Girl Wars

caity by tara 2
This is for all you parenting “experts” out there.

I was WONDERING when I would get a call.  I had been quite bemused in the fall, when Caitlyn told me that her her BFF and her MORTAL ENEMY were being ‘counselled’ on whey they were having trouble getting along.   I thought it was a bit odd that the girls were doing this without parental consent or discussion, but thought ‘okay,  if she is comfortable with it, we shall see.’

The kids told me that their school has a strict policy about everyone getting along and does these sessions with many kids.  I thought that was very optimistic and unrealistic.  Some kids just don’t get along.

I think this is the case with Caitlyn and HER MORTAL ENEMY (HME).   They used to be friends when they were all together in Kindergarten and Grade one.   HME had had Caity over for playdates and she had attended birthday parties here.   I had noticed that she was a tad sassy and headstrong, but accounted for this being due to her being cared for by an ancient non English speaking relative and some other one’s who were not her mom or dad.

Everything fell apart in the fall when Caity’s BFF and HME were put in a different class from her.   She begged me to have her moved, but being that her BFF is a tad flaky I thought that Caity would do okay without the distraction in class.   I was wrong on that part, for so many reasons.   Poor Caity has been saddled with a split class filled with boys with issues.  Issues that take up much of the teachers time and I really think any education has gone totally out of the window this year.  Caity has not enjoyed Grade two and it was probably partly my fault for not going to bat for her.

In regards to her BFF, I figured they would be fine as they see each other on weekends, talk on the phone, etc.  I also thought lunch and recess would be time enough for them.  But not so.  From what I have gathered the HME was quite happy to see Caity and her BFF split apart and has fought to keep them apart…using the usual evil girl exclusionary tactics.   Caity is a tough chick though and has been handling it all quite well for the most part.

But not so well that the playground supervisors and then the teachers noticed how more and more wars were being fought with these three in the centre of them and Caity’s brother not far away as he is wont to defend his sister.   Enter counselor without parents permission. Counselor has apparently been trying to talk to all three girls about ‘getting along.’  This has not been successful as each discussion seems to dissolve into a who said what and who is meanest.

Caitlyn says she has tried to speak to HME but nothing much has changed and now ….FINALLY a call from said counselor……things are getting worse.  NOW the counselor wants to try one on one sessions and also wanted to hear the parents point of view.  Funnily enough I have not heard one word about any of this from the BFF’s mom.   This alone I find interesting, especially when overhearing phone conversations between the two girls where BFF is accusing Adam of being a bully and the reason for not wanting to come over.

Adam and Caity said they are both upset by this as he feels he has done nothing except show is dislike for her and just said he wanted her to stay out of his room. Fair enough.

Caitlyn is very upset by all of this and feels very defensive too.  She feels the blame is being pushed on her.   While I do know that her strong willed personality can clash with others, I genuinely believe that she is trying to be mature and fair to all involved and is bearing the brunt of the issue because of that.

I will be very interested to see what the counselor gets from the other parents and kids and I will know have to talk to C’s BFF’s mom to see what she thinks about it all.

I try to teach my kids to sort things out for themselves, and I think they have given the old college try in this matter.  But the ripples of this three’s dispute is effecting more kids and Caity now feels she has no one to play with at school.  This makes me very sad.

I feel quite guilty too as with Adam I was all over the school on all sorts of issues….very helicoptery.   I felt he needed me to defend him at every turn.    He seems to be handling things fine now by himself, but I hated either the weird report comments or his slumped shoulders after school and was constantly demanding this or that from the teachers.

I haven’t done that with Caity as  I always felt she was stronger and better able at handling issues about friends and school work.  And she is tough…but I think now she feels that people don’t have her back and that isn’t true.

I need to make it up to Caity and also need to help sort all of this out.

Why are girls SO mean.  As the counselor said……boys ‘issues’ tend to be more overt and obvious….where the subtle cruelty of girls can be missed by supervisors and teachers.

Grade two just seems so young for all of this to be happening.   I think the school is as bewildered by it too.

