Monday, June 23, 2014

Raising a nice girl

I'm pretty sure we all set out to raise well behaved and sweet children.

But somewhere along the road, it doesn't turn out.  I have witnessed it in three year old preschool, in elementary school, of COURSE in high school, with grown women and even in the grandma circles: The Mean Girls.

"I don't want to sit by her" says the preschooler to another little girl.  "You aren't invited to my party" says the fifth grader.  "WELL, I am SO glad I WAS able to breastfeed - so sorry you couldn't" says the smug mom to an overwhelmed new mom.

Where do the mean girls come from? Is it innate behavior or is it conditioned? And I wonder all the time equally how to help my girls deal with the mean girls but also (and honestly more often) how to keep my girls from BEING the mean girls.

I honestly would say that I would prefer my girls to be the nice girls than to be hurt by others.  It's so important to me to foster a heart of kindness and sharing and generosity.  But I feel like all mothers have that same desire.  How do we teach our girls to love well? How do we teach them to practice the golden rule?

I want to protect Harper and Hollis from friends who will make them cry and hurt their feelings.  I've already began to prepare them for how to deal and I try to equip them with a self esteem that can handle snide comments or rude remarks.  I want them to know that their worth is in Christ, not in what others think.

When they are mean to each other or someone else, I always ask if that's how they would want to be treated and try to help them understand how words can hurt.  I teach them to seek out other friends if other little girls are being hurtful.  I try to make them feel so loved that they don't need to find acceptance from others (not that I know they won't because we all do but I just want them to feel secure.)

I am working so hard to teach them compassion and kindness.  I want Harper to be friends with the kids who sit alone at the cafeteria table.  She may even be THAT kid at some point.  I was that kid.  I've been on both sides of that table.  Literally.

I teach my girls what my Mam-Ma always told me "Pretty is as pretty does".  I always tell them the most beautiful girl in all the world can act ugly and that makes her ugly.  I try to help them understand it's your actions that make your beautiful.

How do bring up a new generation of kids who will have a heart of service and giving and love for others? How do we help them not to be involved in the junior high drama or the mom wars?

I know this is a crucial time to be working on their hearts, so I want to do what I can.

What have you done to raise "nice" girls? I'd love to hear from moms of grown daughters or even older teens who have survived and learned lessons along the way.  How have you dealt with the tears and emotions of facing the mean girls?

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