Dedicated to helping empower teens and parents with daughters, I cut through the chase with a healthy dollop of reality as they navigate the adolescent landscape. It doesn’t matter if it’s an 11 yr old in middle school or a 16 yr old in high school, girl drama is an abuse of power. It’s hurtful, complicated and dangerous. Sadly, this also happens with grown-up women.
For more than two decades, I’ve listened to hundreds of girls and parents talk about power plays and cliques. So when I explain the hidden aggression in girls and teach the inner workings of teen culture to parents and their daughters, here’s some hard facts:
1- There’s a fine line between respect and dignity. When others try to destroy you, exclude you purposely, gossip about you, or make you feel like crap, this actually has nothing to do with you. It says everything about the perpetrator/s. It’s an attempt to put themselves at a higher level so they can feel better about themselves. Truth is, they feel insignificant, mostly because of a lack of self-esteem and self-worth.
2- Insecurity. If your daughter has low self-esteem, she may be the attention seeker, pot-stirrer, side kick or “messenger” for others when it comes to gossip in order to gain acceptance, trying too hard to fit in, be one of “them.” PSA, doesn’t work 99.9% of the time and often backfires.
3- Champion her by speaking up and speaking truth. When a conflict occurs, she can’t text or hide behind a screen to speak up for herself. She needs to verbally say, “you’re being mean and need to stop.” Period. Done. That’s the only way she can take her power back.
4- Mean friends and nasty girls? Don’t hang out with them. The patterns of aggressive teen girl behavior is prevalent in all schools regardless if it’s private or public. I’ve worked in both. So when you’re helping to guide your daughter make smarter choices, talk about her role in cliques, gossip, reputations, exposure to drugs, alcohol, boys, abusive relationships, sex. Don’t wait until the storm hits. It’s too late at that point when she’s in the thick of it all. Prepare her so she knows she has options. It’s her journey, not yours. Check your own baggage background. You don’t get to relive your middle school or high school years, and empowering your daughter so she knows how to respond in situations is the best gift you can give her during some tumultuous years.
If you can be her safe harbor during tough situations and get her to know her own self-worth, your words will be in her head. She’ll learn how to decipher good from evil and not fear the best thing that could ever happen to her - letting go of toxic people, good riddance to bad rubbish.
Cheers to raising girls!