“Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of”…until they hit middle school. And then everything changes. They become mean. Cruel. Ugly. And no girl is immune to the ugliness: Whether she is the instigator or the victim, at one time or another, all girls experience it. And it’s a big, fat, growing pain.
It is a growing pain, thanks to social media. There is no leaving it behind. The ugliness is there all the time. Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram. Posting pics of hangouts: You’re not included. Verbal attacks. Name calling. Unflattering accusations. It’s there. It’s ALL there. 24/7. There’s no escaping it. Not anymore. And, it leaves a permanent digital footprint. For. Ev. Er.
It’s all a part of growing up. And, it’s a pain. It hurts when you’re the one excluded. It hurts when you’re the one under attack. It hurts when your squad turns against you. It’s painful. Very painful. Self-esteems are so fragile at this age. Hormones are all over the place. Trying to figure out who you are. What you are. Where you fit in. Sprinkle in the meanness and harmful behaviors and you have a recipe for disaster.
If I could go back and visit my younger self, here is the advice I’d give myself: Do not let the behaviors of others define who YOU are. Be true to yourself. When you do that, you will find your genuine friends and they will find you: The girls who’ve got your back no matter what. Your trusty squad through thick and thin.
So if you are a mom raising a girl (or more than one), know you are in for a wild ride. There will be easy days. There will be hard days. There will be excruciatingly hard days. It’s an emotional roller coaster. And it takes years to get off.
Sadly, I see these wretched behaviors at my age. And my mother’s age. And at all ages in between. No one experiences these “growing pains” and comes out unscathed. It contributes to who we are. It is a piece of us. A part of us. A part we always carry around. A piece of who we will always be. But just know you are not alone. We are all living it too, and we’re here for you. All of us. Your trusty squad.