The piece below outlines some important points that affect us all at some stage.
Male or female, most of us have experienced challenging social moments, but much like ‘boys will be boys’ has excused male violence, the term ‘mean girls’ has become standard to excuse female emotional warfare and bullying.
This toxic behaviour can make parents feel powerless but a great place to start is by thinking about how you discuss your friends and other people – particularly in front of your children.
Usually we don’t realize that we rarely mention good qualities in our friends because in our minds it’s a given – and discussing things that disturb us about others is a natural way to release stress. But we need to be aware of our chat – if your child only hears the challenging parts of your friendships/others – they will normalise negativity in their own relationships. The behaviour of parents, caregivers and cultural input are setting the example for children to follow. Remember the saying ‘Children don’t do what you say – they do what you do’ ….studies have consistently proven this to be true. With programs like Real Housewives, The Bachelor and many others that regularly portray these toxic ‘friendships’ as entertainment – it becomes a narrative telling your children that this behaviour is ok and sets a terrible standard for female friendships.
It promotes the idea that all women are mean and bitchy when really they’re scared and insecure.. and very much in need reassurance and support.
Something to consider, but if you’re speaking badly of others in their home, AND it’s on their TV .. AND it’s happening around and to them – simply telling children how they should behave and what the world should be like.. may be the equivalent of just another fairy tale.
This article gives you some great tips on how to change that behaviour – and who knows, hopefully it may help your own friendships too.
Sending love, kindness, and compassion to the frenemy impacted.