Yesterday while I was at Nina's school being a model for her Halloween fashion show Nina pointed out a girl who had taken a picture of her in class without her knowing it, posted it online and made fun of her... of course one of Nina's friends saw it and showed Nina. Not only that, but the girl's mom even commented on the picture. Nina thinks that the girl's mom is my fb friend although I have no idea who she is. To that mom and and any other moms of "mean girls":
I am thankful every single day that I have a beautiful, confident, fabulous daughter who loves herself and doesn't care what people think about her. She took a long hard road to get to the place she is now and I'm grateful she's here. Women often don't gain their full self esteem until they're adults with children of their own and many never do. A big reason for that is girls are so harsh to one another.
Girls who feel the need to put others down in order to make themselves feel better are lacking true beauty and it shows. I watched this girl throughout the day yesterday as I sat in the hair and makeup chair. I saw how she interacted with those around her, how she looked and spoke to other girls. She may have been very Barbie-like on the outside, but I felt sorry for her.
The confidence and self love that shines through my daughter's eyes can't be faked or bought. She is gorgeous and it radiates from her. Shaved head, death hawk, bihawk, crazy makeup and all I have an extremely beautiful daughter who is noticed from a block away because she doesn't want to be like everyone else. She loves herself and wants to stand out and it shows. Her style isn't one I would choose and I don't always understand it, but I encourage her to express herself through her looks.
Making fun of her style didn't hurt her feelings, it just made her (and I) not like the girl who did it, but if this had happened to a less confident teenage girl, even to Nina a couple years ago it could have been devastating and had serious results. The teenage years are a tough time for girls. They're hard on themselves, they don't need other girls to be hard on them too and with the internet it's a lot easier for girls to be mean to each other in a very public way which makes matters worse.
I have teenager daughters... One is extreme in her looks and one is traditional. They are both normal girls. They make fun of other girls. They can be jerks... BUT when I hear them talking meanly about someone or putting people down I say something. I tell them to knock it off and quit being brats. I point out the good in others. I try to help them to see things they may be missing. As moms it is our job to teach our girls to treat each other with respect. They might laugh at me when I'm listing good qualities in someone, but at least my words are there as the Jiminy Cricket on their shoulder.
In school I didn't like the mean girls. I didn't want to be like them. I tried to be nice to everyone no matter what their social standing or how they looked. I danced every dance because the nerdy boys knew I wouldn't say no to them like so many other girls did. I was still pretty. I still made the cheerleading squad. I was still voted drama club president. I still had friends. You can be nice AND still have the full high school experience. In the years since facebook came about I've received messages from people I went to school with thanking me for always being nice to them in high school and I've received messages from people saying they're sorry for being mean in high school. Eventually we grow up (hopefully), which do you want your daughter to be?
Teach your girls to stand up for the outcasts, the crazies, the nerds, the freaks... They are some of the best people you can ever know who will grow up to do some of the most extraordinary things and beyond that, they are someone's daughter. My daughter may have been able to shrug off someone making fun of her, but it hurt MY heart to hear about it. Just like all the most important things our children need to learn, learning to be nice should start at home.