Friday, September 25, 2009

It's a good thing we moved to Anchorage.

It got me away from the mean girls.

Tween and teen girls just do this thing. They are competitive. They turn on their friends. They pretend to be friends with someone and then tear her down. They talk. They text. They are just horrible to each other.

There are many books written on this subject, Odd Girl Out and Queen Bee and Wanna Bees being amongst the most popular. I have read them both. They are both incredibly disturbing books, in spite of their chapters on why this happens and how we can teach our daughters to cope with it.

This has become my issue.

In junior high school I became friends with Karen, Sara and Tracy. They lived on the same street and I was the Odd Girl Out. In high school we parted ways and I was best friends with Vickie, who ran hot one day, cold the next, had way too much freedom and introduced me to things that people who don't live in affluent suburbs don't experience until college.

And then we moved to Anchorage. Where I met up with Courtenay, Kelly and Michelle, who were as normal as you can be when you live in Alaska. It was a foursome without backstabbing and we shared the common threads of intelligence, theater and the goal of college in the Lower 48. We hung out with mostly boys, not surprising since we were teenaged girls and males outnumber females 3:1 in Alaska.

Fast forward to today. Dave and I have three daughters. We are obligated and it is our absolute honor to raise them to be nice, socially conscious women, and to make the most of their gifts. Words and actions are powerful and we tell them, "Use your power for good."

Eldest Daughter is 11 and in middle school. I've been chatting with the other middle school mommies and I am not liking what I hear.

Again, this is my issue.

I wish they knew what I know at 42: Girlfriends are a tremendous gift. Treasure them. Do everything you can to help them. You will laugh with them and you will cry with them. You will call them, completely hysterical, from the doctor's office when you learn you are having surprise twins. They will call you moments after their children are born and say, "This has to be quick. I still need to call my parents." They will take you to the ER in the middle of the night when your husband is out of town and they will stay up all night with your newborn twins and cook meals for your freezer so you can get eight consecutive hours of sleep.

At Starbucks a few years ago a woman spotted me reading Odd Girl Out and struck up a conversation. She told me about her 17-year-old daughter, and the things she does. This woman had DENIAL tattooed on her forehead as the things she said clearly pointed to her daughter being the Queen Bee. She told me, "She's a good girl. She gets good grades, plays sports. What's the big deal about TPing a few kids' houses in the middle of the night?! The mother of a classmate called me a few months ago to talk about how our girls interact at school and I told her to have her daughter develop a thicker skin." I restrained myself from slapping her upside the head. Just barely.

Again, this is my issue. And I am doing something about it. Stay tuned.


Polka Dot Moon said...

I worry about this issue for girls and boys.....I worry about this quite a bit.

I was the odd girl out quite a bit.....I went to 12 schools from K - 12; 4 being High Schools. Found myself by myself a lot. This is a serious issue. I think I'm gonna check out these books you spoke of!

Squirt's mom said...

I hear you! I feel like my little girl turned into a teenager overnight and I am not liking it! the boys, the texting, the backstabbing...not ready for it!

Think I can convince Mike to move to Alaska?

Paige said...

I was a mean girl. I have 3 girls that could be too. I need this! So glad you are my friend.

Neeracha T. said...

I didn't really have a mean girl thing, prob because I was in international schools with lots of expats and kids moving in and out. And not little schools with people who had known each other all their lives. And I vividly remember the hysterical phone call - in the car, while we were driving back from San Diego!

Ron Hutzul said...

...another book I need to read?!? Thank you for taking me along for the ride - I know that based on having known you, my little girl's life will be more tolerable, (by virtue of the fact that she'll have an more understanding and engaged Daddy to work through all of this)..

Kelly said...

Haven't read the books yet, but have been meaning to. I am amazed at how it suddenly begins with girls and it is such a natural thing for them to do. We saw it start last year.