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GUEST COLUMNIST: Dr. Missy, Feelings Helper

How to raise a mean girl

Do mean moms make mean girls? Do passive parents or dominate parents make mean girls? What are the mean girl ingredients?

Bring your daughter home in an environment that reeks with superiority instead of equality. Do not allow siblings or relatives to hold or hug her because she is delicate. A diva has arrived.

Treat her like a frilly princess where others are her servants. Dress her in price tags and forbid play in dirt with other toddlers. I am; therefore I deserve.

Let her throw boundless temper tantrums without discipline and she will lack emotional regulation. A drama queen in the making. Emotional manipulation will become her tool of control. I get what I want when I cry, pout, or explode in anger.

Let her sleep in your room, in your bed every night. Allocate your partner to a bystander and take away parental empowerment. Show her that she is the boss. Make her the center of attention and she will come to expect it. And demand it.

Enroll her in endless beauty pageants where bona fide talent is null and void. Parade Barbie dolls as role models for prettiness. Lavish her with exclusive labels as a substitute for developing empathy. Laugh at her snobbish attitude.

Fix her bedroom up like a palace where other children must bow down to play with her posh toys. Do not deny her anything. “Daddy, I want an Oompa Loompa now!”

Throw extravagant birthday parties and encourage her to invite select classmates. Join the PTA, Band Boosters, and parent clubs to insure her walk of fame. Throw an adult temper tantrum when she is not voted as cheerleader, homecoming queen, or captain of the softball team. Encourage cliquishness as cuteness. Push her to be popular.

Passive parents may fear unreciprocated love if they discipline their daughter. Tip-toe around the word, “No” and she will push limits until there are no limits. Make excuses for her rude behaviors, “She’s just a strong-willed child.” Let her rule the roost and she may try to rule the school.

When dominate parents rush in and solve problems for her, she will believe she is incapable. Confusion, incongruence, and self-doubt may visit. Don’t allow her to express her own opinions and she may become mean to others in order to gain a sense of control over something in her life.

What other factors make a girl mean? Reality television shows spotlight nastiness of females for ratings. Sitcoms use humiliation to get laughs. Media madness gets a front row seat. Cultural cruelty must assume some of the culpability for the making of mean girls.

A mean girl may have the makings of a girl bully. Mean-girl behaviors are referred to as relational or social aggression. Rachel Simmons’ Odd Girl Out was the first book that researched girl aggression. “Girls use backbiting, exclusion, rumors, name-calling, and manipulation to inflict psychological pain on victimized targets,” Simmons reported.

Have you watched the movie, Mean Girls and read the Rosalind Wiseman book, Queen Bees and Wannabes : Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World? Relational aggression signifies the use of relationships to hurt peers. “It encompasses starting rumors, spreading gossip, teasing, creating and or joining cliques, deliberately excluding another girl, and many of the stereotypical behaviors associated with girls,” according to Wiseman.

Peruse the webinar recording and PowerPoint presentation on Girl Aggression at the Ohio Department of Education website under the Ohio Anti-Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Initiative. Visit www.education.ohio.gov.

Visit www.bullyingeducation.org and read several articles on bullying.

If your daughter is a mean girl, talk to the school counselor and schedule an appointment with a child therapist.

Dr. Missy, Ph.D., is a feelings helper, child therapist, play therapist, and child trauma therapist. She provides therapeutic services at Affirmations, Columbus, Ohio.


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