Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The "Most Popular" Girl

Why is it that the "most popular" girl is still the one who pokes fun at others and gets a laugh instead of the one who is kind and says a kind word about everyone.  As early as second grade, even earlier in some cases, our children are receiving the message from their peers that they are not good enough just as they are.  Often, it is one girl telling another, "you're too this or not enough of that."  What is this all about?  Why aren't girls bonding in their femininity?  Why are they not building each other up instead of breaking them down?

In one of our many discussions, I explained to my daughter that bullies are often unhappy with themselves and often try to make others feel badly.   I  also taught her that "two wrongs don't make a right."  So, to reply with unkind words would not be appropriate.  Just as we had rehearsed, her recent response to being teased was, "I'm sorry you feel badly about yourself."  To which the other girl replied,  "What do you mean by that?"  So clearly, the "bully"  also needs to understand what her actions are revealing about herself.

Even when we constantly tell our children how great they are, they still want so much to be accepted by their peers.  How do we teach that self-acceptance is the most important thing?  It is to provide a safe haven...a loving place that they can return to.  Confidence is often born out of this sense of security and a freedom to express all of what they feel; even when it is not always what we as parents expect or would like to hear.  It is necessary that we help our children live their lives connected to the heart of who they are.  In doing so, we allow them to stand firm and find their own voice. 

Though we cannot protect them from every hurt, we can teach them valuable life lessons. They need to be affirmed in who they are and know that they are worthy and deserve to be respected in their uniqueness.  Then,  maybe one day, the kindest girl will be the most popular one.

Love to everyone,

Kathleen O'Malley, DC


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