Lessons from the Movie mean Girls for Parents of Girls

Anyone who saw Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls or who has experienced the negative consequences of girl-driven cliques first hand knows just how hurtful “mean” girls can be. Gossip and rumors run rampant among cliques of adolescent girls who often rely on manipulation as a social tool and resort to destructive means of expressing themselves among other members of their respective peer groups.

Fortunately, parents can play a huge role in helping their daughters survive these tumultuous and uncertain years. As parents, you serve as the primarily role models for your children so ideally, you should lead by example. Sit down with your daughters and have an open and honest discussion about your values as a family and your individual life agendas.

Parents should undertake the responsibility of teaching their children how to be sympathetic towards others and their individual emotions. Teaching girls to be supportive of each other rather than competitive with each other will foster not only a stronger female bond between girls, but it will also better prepare them for real life situations where they will be required to lead or follow in team-centered tasks.

Encourage your daughters to engage in social settings. Exposure to a wide variety of social networks will teach young girls acceptance of all people, respect for differing opinions, and will ultimately boost their individual self-confidence by showing them how to be confident but respectful in social situations.

Girls with high self-confidence are more prepared to use their unique strengths and weaknesses in appropriate, healthy ways to assist those around them rather than use other people’s weaknesses to advance their own agendas.

Most importantly, be sure that your daughters recognize the importance of being accountable and responsible for their own actions. Don’t help them finagle or manipulate themselves out of sticky social situations between friends. Remind them that true friendship is a two-way street that involves encouragement, support, and trust between individuals who respect each other, despite differences.

Overall, it is important to remember that “mean” girls typically suffer from low self-esteem which essentially drives their destructive behaviors. As a vehicle for acceptance among their peers, these girls will conform in order to garner a sense of belonging which is certainly not a priority if they have already established high self-esteem and are comfortable being themselves among individuals with differing opinions.