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Mean Girls in Junior High, High School, and Adulthood: Why Teaching Your Daughter to Deal with Them is Essential


When my twin daughters entered middle school, they encountered mean girls on a new level. The exclusion, gossip, and emotional manipulation were shocking and challenging for them. Night after night, our conversations revolved around how to handle these situations, manage their emotions, and stay true to themselves. I emphasized that mean girls would always be a part of life, but they didn't have to let these encounters define them.

This ongoing dialogue gave them the resilience and confidence to navigate these difficult experiences. It's not to say as they will now enter 8th grade, we don't still have challenges, but the conversations around this situation are very different now. The girls have learned to empathize while keeping boundaries and protecting their emotions.

Why Addressing Mean Girls Matters:

Mean girls can significantly impact a young girl's self-esteem and mental health. Their behavior often includes exclusion, gossiping, bullying, and other forms of emotional manipulation. Understanding that these encounters are a part of life and learning how to deal with them constructively can empower your daughter, helping her develop confidence and emotional intelligence to serve her well.

The Lifelong Presence of Mean Girls:

Mean girls are not confined to junior high or high school hallways. They often appear in various facets of adult life:

  • Workplaces: Professional environments can be breeding grounds for mean girl behavior, with colleagues engaging in office politics, cliques, and backstabbing.

  • Social Circles: Adult friendships can sometimes mimic high school dynamics, where exclusion and gossip remain prevalent.

  • Gyms and Community Groups: Even in places meant for self-improvement and socializing, mean girl behaviors can surface, making it essential to handle them gracefully.

Seven Strong Things to Instill in Your Daughter

  • Why: Confidence is the foundation of resilience. A confident girl is less likely to be affected by the negative opinions and actions of others.

  • How: Encourage her to pursue her passions and celebrate her achievements. Remind her regularly of her strengths and unique qualities.

  • Why: Understanding others' emotions can diffuse tension and help navigate conflicts.

  • How: Teach her to consider why someone might act mean, fostering compassion instead of immediate defensiveness.

Healthy Boundaries
  • Why: Boundaries protect her emotional well-being and prevent others from taking advantage.

  • How: Help her understand what behaviors are unacceptable and how to communicate her limits assertively.

Effective communication
  • Why: Clear, respectful communication can prevent misunderstandings and confrontations from escalating.

  • How: Role-play scenarios with her to practice expressing her feelings and standing up for herself without being aggressive.

Conflict Resolutions Skills
  • Why: Knowing how to handle disagreements constructively is crucial in dealing with mean behaviors.

  • How: Teach her problem-solving techniques and ways to seek win-win outcomes in conflicts.

Support Networks
  • Why: A strong support system provides emotional backing and practical advice.

  • How: Encourage her to build and maintain healthy friendships and mentor relationships. Be a reliable source of support for her.

  • Why: Resilience helps her bounce back from negative experiences and continue moving forward.

  • How: Share stories of overcoming challenges and emphasize the importance of persistence and a positive mindset.

💥 Bonus
  • Share your experiences, back when you were younger and currently. I have conversations with the twins all the time about the mean girls I had to deal with in my adolescence as well as the mean girls I do and have encountered as an adult.

  • Explain to them how you handled it back then, what you would have done differently now knowing what you know and how you handle it today as a grown-up.


Mean girls may be a part of life, but they don't have to define it. By teaching your daughter these seven strong skills, you prepare her to survive encounters with mean girls and thrive despite them. She will carry these lessons into adulthood, facing challenges with grace, confidence, and resilience. Empower your daughter today, and watch her navigate the world with the strength and poise of a true warrior.


Written By: Suzi Freeman, Founder of Teen Warrior Academy where we specialize in helping teens and tweens build confidence, resilience, and emotional well-being through various programs and workshops. Whether it's handling mean girls, developing leadership skills, or finding their tribe, we empower young people to thrive in all aspects of their lives.

You can visit Suzi Freeman's personal website here.

Is your daughter a mean girl? Here is a quick article on that topic from a Dad's perspective: Read Article Here!

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