When it comes to the memories I have from my middle school years, I tend to not think about them very often. I didn’t have a horrible middle school experience per say, but I didn’t have the best one, either. For a pre-tween girl, it’s a time in which your body is going through so many hormonal changes that you don’t know what’s real anymore. Mix that in with boys and THEIR hormones, mean girls and their social challenges, and you have a tornado of emotions that are all over the place. I mean, for some their middle school years can turn out to be the most painful period of their lives.
I recently came across an interesting blog from writer Lisa Barr of Girilla Warfare (if you needed a moment to read her blog title, don’t worry, I did, too). Lisa points out that the reason why so many little girls end up being hellish pre-teen brats is because we mothers are responsible for programming them that way. In other words, she says that parents often use a “Suburban Social Engineering” tactic in which we purposely leave out a friend because they don’t necessarily “fit in” to certain social groups. It sounds crappy, but I’m sure a lot of you out there know what I’m talking about.
Here are just a few examples that Lisa gives us:
I heard a disturbing story recently from a friend, and I can’t seem to get it out of my head. It went something like this … the camp buses were leaving for an overnight camp in the Midwest, and one Mom somehow had access to get on one of the buses before departure. She literally managed to rope off (save) an entire section for eight 11-year-old girls. She stayed on the bus while the “Chosen 8” boarded and sat in their “designated” seats. Another girl, a new camper, got on the bus, who was the same age, and asked if she could join “those” girls. The Mom responded: “I’m sorry, but it’s reserved” and then she got off.
Another scenario that I personally witnessed a few years ago was a close friend’s Middle-School daughter had organized a group to go “Trick or Treating” and was very excited about it. Two weeks before Halloween, however, another girl in her class (with whom she has no problems) decided to have a party and invited every girl in that group but THAT particular girl. In short, the girl who organized the “T or T” was left alone, with no plans for Halloween. Her friends, however, all went to the party, and not a single mother of those girls said, “Hey, my daughter has plans with X, can she come too?”
One Mom shared a story about how her daughter is best friends with a particular girl in her overnight camp, where they spend eight weeks together, inseparable, but when school comes around that girl “drops her daughter” because she is considered on the fringes of “The Group” — not an insider. The message that girl is getting is similar to Sarah’s, just the next step up: You are good enough for the summer, but not during school. See ya, in July.
Ugh, some of these situations are too painful to read, but unfortunately, I’m sure it occurs everywhere. And while I would hate to point any fingers, I do believe that children often look to their parents to be their role models and more often than not emulate them in behavior, too.
Tell us Hot Moms, have you ever experienced “Suburban Social Engineering?” What are your thoughts on the subject?