Inept, unskilled or over-protective mothers sabotage their daughters.
Almost all the women who’ve interviewed me on radio and TV or who’ve called in with comments have said that their mothers told them to rise above mean girls, to be nicer and kinder to bullies, to be nice because the mean girls were being bullied at home, to feel sorry for the bullies because they had low self-esteem or to simply forgive mean girls as a spiritual thing to do.
That’s bad advice; those methods don’t stop real-world bullies and mean girls. Those mothers trained their daughters to be easy targets and victims. Those grown daughters still bear the wounds and scars of being hurt and victimized while not being allowed or knowing how to defend themselves.
In addition, some over-protective mothers said that they’re home-schooling their daughters because they were bullied at school. There are many good reasons to home-school children, but I think that’s not one of them.
Of course we don’t throw our children into deep water and risk their drowning. First, we teach them how to swim. Everything I say also relates to fathers and sons.
So what can mothers do?
If you’re fearful and protect your daughters in a cocoon, you’ll create problems for them when they grow up. Don’t make being a victim into a multi-generational problem. The fear they sense will lead them to think they’re weak, fragile and incompetent. They’ll develop anxiety and low self-confidence and self-esteem. They’ll be naïve and unskillful and, therefore, easy prey for abusers and predators in their adult love life, with friendships and at work.
Teach your daughters that the real-world has predators and also teach them how to recognize bullies. Overt bullies are easy to recognize. Also, teach them the early warning signs of stealthy, covert bullies and mean girls.
Teach your daughters how to stop school bullies individually – verbally and physically. Predators will misinterpret their kindness and offers of friendship as weakness and an invitation to abuse them more. Teach your daughters techniques of increasing firmness to get bullies to stop or to get away from them. Teach them how to rally their friends to help them.