Mean Girls and Boys

mean girls

They exist. They impact our kids. But what do we do as parents? I was once told an axiom that has helped me personally and played a large role in what I have taught my kids on the subject. “Hurting people hurt others.” Think about it. How many times have you personally been the undeserving recipient of wounds from people? I suspect more than you care to remember. But it is different when it is our kids. You can hurt me all you want, but do not mess with my kids…right?


But perhaps what we have is another great teaching opportunity for our kids. Teenage girls can be ruthless individuals with their words. Many times, this is just a defense mechanism designed to deflect attention away from an insecurity they may have. Boys can be bullies, and while the dynamics at play may be different than with girls, the behavior is usually rooted in something at work in the bully’s life. Having dealt with disciplining students in a school setting over the past 15 years, I can tell you there is almost always something going on behind the scenes. Often, there are dynamics at home that make school a place for hurting kids to release the emotion they cannot express at home.

So what to do?

I would never promote a parent vacating their primary responsibility of protecting his/her child. That is our most important job. But there are always minor issues that come up that we will want to walk our kid through in order to teach them how to deal with difficult people. If that is the course of action we decide to take, there is one word we need to drive home to our kids.


If it is true that hurting people hurt others, than perhaps a measure of empathy is in order when dealing with these difficult people. Perhaps, Paul said it best in Romans 12:14-21:

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another…Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all…To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

If we can be successful here with our kids, we have equipped them with a lifetime gift of learning how to deal with people and may just shed some of the light of Jesus Christ in the lives of some needy people in the process.


Until next time…


About Jeffrey D. Potts, Ed.D.

Raised on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, Jeff Potts, Ed.D., grew up learning the importance of hard work and family values. A graduate of Baylor University, he has master’s degrees from two universities and earned his Ed.D. in teaching and learning from a fourth institution. Potts launched his pedagogical career in the 1990s, working full-time with students and parents. READ MORE→