Last week I shared a very important post titled Preparing for Mean Girls. The post explored the ways moms can equip and encourage their daughters before they encounter a mean girl. Today’s post continues our look at mean girls, but from a different angle. Though we certainly don’t want our daughter to be bullied by mean girls, we don’t want our daughter to become the Mean Girl either.
Through television shows like Gossip Girls and Pretty Little Liars, terrible behavior such as cruelty, manipulation, and cattiness are glorified. As mothers, it’s our job to teach our daughters that such behavior is not acceptable, fun, or glamorous. No matter how pretty or witty the actress is, nasty behavior is not cute or funny. Ever. In fact, such behavior is vicious and more importantly such behavior is unbiblical. As loving moms, what can we do to help ensure we don’t raise a mean girl? Here are seven tips that can help us not to raise a mean girl.
Don’t assume your daughter would never be mean. I’ve been a mother for nearly ten years and in that time I’ve worked to instill Godly character within my daughters. In spite of my teaching, my three daughters have sometimes surprised me with their actions. From time to time, they’ve done unpleasant things I didn’t expect them to do. Why have they done so? The answer is simple…because of sin. Sins causes each of us to do things we ought not do. The Bible clearly says all have fallen short and disappointed God (Romans 3:23). The word all applies to each of my daughters and to yours too.
Watch your words and behaviors. It’s true that the apples don’t fall far from the tree. Our daughters are watching us and they will model our our words and actions. If I want my daughter to speak kindly of others, I must speak kindly of others. If I want my daughters to pray for those who are unkind to her, I must do the same for those who are unkind to me. If our daughters hear us badmouthing another woman, we certainly expect our daughters to pick up on and display identical behavior.
Don’t create a “The world revolves around you” mentality. My daughters are important to me. I love each of them dearly and I want them to be happy and healthy. Because I love them, I build them up. I encourage them. However, I build wisely. My daughter’s happiness does not come at the expense of others. I don’t ignore the feelings and rights of others just to please her. I teach my daughter that other people matter and that she must think of others first (Philippians 2:3). I love my daughters but they know the world does NOT revolve around them alone.
Help your daughter feel good about herself. It’s hard to be a girl in today’s world. The pressure is on. Magazines, television, books, and movies tell her she has to look and act a certain way in order to be accepted. Moms, let’s help our daughters debunk those myths. Let’s help our daughters become more confident by applauding their God given looks, talents, and preferences. Let’s become our daughters’ greatest cheerleaders and encourage them to build up themselves by engaging in Godly activities and displaying Christ-like behavior. When we do so, our daughters recognize that those who are building themselves up have no time to knock others down.
Teach your daughter her that her words and actions matter. We must remind our daughters of the right way to speak to treat other people. Our daughters need us to tell them (repeatedly) that their words and behaviors are to be helpful (Colossians 4:6, Ephesians 4:29, Matthew 7:12). Our daughters need to recognize that their words are powerful and that God expects them to use their words and behaviors to bless others.
When you see your daughter doing something unkind, immediately talk to her about what she’s done. Don’t pretend you didn’t see the behavior. Address inappropriate behavior immediately. When I see my daughters doing such, we talk about it right away. I want her to know her behavior was wrong, and I also want to know why she did what she did. The motivation behind my daughters’ actions often reveals a lot.
Get to know your daughter’s friends. Be sure you know who your daughter is spending time with as these will be the individuals who will also influence her behavior. Do these friends help your daughter make good choices or are these friends leading her in a direction that opposes what you’ve taught her? When the girls gather are they gossiping or saying hurtful things about others. You’ll want to know so host gatherings for your daughter and her friends. Movie nights, backyard games, and game nights can be a great way for you to interact with your daughter and friends and will also provide an opportunity to see how all the girls talk and behave.
We want our daughters to reflect the love of Christ and to be good role models for those around them. That will only happen if mothers take time to teach and nurture our daughters. Being bullied by a mean girl is terrible, but being the Mean Girl is just as bad! I plan to spend more time with my daughters and I encourage you to do the same. Let’s not raise a mean girl.
© 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.