You would have more friends if you weren’t so bitchy.
Said by my 5 year old daughter to the girl at the McDonalds playground asking why none of the kids would play with her.
According to Mrs. Dalrock, the little girl in question had previously falsely accused each of the other kids of pushing her down and had generally behaved like a brat. As you might have already guessed, we’ve since advised our daughter about when this kind of honesty is appropriate.
It really is interesting to watch young girls and boys play though. Contrary to the myth so often sold in our culture, little girls tend not to be very nice to each other. Susan Walsh hinted at this in her comments to Old School Cinderella:
I’ve read a lot of criticism of the sanitized fairy tales that Disney produces – they create a set of expectations that is quite harmful to young women. The original Cinderella, for example, told the truth about female intrasexual competition in a way that Disney just glosses over.
We were at a local kids themed pizza parlor for our daughter’s 5th birthday not too many months ago and I saw exactly how this can play out. Our daughter is very friendly and excited to play with other kids, and unselfconsciously went up to the other kids her age and introduced herself. The little boys were delighted to have another kid to play with, and they invited her to play on the giant monster truck or crawl through the suspended tunnel system. But the little girls were very snotty. My wife has wisely advised our daughter not to take this kind of attitude to heart, and to find a nice boy to play with if this happens. This is what our daughter did without skipping a beat.
She started kindergarten this week, and today told us of a bratty girl who came up to her and told her her necklace was ugly and she should throw it away. According to our daughter, she just shrugged it off and went to build things with blocks with a little boy.
This seems like the best strategy to me, but it has me wondering what she should do as she gets older. I think this is easier for a son than a daughter. They don’t offer classes in bitchy jujitsu, and with a boy the dangers will come not from his friends but his enemies. For girls it is her female friends she has the most to worry about. And this doesn’t really get better with age, at least not for quite a long time. One thing she has going for her is a mother who isn’t blinded by delusions of some grand sisterhood (of either the yaya or traveling pants variety). After all, my wife was the president and founding member of the no girls allowed club in grade school.