It pains me that there are already mean girls in elementary school. I hate that I can't protect my sweet girls from everything. It is tragic that even starting at age 5, girls feel like they are in competition with each other. Instead of being taught that other girls are their allies, girls are being shown that they should feel threatened. Instead of being a friend to everyone no matter what, girls are instead choosing to make their friendships conditional. As in, do what I want all of the time or we can't be friends. Its sad that little girls who shouldn't have anything to worry about spend their time and their tears on people who are only going to get meaner. If someone is already a bully or a mean girl in second grade, imagine having to deal with that person in middle school. I would prefer not to, and I wish my kids didn't have to either.
I constantly tell my girls to choose kindness. Be a friend to everyone. You don't have to like everyone, but you still have to be nice them. Its not being fake to be nice to people that you don't like, its being a good person. Of course I don't like everybody on the planet, but this isn't high school, I'm an adult. I still have to be nice, and if I have to do it, then so do my kids.
There is a shortage of kindness everywhere, I don't want my kids to ever be an example of that. That's why I emphasize the importance of being nice. That's why I don't tolerate them even speaking to each other in a mean tone of voice. Saying what you feel is one thing. Saying hurtful things is another. Once you say something, you can't take it back, so you should make sure you mean it and don't make it mean.
Maybe the problem isn't that little girls are destined to be mean, but that no one is teaching them any different. No one is showing them that their actions have consequences. No one is modeling how you should treat your friends, maybe they aren't very good friends themselves. Children learn by example, so if all they see is negativity, that's how they act. That's how they will treat their peers, and they will end up hurting people who don't deserve it.
I'm choosing to teach my kids to be nice no matter what. I want them to be kind to people, even if that isn't what is given to them in return. I want the world that they grow up to live in to be filled with good people, so I'm doing my best to make sure that my contribution is just that: kind and honest people. They might be imperfect, but they'll never be mean.