I would love any ideas from the experts out there.    I hate seeing the winter session starting on such a negative note already for her.

About Kerry Sauriol

Mother, Blogger, Social Media Consultant.

Comments

  1. I have two girls 16 years apart – happened with the first one and the second. However, eventually they found their own ground and their own niche and were far happier. I know what you mean about wanting to dive in and sort it out / stand back and let them sort it out for themselves. I’m on that wobbly fence too.

  2. We’ve been dealing with those mean girl issues since grade 1. Mostly my girl (who is now in gr. 3) is not interested in spending a lot of time with the crowd of mean girls in her class. She has a few nice girlfriends and occasionally tussles with the others. The one she’s had the most issues with is the type of girl who is really very smart and extremely opinionated. She tries to show her “maturity” by putting others down and appearing to be so much more grown up than the other girls. Luckily I had her mother’s email address. After my daughter had had about half a dozen run-ins at school with this girl (several of which her wonderful teacher observed and had sit down conversations with my daughter, mean girl and others who had been casualties of mean girl) I emailed the mother and tried to explain, without being too in-your-face, that my daughter was extremely upset by the girl’s unwillingness to listen when my daughter tried to explain her hurt feelings and called her names instead of apologizing. The mother responded fairly well. She was surprised, but allowed for the fact that her daughter might not be perfect. I felt she did make some excuses for her (ie. she thought her daughter was being influenced by other mean girls in the class when her daughter is actually one of the ringleaders, in my opinion). But she said she would talk to her daughter and then a week or two later she actually checked in with me to see how my daughter was feeling about things. I thought she handled it as well as can be expected and in my opinion, the best thing that came out of it is the mean girl realized that she can’t get away with treating others that way. That she will be found out and her mother will not allow it. I don’t intend on fighting my daughter’s battles and she tried to work through it on her own for a few months. But at some point they do need moms and dads to help sort it out. That said, I’m a big chicken when it comes to in-person confrontations and email was much easier for me. Good luck with your situation! My best advice is to make sure the other parents hear you admit that your daughter has likely also made mistakes (even if you don’t really believe she has) so that they feel a little less like their child is being attacked. It’s so easy to bring out the mama-bear in others. :)

  3. I agree with Shannon’s take on things. As much as it’s important to teach kids to sort things out for themselves, it’s also important to step in at the right time. Keeping the guilt about you feeling like you haven’t been there enough and the blame and fault finding are really important, too. Although this situation hurts the kids involved it’s a great learning opportunity for Caity that people change and just because they change doesn’t mean that you’re to blame or that there is anything wrong with you. She can be very proud of herself for wanting to talk it out with the other girl – whether or not it works is out of her control. All she can really control is her own reactions, etc. There are kids who break the rules – no question. There are parents who break the rules. In fact, adults break the rules all the time – but that doesn’t mean those kids and parents who don’t break the rules are to blame. It’s important to realize that sticking to your own values and standards for who you want to be and how you want to show up in the world is what gets you through this stuff in the end. For kids it’s more of a roller coaster because they are always learning who they are and who they want to be. Talking to her about her strengths and getting her to imagine how she wants things to turn out can help – and then helping her to focus on all the little things that are going well and towards what she wants. There are also wonderful emotional management tools that both kids and adults can use to deal with things. Thought Field Therapy or Time Empowerment are a couple. EFT is another.

  4. I feel there is that level too that we are more aware of what we want for our out daughters ‘independence’ .. Boys are still a mystery to me I guess!!

    I know you have got Caity’s back. It’s tricky to find a way to keep that spirit of self contol there in her while she is SO YOUNG and in a challenging social scene. And yes those girls have a bit of a scene going there.

    We had some help from a school counsellor last year. I find it odd. Mostly since I just had not sense of elementary school ever needing counselling staff.. it was hit and miss. I just milked it for a bit of flexibility and change of pace for N. last year.

    And HEY she had a really annoying split too. My heart out to ya as ever.

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