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advice about the viciousness of girls cliques for my daughter

I saw gossip girl last night and couldn't help having all the memories of junior high of my clique hating me for a week. I've heard that girls cliques have gotten even more ruthless if that's even possible. There was nothing worse than having what felt like an entire school ganging up on me. Any advice? My daughter will be in junior high in a few short years and I'd love to know what you guys say. Thanks.

Tue. Apr 22, 11:21am

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Kudos for you taking notice...

Yes, girl cliques these days are vicious! I have a 12 year old niece with whom I am very close and I know a lot of her friends. Already at 12 these girls are pros at excluding others and engaging in some very negative behavior. Soooo...as a former victim of nasty cliques in middle and high school, here is my advice:

1. Your daughter needs to be able to talk to you about anything. Her home life and her relationship to her family should be a strong foundation where she feels protected, strengthened, and supported.
2. Begin building her confidence and self-esteem NOW. Through sports, music, hobbies, volunteer work, etc.
3. Be her cheerleader! She will need this because junior high is tough and high school is even tougher!

These are things I wish my parents had done and I see my aunt doing right with my niece. Work on building a strong personality and a thick skin...it will serve her well no matter what age she is! Good luck!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 11:40 AM

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If she goes in confident, she won't have a problem. I was a terribly insecure girl at that age, and I immediately fell in with the wrong crowd. By the second year of junior high, I had found myself and became a stronger person, leading me to seek better people in my life. You really can't prevent her being the target of viciousness, but you can instill in her that she deserves better.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 11:41 AM

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Our first instinct as parents is to always want to protect our children or stand up for them. Unfortunately, in these circumstances that can backfire and your child could end up alienating you for that. I've wanted to fight my childs battles for the longest time but my kids have always politely asked me to stay out of it. All you can really do is to teach her to be independent and strong. Stand up to people who don't treat her right or disrespect her and guide her from within in the hope that she will take that advice you give her at home and apply it at school and with her friends. I know it's not much to go on but the biggest piece of advice you can give her is to be nice and not to stoop to the other kid's level. Nice guys don't ALWAYS finish last, I promise you!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 11:41 AM

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Keep her active in a few different activities. The more friends she has from DIFFERENT groups of girls (rather than her world revolving around the same few friends) the easier she will endure the cliques. Bonus points for activities that take her outside of kids just from her school.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 11:45 AM

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Read Queen Bees and Wannabes and Kingpin Moms and Kingpin Dads (about the parents of mean kids!) The author Rosalind Wiseman (I think) will share her research, expertise and advice!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 12:34 PM

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Reviving Ophelia is another good book on the subject.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 3:39 PM

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My daughter starts middle school in the fall and I'm also very worried about what's to come. Merrilou (sp) Henner was on the Today show recently and I loved one thing she said: "Everyday we have to remember to put on our Teflon suits". Basically we have to let other people's negativity, rude comments, whatever, roll right off of us. Who knows what their motivation is for what they do, but their rudeness is about THEM, not me. I explained this to my 2 kids and they really seemed to appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 4:43 PM

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Something else to focus on

Being not too far out of high school myself and having never fallen in with any tough cliques or wrong crowds, I was reflecting on why that happened for me. I think it was two related things. First, and most importantly, I was very focused on things other than just the popularity contest. The prior advice is so totally true: make sure she is involved in extracurriculars and has something she cares about, so that being popular and having the right friends isn't so important. Gives a better long-term outlook. For me, I was a big bookworm and very focused on getting into a good college. But I think wanting to excel at sports or doing student council would do the same thing. Relatedly then, really encourage her to have long-term goals and visions for her future by asking her what they are and then helping her find activities to achieve them. The long-term goals and outlook that so many kids today lack provides exactly the sort of counterbalance to short-term pettiness that she'll need.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 6:36 PM

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...

I've been down that route myself but wait and see before you make up your mind. You don't want to start her off with any negiative vibes. Its totally possible that she could be fine. If she does have problems then the best thing you can do for her is to be very supportive and always be ready to listen. I have distinct memories of feeling like my mom was picking on me when really she was just trying to find ways to make the girls stop picking on me. Make sure she knows you love her just the way she is.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 9:40 PM

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6:36....great advice

I second your advice. I do a lot of work with high school and college students and find that those who are most focused, positive, and less affected by popularity are the ones who have a long-term goals in mind and a great support network.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 12:30 AM

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i was victim to the wrath of girl cliques.

i moved to a new area just before i turned 13. the school was in the country, and a close-knit group of kids who had all grown up together. some new people fit in, but i sure didn't. the guys were never a problem, in fact many of them were friends. but every girl in that school went out of their way to make my life a living hell the entire year, everything from purposely running into me in the halls, to spreading rumors, to insulting me to my face, to screaming at me what a loser i was on the bus ride home. the only person who would be friends with me is the other girl that they treated like this. nobody would do anything to help me. and it got so bad that i was at the point of planning my death at the age of 13. at that point my family finally noticed how terrible it really was -- for months they just kept telling me to stop being a baby and 'deal with my problems'. my parents enrolled me in a different school and things looked up. although i still had to go through some bad treatment from people at my new school, it was mostly petty teenager crap and since i had already dealt with a million times worse it no longer fazed me.

one thing i was never involved in was extracurricular activities or anything to keep myself focused on something other than the opinions of my peers. this is an important issue. you need to keep your daughter involved in activities that can help her stay focused even if she goes through rough times. let her get a part time job outside of school. i've really let my life go to shit becausse i lost focus and couldn't stay positive, and these are things i wish had happened to help me in the past.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 12:56 AM

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oh and to add...

to add to my post above, losing my focus on life and my goals because of all the pretentious crap that goes on in school is a lot of what led to having gained weight which is why i'm on here obviously. this kind of stuff doesnt just affect a kids' mental health, it can attack their physical health as well

Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 12:58 AM

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