues. Heather is choosing them over the other girl. She’s culling girls out.

In the car Heather tells you about her classes, she makes good grades but she says really disrespectful things about her teachers like, “Mr South is such a moron” and she makes comments about her parents that lead a mom to think they are shady. “They always stay out really late on Friday night” or “thanks for driving me home, my parents hate driving me anywhere.”

Then it really starts. Heather encourages girls to break up with their boyfriends. She tells them they  can do so much better. When the break up happens, she starts flirting, hard core, with the boy, saying, “Well you broke up with him I figured you wouldn’t care.”

Eventually, Heather will have two or three allies, they are her body guards and comrades, who have fallen under the troll’s spell. She’s cut everyone else out because they started to see the evil bitch shining through like a red light. And if  girls are not on her side they have giant targets super glued to their backs.

You want to warn your daughter, you want to tell her exactly what kind of person Heather is and forbid their friendship. But that will not work. She will think you are wrong and old. Heather will become Romeo and you will loose. The best you can do is counsel your child when you see Heather doing something bitchy. Make sure she sees it too. I’m not very good at being subtle so I say stuff like, “Hey, if she’s talking ugly about Julie when she leaves, she’s probably talking about you guys too,” or “She rolls her eyes and sighs like she thinks she’s better than everyone else. Doesn’t that make you crazy?”

In saying this super obvious stuff I’m hoping my girls will see the train and jump off the tracks before it runs her over. And, if Heather has her way, and turns on your kid, the best you can do is help her regroup, figure out who her real friends are and start all over.  Try to reach out to the other girls who got hit by shrapnel And generally saying something really snarky makes everybody feel better like, “Honey, she’s got funny looking ears, fat ankles and she’ll never make it through college. You can do way better.”

When Mean Girls Act Nice…..Runaway!

I’m pretty sure this happens to every one.  There’s a mean person in your life, I mean a back stabbing, gossip spreading, kitten kicking wench. She works in your office, goes to you PTO meetings, maybe she’s your cousin or sits next to you in biology. 

This horrible person doesn’t like you, she doesn’t seem to like anyone, except her evil twin, the one other person in the class or office who is equally as vile. At night they probably talk on the phone and come up with new ways to cook puppies and make your life miserable.

When you run into the witch in the store or kitchen you nod, don’t you? You still say “hi” and smile, even though you don’t want to.  And she smiles back, as though she actually likes you, but doesn’t respond.

You know the truth though, she thinks you are stupid because you are friendly. She thinks you are a suck up becasue you show compassion, even to your boss and the lady who cleans the office at night. She thinks your politics are all wrong and your kids, friends, boyfriend are horrible.

Then one day, Hildagard the Horrible does or says something nice and seems sincere. She leaves a couple of concert tickets on your desk because she can’t go.  She says your new hair cut looks nice. And then she actually sits down next to you at the Band Booster meeting or in your office or in biology…. just to visit. But she starts talking about other girls and women right?  She’s trashing them and trying to get you to be on her side. Don’t do it. She’ll say the same stuff about you next week.

It’s shocking, right?  This kind of thing scares me to death becasue I want to trust her but I know there’s something funky going on. I know I should forgive her and hope she remains nice. But last week I was told she thinks I have a scrawny flat and a big mouth. (Even if she’s right it’s a mean thing to say.)

I used to think this revolting and vicious behaviour started in girls when they got to high school.  Nice girls get boobs and suddenly turn into cut throat little bitches, who smile sweetly as they disembowel your best friend. But recently I noticed something really interesting. It’s the stupid girls who are pretty, who turn really mean.  Maybe their lack of intelligence makes them insecure. It’s so pathetic.

Last night  I watched Toddlers and Tiaras. Guess what, it doesn’t start in high school, it starts with the mothers. 

Listen if you have a daughter who’s turning into a bitch…do something about it. And if you are raising your little girl to be a cut throat snake who thinks she’s better than everybody else in her kindergarten class you are making a huge mistake. And chances are, eventually she’ll turn on you too.