Has Anyone Had Experience with a School Program to Prevent "Mean Girl" Behavior?

Updated on June 15, 2017
J.M. asks from Santa Barbara, CA
12 answers

My daughter just finished 3rd grade and I have noticed a lot more talk about drama with classmates the last couple of months. Other parents have noticed that this cohort (3 classes) is a tough one with the girls. I would like to reach out to the principal and/or PTA about getting some kind of help for the girls (and boys) in 4th grade to build their positive social skills and peer relationships. Have you seen anything like this that has/has not worked? Thanks! **Edited to add, based on first two responses: I know they will be absolutely fine with no help, and that this is typical, but I believe that life can be better than fine with some help and education. They are with each other 7 hours a day for 7 years (minus summer) - why not provide some tools that can stay with them through middle school and beyond?

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answers from Oklahoma City on

3rd grade is HORRIBLE for girl drama. Most of my teacher friends will NOT take on a 3rd grade class at all. They'd rather quit.

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answers from Norfolk on

A school program for this?
I don't think I've ever heard of one.
How about talking with your daughter about ways to stay out of or shut down the drama?
If you see/hear a behavior you don't like, talk to her about what you don't like about it, and help her find other better ways that she can handle these situations as they pop up.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

At our elementary it starts in K with the weekly counselor visits to each class. She uses different ideas for each grade level.

Kelso's choices is a chart in every classroom and discussed frequently about making good choices, being friends and avoiding bullying.

By grade 3 there are boxes similar to suggestion boxes with notes so a child can anonymously report something.

By level 4-5, a bulletin board in in each hall recognizing friends who help, showing appreciation, etc, these notes are sometimes written anonymously but students are recognized.

It's also an ongoing thing at home. Very typically if you observe parents, you observe where the bully gets his/her behavior as well as the well mannered and easy going child.

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answers from New York on

Typical girls st this age.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

We have not seen this with our kids and their schools. I agree - it would be helpful. We see a lot of anti-bullying exercises, assemblies, videos, material, etc. at the schools in the early years. I don't think the kids necessarily associate bullying with the mean girl attitude or behavior you're referring to. They are thinking the kid who gets shoved up against the locker or picked on at recess by a bunch of mean children. The I'm your friend this day, but not the next .. kind of manipulative behavior doesn't seem to be covered at our school.

We talk about it home when it happens and try to get the kids more proactive by thinking ahead what can they do, rather than feel powerless when it does happen. But I agree - they could definitely talk about this more in school.

It doesn't just affect girls. My son was targeted at around age 9 by a group of girls that were just flexing their power at that age. He finally went and complained to the teacher - saying he wanted it to stop. Made him feel confident as opposed to just taking it in class. The teacher was not the most effective at dealing with it - I will admit.


answers from Santa Fe on

I'm not sure how you would single out all the girls in one class for a program. What about a program for the entire class? Or, are most of the girls in the class all in the same girl scout troop or anything like that where you can teach them all at the same time? My daughter's girl scout troop focuses on teaching different values like kindness and inclusiveness. I have not heard of anything like this being done at school, but any teachings on practicing kindness towards others is always a good thing, and I think boys and girls can benefit from it.



answers from Columbus on

I personally think that this type of thing needs to start kids start kindergarten. (It should be happening at home from time their infants, but we know that doesn't happen in every family.) Waiting until they are in 4th grade to build social skills and relationships is way too late. It should be part of a comprehensive program that is led by the school's guidance counselor.

I think that at our school it starts the very first week of school when teachers read the book 'Have you Filled A Bucket" to their new kindergartners and talk about what it means to be a bucket filler or bucket dipper. Then the school guidance counselor meets with each grade and class periodically throughout the year to discuss other age appropriate discussions, that are then reinforced by the teachers. The goal is to try to prevent or minimize that mean girl (or mean boy) behavior in the first place. I'll try to remember the program that they use as a framework.

Then in 4th grade, they have a special programs that 4th and 5th graders can participate in. There's a running club, strings/band, and student government.



answers from Grand Rapids on

I would suggest a program called Girls on the Run. Great program that our elementary schools run. Also, talk to your school social worker. They may know of different programs around. Some programs cost money but maybe it could be covered by a grant. I might add-addressing self esteem, empowerment, healthy minds can help with mean girl attitudes. Can't change someone, but giving girls tools to deal with others, may help with mean girls.


answers from Boston on

Today's TV programs and reality tv make bad behavior and gossip of girls look, cool. It's an uphill battle.



answers from Denver on

My dd just finished middle school and has spent countless hours in antibullying assemblies, talks and counselor sessions in the classrooms. The problem is that usually the offenders don't see their behavior has wrong or they rationalize it.
It really almost has to be handled on a case by case basis where the offender is told right at the time or as a result of a complaint.
My dd has experience with a girl who is usually the offender, but she is constantly telling everyone how she is bullied. Tough situation!



answers from Portland on

I am not familiar with programs, but did want to offer a book title which we (and others) have found helpful, esp. for girls. "My Secret Bully" by Trudy Ludwig is great for tackling the sort of social bullying girls often experience.


A web search shows that there are actually lesson plans/activities teachers or parents can use. The point of the book is identifying relational aggression and giving language to students who might not know how to talk about those feelings. So, while yes, this is normal, I know that if we can help empower kids just in giving them language, that's a start.



answers from New York on

Are you talking about bullying? There are lots of anti-bullying programs around now, look online to see what is in your area.... The statistics for youth suicide from bullying are shocking, having a prevention program is a great idea.

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