Mean Girls Hurt Moms Too

She purposely hurt my daughter.

The story came out the other day, as we were driving somewhere in the minivan.

“Mommy, why would someone bend someone else’s finger back as far as it’ll go?”

Thinking she had just seen some kids goofing around, I told her that sometimes kids do dumb things like that to surprise an unsuspecting kid. They grab the finger, twist it back and then laugh at their victim’s shock and surprise.

I’m sure it happened to me before, once, because once is all it takes before you learn.

“Why do you ask? Did you see someone doing this?

“No. A girl at camp did it to me. . .And, mommy, it really, really hurt.” Her voice broke at the second “really”.

Last summer.

Last summer, a girl hurt her, and she didn’t say anything about it until more than seven months later.


There had been a few other things that came out about camp—a day camp we paid dearly for, that she seemed to love, that came with impeccable recommendations from friends and neighbors. I heard some things after the fact: a couple of girls that weren’t nice, who didn’t “let” Belly play with them, who thought they were better than everyone else. It seems a little stereotypical, but they were both blond.

What bothers me most is that she didn’t tell me, at least not right away. I’m heartened to hear that she did speak up to her counselors when the girls first started to exclude her, but I know that bringing in the “teachers” often just intensifies the “mean girl” treatment.

I had thought that kids had changed from my youth. Anti-bullying campaigns in school. Cartoons and children’s stories about being kind to others. Diversity classes.

And, yet, I keep hearing stories about kids deliberately hurting other kids, physically, verbally, mentally, often under the noses of adults.

I don’t want to put Belly in a bubble and keep her from being out in the world. Yes, we homeschool, but I want her to know how to handle these situations, to know that there will be people who meet her and love her, who want to be her friend, but there will also be some who don’t.

And, I don’t blame the camp for this happening. Mean girls are like cockroaches: they don’t ever really go away.

But, when it came time to re-enroll in camp, I let her decide. And, she decided she’d like to try something else this summer.

This is probably a good thing, because this mama wants to grab a couple of blond girls by the hair and shake them out of their shoes.


written in response to Mom-101’s heartbreaking post about a mean girl who dared to hurt the feelings of one of the cutest little girls I know.


  1. Mom, M.Ed. says

    When I hear things like this, it actually frightens me how easily I might resort to animal behavior in defense of my child.

    If Ben told me someone hurt him, I cannot say I would not drive to the child’s house and physically harm him.

    Scary, eh? You are a better mom than I–taking your thoughts to your blog instead of the mean girls’ craniums. :o)

  2. Yikes, I can really sympathize with you on this! My son had a problem with two kids consistently being mean and hateful towards him in 8th grade. They ruined his reputation, they made both our lives miserable and they caused nothing but heartache for six months that year.
    Every now and again, some of the made-up rumors come back around and my son has to deal with all the bad feelings again, two yrs later.
    It’s so heart-breaking to not be able to keep them in a little bubble of goodness and peace.

  3. 'cuz I'm the mommy, that's why! says

    I hated those little blond girls when I was a kid. They were ALWAYS mean to me. I feel for the first mean kid that starts in on my little one. He’s got a mean left hook.

  4. It always saddens me to hear about kids being mean to other kids. As a former picked on kid (hey, you try being the kid with BIG hearing aids), I don’t take too kindly to meanness.

    For mean kids, I make them write a list of 10 things they DON’T like about themselves. Then I remind them not to advertise another child’s weaknesses because they have weaknesses themselves. I hope it helps.

    And while there are anti-bullying laws laying around, they often don’t back up the schools. And the stories are often complex. It takes a LOT to kick a mean kid out of school (it has never happened in my school – just sayin). Especially in elementary school.

  5. Caffeinatrix says

    I’ve never been able to deal with those mean kids. Even when my oldest was little, they were around and I would glare at them when nobody else was looking because, children or not, they HURT MY BABY and I hated them for it.

    My daughter is also famous for not telling me about things until later. I’m constantly asking her “Why didn’t you tell the teacher?” She’s never been a kid that tells on other kids and dammit, I wish she was sometimes because some of those kids really need to be called out.

  6. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… Jerky girls suck. Mess with my Belly and I’ll push you in the mud.

    Unfortunately, kids are kids– mean crap and all, and this stuff is just part of the whole natural state of the universe. When animals see a weakened member of the pack, they usually eat it.

