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Empowering girls to stop them from being mean

 
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amother




OP


Post  Wed, Oct 30 2019, 3:34 am
I was thinking just now about why girls in school are mean sometimes. My daughter did something mean to a friend and her mother called me about it. Her daughter was really distraught.
When I spoke to my daughter about it, she was pretty embarrassed. She is not a mean girl, and she and her friend had thought of it as a "joke," even though I'm sure at some level they realized it wasn't nice. They were just thinking about themselves, not about how it would crush the other girl - they weren't looking to do that and didn't think about the outcome. They're 11 and in BY, btw.
So I'm deeply thinking about why they would do this and how to prevent a reoccurrence. Obviously we can't, but I wonder if things would change for the better if we focused on the incredible potential of each girl instead of on tznius and ancillary halachos, looking the right way and fitting in. I realize this is a pipe dream, but even if the focus was slightly shifted, and teachers and parents changed gears to empower their kids, telling them how much Hashem loves them and what each person can accomplish, they would gain confidence, stop being so depressed, and perhaps make better decisions.
Ok, just felt like getting that off of my chest Smile
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Oct 30 2019, 3:43 am
Empathy needs to be taught, and it needs to be taught constantly. Start at age 3, when they start to realize that hitting can hurt someone. As they grow, teach them not to say mean things, grab toys, push other kids around. Enforce concepts of chessed and tzedakah. Encourage them to be grateful for what they have, and to find joy in helping others.

If you can feel your fellow person's pain, you will be less likely to inflict it.

IMHO, schools can talk once in a while about middos, but they rarely go in depth about the importance of good middos, or enforce them on school grounds. More needs to be done, it really doesn't come naturally.
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amother




Crimson


Post  Wed, Oct 30 2019, 4:35 am
It's wonderful that you want to be part of the solution, and I am impressed by your creativity.

The word "empowerment" is thrown around so much, especially with regard to the development of girls, that we've forgotten what it means.

The bullies feel plenty empowered. That's the problem. They need less power and more self-restraint. They don't need to embolden themselves - they need to tune in to the feelings of others. We're so enthralled by self-esteem that we don't recognize how harmful it can be.

Educating for empathy can help, but it's hard. I wish you and your daughter much luck as you move forward.
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Ruchel




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Oct 30 2019, 4:54 am
Oy, no!
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amother




OP


Post  Wed, Oct 30 2019, 6:15 am
Thanks for the encouragement Smile
To clarify, the more people feel that every act they do has a consequence, because each individual is important, the more they will take stock of what they do. Because they matter, and so do their actions.
Bullies do they opposite. They are empowered in a different way - certainly not because they realize everything they do is important in a cosmic sense. They are empowered because no one is teaching them, no one is reigning them in and helping them channel their power.
Teaching middos is nice and probably somewhat helpful, but it won't make a change.
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amother




Crimson


Post  Wed, Oct 30 2019, 6:37 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Thanks for the encouragement Smile
To clarify, the more people feel that every act they do has a consequence, because each individual is important, the more they will take stock of what they do. Because they matter, and so do their actions.
Bullies do they opposite. They are empowered in a different way - certainly not because they realize everything they do is important in a cosmic sense. They are empowered because no one is teaching them, no one is reigning them in and helping them channel their power.
Teaching middos is nice and probably somewhat helpful, but it won't make a change.


Sorry, I wasn't trying to be discouraging. I just meant that the language of empowerment isn't right for this challenge. This is about learning to feel powerless, and that's tough for anyone.
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southernbubby




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Oct 30 2019, 8:03 am
As children develop, they reject behavior that was part of earlier development. For example, it is normal for a 3 or 4 year old to get upset if they lose while playing games. By age 7, however, they should now begin to understand that losing the game is part of playing. A seven year old who has not outgrown the previous behavior will be rejected by the more mature kids.
So part of empowerment is helping the immature child to mature and part is to teach the more mature kids how to be supportive of those who are slower to develop.
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amother




OP


Post  Wed, Oct 30 2019, 8:13 am
I wasn't being facetious Crimson!

and yes,Southernbubby, I totally agree with you
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amother




Tangerine


Post  Wed, Oct 30 2019, 9:37 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I was thinking just now about why girls in school are mean sometimes. My daughter did something mean to a friend and her mother called me about it. Her daughter was really distraught.
When I spoke to my daughter about it, she was pretty embarrassed. She is not a mean girl, and she and her friend had thought of it as a "joke," even though I'm sure at some level they realized it wasn't nice. They were just thinking about themselves, not about how it would crush the other girl - they weren't looking to do that and didn't think about the outcome. They're 11 and in BY, btw.
So I'm deeply thinking about why they would do this and how to prevent a reoccurrence. Obviously we can't, but I wonder if things would change for the better if we focused on the incredible potential of each girl instead of on tznius and ancillary halachos, looking the right way and fitting in. I realize this is a pipe dream, but even if the focus was slightly shifted, and teachers and parents changed gears to empower their kids, telling them how much Hashem loves them and what each person can accomplish, they would gain confidence, stop being so depressed, and perhaps make better decisions.
Ok, just felt like getting that off of my chest Smile


you sound like a person with values. Some of us are so busy making sure our kids are happy, comfortable, and worry so much about their feelings that we have turned them into selfish creatures. When women are selfish it often manifests itself in being mean.
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