Meet the real mean girls at your kid’s school: the moms

  • By Angie Wagner Associated Press
  • Monday, June 29, 2009 1:16pm
  • Life

The parents were chatting about what the kids should wear for “match your friends day” when one mother mentioned that she didn’t think some of the other moms would want their daughters dressing like hers.

She didn’t think they liked her daughter.

Her daughter is 5.

It seems crazy, but my daughter’s kindergarten class is already beset with mama drama, mostly from the mothers of girls.

It’s giving me flashbacks to junior high school when I worried about getting into an argument with my friends and not having someone to sit with at lunch.

Only this time the mean girls are quite a bit older: It’s the moms who are cliquish and make rude comments about children. I’ve overheard one mom critiquing another child’s handwriting.

“What happens is they don’t realize their behavior,” said Michele Borba, parenting expert and author of the upcoming book “The Big Book of Parenting Solutions,” due out this fall. “Everything their kids do becomes hyper-competitive. Unfortunately, it only escalates as the competitions get tougher.”

As my child heads into elementary school, Borba predicted the mama drama will only get worse.

Barbara Stevens, a Henderson, Nev., mom of a 15-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy, has found that moms are critical of just about anything: art projects, who got the best teacher gift, who did the best class party.

“It’s always that group of moms. Most of the time it’s indirect (drama). The competition is always there,” she said.

And gossipy moms make for gossipy kids.

Borba said the clique mentality is already present by third grade. (It’s our club and you can’t join.) Inevitably, a parent’s behavior will trickle down to the child.

The good news, Stevens said, is that by high school she doesn’t see the parents as much at school. But by that age, the teenagers have taken over the gossip.

“When people are gossipy about kids, I just try to ignore it,” Stevens said.

That’s what I have been trying to do as well, but sometimes it’s hard not to be a bit surprised by the comments. One mom whispered that she would gladly pay the tuition for a child to switch schools. I think it was a joke, but I’m not sure.

“You’ve got two options: Are you going to step up to the plate and become one of them or be the integrity model?” Borba said.

She said moms need to seek out other like-minded moms. And don’t be afraid to speak up and say something like: “You know, I feel uncomfortable talking about other people’s kids.”

So if this is kindergarten drama, what’s in store for us in a few years? Thankfully my daughter hasn’t picked up on any of this.


Angie Wagner writes on parenting issues for The Associated Press.

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