I’d like to think I’m raising my kids to live with integrity and compassion for others as I stumble my way through this parenting thing.
I don’t want to be the mom who hovers over her kids with a watchful eye to protect them from ever making a mistake or doing something wrong.
I want to parent these tiny humans of mine with a delicate balance that encourages the freedom to become individuals but also the guidance to become capable of making good choices when I’m not with them.
As parents, I think we all have at least one common goal of raising good humans with kind hearts, and we go through each day with the certainty that we are doing just that until we are led to believe otherwise.
Nobody wants to think that their child is capable of doing something that could be harmful or damaging to another person.
Not only is it a big giant, gory, black-and-blue-looking bruise to our parenting ego, but it’s a HUGE reminder that at some point, we won’t have any say at all in how our kids choose to live their lives.
One day they will be free-thinking, independent adults making decisions 100% on their own without our advice and possibly without our knowledge. When that day comes, we can only hope that we’ve given them the tools to make the choices for themselves that we would have made for them if given the chance.
That is why, if my child is the mean girl, I want to know about it.
I only have so much time to influence my kid’s decision making. I want the chance to turn each experience they have into a teachable moment that prepares them for the day they will be forced to decide what is right for themselves.
And in doing so, they will potentially have to face the consequences of that choice that society has put in place, alone.
As a mom, I already worry about every decision I make as a parent and how it will ultimately affect my kids as they get older.
If I find out my daughter is the mean girl, I will certainly wonder where I went wrong.
I will feel as though I’ve somehow failed her in the subject of kindness during my parenting instruction. I’ll question what I could have done differently, and I’ll feel immense guilt that I didn’t do a better job of teaching my daughter how to be inclusive and empathetic. But … I’ll get over it.
Nothing in life is more important to me than raising decent human beings.
Even if you’re not sure, I want you to tell me. Even if you’re my friend, (especially if you’re my friend) I want you to tell me. If my daughter is the mean girl, please, tell me.
I need to know because if that is my child, that means she is mistreating someone else in some way.
As much as I want my kids to learn that there are ultimately ramifications to their actions and choices, I don’t want that lesson to come at the expense of someone else’s happiness, self-esteem or self-worth.
Should my daughter choose to act with disrespect by bullying, excluding, insulting or otherwise hurting another child, I don’t want that child’s ego to suffer at the hands of my daughter.
I vividly remember my experiences as a child with mean girls.
For a long time (and even to this day) I harbored so many of those humiliating feelings from now seemingly insignificant days in elementary, middle or high school.
Those days may be (sadly) LONG gone, but I still have those feelings of shame, embarrassment and self-doubt every time I think back and recall a time I was treated badly by another kid.
When something like that happens to you, it can stick with you like you shadow.
I want to make sure my child has the chance to grow from this but being picked on or bullied as a kid can be immensely damaging to children of all ages.
I’ll feel compelled to do everything in my power to keep someone else’s child from remembering this as one of the most mortifying times in her life. If my daughter is the one inflicting harm on another kid, it’s my job as her parent to put a stop to it. Period.
One day, my kid will be on her own, but today, I have a hand in helping her understand these life lessons so she can learn from her missteps and I want to make sure I take full advantage of that while I still can.
I want to know if my daughter is the mean girl because I want to make sure she doesn’t stay that way.