Raising Kindness: How to kill the mean girl culture

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– by Aminah Fahad

Have you ever realised that women are each other’s harshest critics and worst enemies?

Women wrap advice in snide comments at school bake sales when the working mom shows up with a Betty Crocker cake or God forbid, a lifafa from the local bakery. Aunties tear up the reputations of young girls to shreds and scare off potential rishtas. And I may be going out on a limb here but I can bet if you check the comment section under any paparazzi shot, you’ll find women having spewed the larger volume of vitriol if the scandal in question involves a female celebrity.

I mean, come on, ladies! Isn’t it bad enough that its 2017 and we are still underpaid, marginalised, victimised and objectified by men? Must women also make women’s lives harder?

Mini Meanies

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The real tragedy however is that it starts so early. Whispers among children as young as pre-schoolers to exclude so and so because she wronged the queen bee. Not being invited to a party in middle school, being the butt of weight jokes as a teen, having more frenemies than real friends in college. For most of us, Mean Girls was fiction that was uncomfortably close to reality.

And more than one of us wished the Mean Girls in school would die.

The only way to kill them?

We raise Kind Girls. 

Prioritise Compassion

It starts from the house, just like everything else. Its about time that kindness finds a place on parents’ checklists alongside hard work and responsibility. When we question our children about grades and co-curriculars lets ask them, especially the girls, how they welcomed the new girl into their group.

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A Community of Includers 

We have to teach our girls to be includers. Lets make a community of women who build each other up instead of tearing each other down.

My daughter’s friends would not believe she was expressly forbidden by her mother to stop speaking to one friend at the whim of another or to practise grouping or exclusion. She came back home the victim that day.

I am glad we stuck with it though. She now has three good friends who are includers just like her, and for that I couldn’t be happier.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Moreover, we need to teach our girls respect: for others and their own selves.

Our daughters need to be able to respect another girl’s differences and not band against her. They have to learn pettiness is unbecoming of a well bred lady. They should be able to walk away from toxic friends and recognise that spite and small-mindedness is below them.

We all want to raise graceful, giving and good-natured daughters. The hardest part is not desire. The hardest part is the details.

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This Is Where We Come In

As mothers, we need to be better role models for our girls. We can’t make fun of that mom’s accent and that colleague’s outfit. Its not just little girls that are mean you see.

We need to know that the children are always watching. And so we need to watch when to bite our tongue, where to inconvenience ourself to help another and how to make room on our table and in our heart.

We are, after all, our daughters’ heroes. Let’s earn the title.

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