My children attend a Charter school and they love it. It’s a great school and we are very happy with the school’s leadership, teaching staff, academic structure, etc. It is a building packed with positive people, innovative thinking, strong values, moral fiber, a genuine sense of happiness and a down-to-earth feel.
Then… enter the eleven year old girls who think they are God’s gift to the school…and there goes the positive atmosphere. They’ve come to rule the school and not in an uplifting manner. They call other students names, such as “stupid,” and “fat,” and “loser.” They have also been heard calling other female students a “bitch,” and a “dork.” They backstab and blatantly lie, all the while plastering on a feigning smile of innocence in front of their teachers.
There are four of them in the six grade class and they are exactly like the “mean girls” you see in movies and think, that doesn’t really happen in schools, right? Surely, it’s just a cinematic exaggeration for the sake of entertainment. Nope. They’re real and they’re NOT spectacular. (Fellow Seinfeld fans will get that last remark.)
When one of these girls was confronted and asked why she says mean things about others, she said, “That’s just how I handle stuff. You can’t change me.”
Being mean is how you “handle stuff”?!? WTF! Who taught you that?
Another girl said, “Being popular means I don’t have to hang around the fat losers if I don’t want to.”
“Fat Losers.” I don’t know about you, but that statement stirs in me an intense desire to kick the crap out of the person who used this terminology. Now, I know what you’re thinking…. “Susan, they’re just kids and you can’t go around smacking all of the mean kids in the world.” True. (Though, at times, I wish I could!)
My daughter has come home in tears, begged not to go to school and pretended to be sick so she wouldn't have to go to school and face the fact that these four girls are saying mean things behind her back and, at times, to her face. It is heartbreaking.
I can't go smack them all, but what I can do is analyze where they learn this behavior and I believe that trail leads me straight to their parents. Now, are parents responsible for every poor choice their child makes? No. Kids are going to make mistakes, some of which parents will be entirely unaware. I get that. My kids mess up too. Growing up is all about learning. BUT, respecting others is a lesson that should be taught at home. Being kind to others is a lesson that should be reinforced in the home. Saying something mean one time out of anger or frustration can be expected, but a consistent behavior pattern of degrading others does not fall under “normal adolescent behavior;” or at least it shouldn’t and it doesn’t in our home.
Parents….listen to what is coming out of your kid’s mouth. If it’s spiteful, hateful, poking fun at others and mean… DO SOMETHING!
Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I’m not in contention for mother-of-the-year. In fact, I’m far from it. However, I have taught my children that they don’t have to like everyone, but they have to show everyone kindness. They don’t have to be friends with everyone, but they do have to be friendly and courteous. They don’t have to be “into” what others are into, but they have to respect what is important to others and not make fun of them.
God made each us different, unique and individual so that life would not be stagnant and boring. We come in all different shapes, sizes and colors, none of which should be used against us to support hateful labels like “fat loser” or “stupid dork.”
Meanness is a spirit of hate and it should not be welcome in our hearts, our schools or our homes. If it is not stopped in adolescence, it will only get worse. ~