A Girl’s Right of Passage

5th grade girls are mean.  There is no denying it.   Girls can be nasty.

I had hoped, to some extent, to avoid the 5th grade girl syndrome.  It isn’t just 5th grade girls, once it starts the nastiness continues through high school and college in a never ending cycle.  It only takes one person to break the cycle but most girls are not self-assured enough to do it.  Up until today Rachel has avoided it.

It could have come out of any preteen novel or sitcom.   One girl, trying to be cool, repeatedly snubbed, teased, and put down her same age/same interest friend, for the sake of older, cooler girls who were actually using her because she had a cool thing.  This treatment went on all afternoon though I only learned of it towards the end when it got bad.

Rachel has encountered it before, at Sunday school, but not so outright or blatant and not nearly so straight out directed at her.  She came to me and cried.  It broke her heart to find that someone could treat a friend like that.  As a mom I wanted to cry with her.  I had been in that place many, many times and hated it and hated that another girl would treat my daughter in such a way.

I dropped her siblings off at home and took her with me to visit my mom and then my dad. Along the way we talked.  At first she was hurt but as she worked out what had happened and why she understood. She also realized that there had been warning signs. She figured it all out including ways to recognize it and  deal with it in the future.  She matured significantly in those few hours.  This is a big deal for my extremely extroverted and not overly sensitive child.

Both my husband and I felt the urge to take her for ice cream, because that is what you do when a child hits a milestone.   Since Rachel can’t have regular ice cream we opted for a small celebration of her new found maturity–she and I dressed up and went to our favorite Chinese place and then to the mall for some shoe shopping. 🙂  While out we talked about a lot of growing up things.  I am shocked to find that this small episode stemmed multiple conversations about relationships, marriage, divorce, and other mature subjects. It also took our relationship to a new place where  she thought things through, worked them out, and bounced them off me instead of me telling her what to do.  We laughed together and had fun on a different level than we have in the past.

She still has a ways to go but this little girl is on her way to becoming a young lady and I am very proud of how she handled herself today.