friends forever
Something interesting has happened since my last post about middle school. I have received texts, emails, phone calls, Facebook posts and had real-live, face-to-face conversations (remember those?!) about one topic:

Mean girls. 

Though this topic isn't for girls only. Girls can be mean to other girls, they can be mean to boys, boys can be mean to girls and other boys, too. And it starts early these days -- well before middle school. Sometimes as early as second grade, sometimes even earlier.

This was supposed to be a quick, short post (ha! haha!), so I'll throw out a few things I've told my girls when they've come home upset:

  • There are just people out there (children and adults alike) who just aren't very nice. I remind them this isn't about them, it's about whatever that person is dealing with that day, or in their lives in general. Sometimes that manifests as not playing nice with others. 
  • Be kind without being a victim. 
  • Know the difference between tattling and making an adult aware of bullying, whether the bullying is physical or verbal, or both.
  • Understand that kindness breeds kindness, and the folks who are breeding the other stuff ... well, it catches up to them eventually.
  • Not long ago someone said to me that a true friend makes you feel better about yourself, not the other way around. Be the kind of person who makes others feel better about themselves ... that catches up to you eventually, too.
  • Remember, this too shall pass.

I know my kids aren't perfect. I am sure they have hurt other kids feelings, left other kids out, or stood by when they should have stood up for a friend. But I hope most of the time they think of how it feels to be on the other side and do the right thing.

What are your strategies for teaching your kids to deal with the not-so-nice kids? How do you teach your kids to be kind? 

The above photo is from the little house my husband built for the girls a few years ago. The "Friends" plaque was their decorative addition. 

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