Here’s a great 2-part story, shared with permission by a friend, about her young daughter learning to use her voice to stand up to gossip and cruelty:
So, this is a story that I hope brings a chuckle to you. My youngest daughter, L, deals with and comes home with a lot of girl drama in her class and yesterday began relaying the latest. As she started, I said I didn’t want to hear anything about these girls because it’s a waste of our energy to keep spending time on their issues. While she’s never their target, they triangulate and manipulate for their own purposes and put kids like her in uncomfortable situations. She quickly stopped me, “No, mom, you need to hear how I stood up for myself. Today, _____ started saying something nasty about ____ and I said, ‘stop right there—I am NOT a part of this situation’ and _____ shrugged her shoulders and walked away”.
With that one sentence she stopped hurtful, negative energy in its tracks and sent a very clear message to a master drama queen. And she felt empowered. We applauded her and she ran out of the room with my phone. She returned with the Wonder Woman theme song blaring and dancing, showcasing her strengths as a young girl facing down mean girls and their manipulations. It’s a big thing when a child learns the power of her words, that they alone are weapons against unkindness. Proud mama moment. May we all raise wonder women.
Part 2, 4-days later:
So the girl L stopped in her tracks last week used her friendship as a weapon the next day and made L cry. I’ve been giving her scripts to say all year because of the manipulative and triangulative behavior of this girl and another. So, today, the girl said something to L, hoping to get a reaction out of her. Eventually, L said to her, “I like friends who are respectful and show [school] pride” and the girl reacted negatively, saying “what, I’m not being respectful to you?” L responded, “well, you aren’t being very kind” to which the girl said, “well, I guess you’re not my friend anymore.” L shrugged her shoulders and said, “OK, I’m cool with that” ………
This is huge because L likes to be liked by everyone and it’s taken her months to be able to stand up and diffuse this girl’s intentions. I’m so very proud of her for handling it with words and am trying to show her just how effective they can be. I wanted to share in case you can use it somewhere. Each time she stands up for herself, she gets a little stronger.
My two cents:
I happen to love every ounce of this story, but my favorite part comes at the end when my friend noted: Each time she stands up for herself, she gets a little stronger. It is so true that each time we practice a skill, we become a little stronger and a little better at using it. Please remind your kiddos of this–especially if they try out a new skill or strategy and it doesn’t pan out perfectly the first time. Don’t allow them to become discouraged! Remind them that standing up for themselves and others in respectful, effective ways is like building muscle–they may not become strong overnight, but every bit of practice in speaking up makes kids braver, stronger, and more powerful.