    I remember being good friends with two other girls. We would somehow rotate which two were ‘best friends’ and kinda nudge out the third. It would change a few weeks later. I can’t say I learned this behavior somewhere.

    But shame on parents for not doing more to foster a sense of ‘do unto others’ and ‘you reap what you sow’. That’s part of our daily lessons. At the same time, while I’m working on trying not to raise jerky kids, I want my kids to know how to stick up for themselves, to knock down those who try to put themselves above others. But I can’t say that will be easy or without tears.


  7. I’m sorry. I share your anger. I know those girls. My girl encounters them sometimes. And I encounter their mothers and fathers and then, hard as it is for me to believe, I have a tiny bit of sympathy for the girls. And then I get all angry about what they’ve done and the sympathy gets pushed aside.

  8. Subspace Beacon says

    Poor Belly. She’s been mulling that over for a while.

    Last month on vacation we were at a playground. Another boy ran up to my five year old and punched him twice in the stomach. My son just stood there in shock.

    I made a bee line for him and the other kid (who saw me coming and ran over to his dad — a mean biker dude who pointedly avoided eye contact with me, but grabbed his kid by the scuff of his neck and dragged him toward the parking lot) and the Ambassador burst into tears. Not because he was hurt (he’s got an older brother so he knows how to take a punch) but out of shock. It was his first time ever encountering a person whom he could not completely charm.

    Whereas my eldest (who spent one year at public school) knows all too well the fickle friendships and easy violence of the playground.

  9. Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas says

    Wow! This is tough situation. We don’t want to put our kids in a situation where they’re gonna get hurt emotionally of physically, but we need to let them learn how to manage conflict too.

    Personally? I would have cracked some skulls. But I’m a bad ass like that. 😉

  10. Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children says

    This is the part about parenting that most frightens me. I’m a mama bear through and through and I don’t know how I’ll handle mean girls. Having been bullied for 2 years, I feel sorry for the child that tries that junk on my kids.

  11. Sarah @ says

    What a heartbreaking aspect of childhood. If she didn’t tell you right away, at least she eventually told you.

    I wish these things didn’t happen.

  12. Gray Matter says

    Weird as it sounds when my son was born, (and I literally mean within hours of him being born) the thought crossed my mind that one day another child would hurt him, or embarrass him, or bully him. I burst into tears on the spot.
    Bullies are a horrible party of growing up–but like you said they do have learn to deal with all kinds.

  13. I hate that stuff. Poor Belly. This is a major reason for homeschooling for me. I know we can’t shelter them from everything but hopefully we can be there to knock those bullies out if we have to!

  14. I LOL at that statement “Mean Girls are like Cockroaches”

    That was perfect!

  15. Issas Crazy World says

    God that’s just horrible. I’m so sorry for Belly. Mean girls….sigh. Sometimes I think having all boys would have been easier.

  16. My little blondie’s feelings have been HORRIBLY hurt all week when ALL of the other girls in her grade (all four of them) suddenly started deliberately leaving her out. And my feelings ached, too. My poor baby.

  17. Posts like this frighten me. My kid is only five, and going to camp this summer, and she’s going to get older, and …

    Oy. I’m sorry that there are mean kids – I wish there weren’t.

  18. Mama Goose says

    Oh, this is heartbreaking. How could anyone be mean to such a cutie?!?

    Despite the fact that it was seven months later, I’m glad she brought it up now so you could talk about it together.

  19. It just breaks my heart for her that she’s been carrying that around for many months. Just shows you how fragile they are, and how easily someone can take a piece of their spirit. She’s lucky to have a mom like you who she can come to, even if it takes a while for her to feel ready.

  20. Mean girls can grow up to be very mean women, a lesson I was recently given again.

    And when one of my kids waits to tell me like that? It breaks my heart a little more than the story alone does. Luckily, our school is very intolerant of bullying, and the kids are taught acceptance from birth (we’re military…kids come and go constantly…it’s just a fact of life), but these things still happen. And when they do, it sucks.

    Just because I like to put my two cents in, you did a great thing in letting her choose whether to return to the camp or not. And letting her know she handled it well.

  21. mothergoosemouse says

    I swear that all blonde girls aren’t mean. I bet Tacy would love be Belly’s (and Jilly’s) friend.

    That said, I understand. My little blondie was told by a classmate – when she wasn’t even THREE – that she was ugly. It cuts to the bone, doesn’t it?

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