My Daughter is a Mean Girl: A Parent’s Guide to Handling Relational Aggression

daughter is a mean girl

Written and Published on November 11, 2023, by kidzoot team

As parents, one of our greatest fears is that our children may bully or hurt others. Recently, I’ve come to realize that my own daughter has been engaging in “mean girl” behavior and relational aggression. While it pains me to admit it, I know the best way to help her is to face this challenge head-on with empathy, wisdom, and care.
What is relational aggression? Often referred to as “mean girl” behavior, relational aggression involves social manipulation, exclusion, and damaging others’ social standing or friendships. Some signs that a child may be relationally aggressive include:
  • Gossiping about or spreading rumors about other children
  • Leaving others out of activities or social events on purpose
  • Telling others not to be friends with someone
  • Rolling their eyes, making faces or making rude gestures towards others
  • Using social media or texting to deliberately hurt or embarrass peers

As the parent of a relationally aggressive “mean girl”, addressing this behavior can feel overwhelming. But with patience and understanding, children can learn healthier ways of interacting. Here are some tips that have helped me handle this challenging situation:

Observe your child’s interactions carefully. Take note of how they treat others and look for signs of relational aggression. Having examples will make it easier to discuss specific behaviors that need to change.

Have an open, non-accusatory talk. Explain that you’ve noticed concerning behaviors and want to understand what’s really going on. Ask how situations made them feel without judgment. Build empathy on both sides.

Set clear expectations. Once issues are out in the open, jointly decide on respectful rules for interacting with peers. Make consequences natural and respectful if lines are crossed again.

Model kindness yourself. Children learn from watching their parents. Make sure your own words and actions display care, respect, and inclusion for all people.

Encourage positive friendships. Spend quality time with children your daughter genuinely cares about and treats well. Help strengthen those nurturing relationships.

Monitor technology and social media use closely. Many relational conflicts start or are exacerbated online. Set limits and privacy settings to curb digital drama.
Seek counseling or coaching. If mean behaviors continue after trying empathy and setting boundaries at home, working with a counselor can provide guidance tailored to your daughter’s specific issues and your family dynamics. Counseling demonstrates that you take this seriously and want to get to the root of problems.
Encourage positive hobbies and activities. Involvement in sports, arts, volunteering, and other group activities provides healthy social outlets and teaches teamwork while distracting from online or text drama. It also introduces your daughter to new peers with shared interests.
Lead by example in resolving conflicts respectfully. If you and your partner disagree or argue at times, make sure to resolve issues calmly and avoid put-downs, gossip, or silent treatments. Children repeat what they observe in close relationships.
Monitor her friend group carefully. While it’s natural for friendships to change as children grow, be wary if her main friend group seems to bring out negative behaviors or if she’s only hanging with the “popular” crowd. Here, quality is better than quantity.
Keep communication open and non-judgmental. Check in regularly about school, friends, and interests, and be alert for changes like moodiness or withdrawing. Let her know she can always come to you, even about mistakes, without fear of harsh punishment.
With patience and care, “mean girl” behaviors can be redirected to more positive outlets. The goal is to raise a compassionate, well-adjusted daughter—not a perfect one. Please let me know if any part of my response needs clarification or expansion. I’m here to help further if needed.



Follow Us on Twitter

Read More Amazing Blogs

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *