Is the 'Queen Bee' targeting your teen?Research indicates that the majority of popular girls achieve their status through beauty inside and out. The 'it' girls appear to have it all--looks, intelligence, and personality.
There are, of course, exceptions to this situation. There is a subgroup of girls who in contrast prove themselves via relational prowess. We call this relational aggressiveness. They achieve popularity through confidence and strategy. Queen bees establish themselves at an early age and their hive of followers dutifully buzzes around them.
Some call this category of female the 'mean girls.' This does not indicate that the gaggle of girls in the hive are all mean or lack empathy; in fact, the contrary is most likely more accurate. There is however safety in numbers. This means that group members may respond to the whims of its powerful leader in an effort to avoid her wrath. So what happens when your teen becomes the Queen's latest target? How would you even know?
When your teen is suddenly cast as the 'odd girl out' the experience can be devastating. The difficulty in detecting such a situation is that it often occurs with such subtlety, rarely reaching the proportions of what most would consider bullying.
Being banished from the queendom takes its toll on your teen's vulnerable self-esteem nonetheless; she maybe no longer welcome to sit with the hive at lunch, or hang out between classes or after school including weekends. If she is 'permitted' to hang with the hive, she is usually treated as the the Queen's personal lacky, the rest of the hive follows suit. The target is the butt of all jokes and constantly judged and criticized. If she can endure the ignoring and innuendo then she may just survive. In an undetermined amount of time the Queen will most likely move on to target someone else.
When this happens she will be fully expected to take her place back in the hive. This means that when the Queen targets the next victim she is wholly expected to participate. The relief of no longer being the target ensures that she will do what she must to survive.
While it may be difficult to accept that your awesome complex and empathetic teen could ever be part of a gaggle of girls who buzz around one leader, the situation is far more common than you can imagine especially for early teenage girls. This is because at these tender ages, the search for identity is just beginning and self-esteem is vulnerable. There is safety and security in numbers even if it means seemingly selling your soul at times.
So, what are the signs that your teen maybe a queen's target?
Here are a few hints:
1.) If your talkative teen suddenly seems to go silent about her day at school, if you pride yourself on the communicative relationship you have with your teen, she may be especially invested in hiding the situation from you. She wants to protect you from the truth because she knows you will want to do something in a situation that she feels is better off taking it's course.
2.) Does she suddenly have fewer plans after school or on the weekends?
3.) Does she act evasive when you inquire about her friends?
4.) Does she suddenly seem to be hanging around you or isolating in her room?
5.) Have her friends suddenly stopped coming by or calling?
If you are aware that your teen is a target, here are some thoughts on what you can do:
1.) Create opportunities for your teen to talk. If she is less than forthcoming let her know that you are aware that she may be having a difficult time with her friends.
2.) Offer an ear not advice. Her confidence has most likely been shaken. She needs support not necessarily direction.
3.) If she asks for advice work with her to come up with solutions. This will help her feel empowered at a time when she may feel helpless even hopeless.
4.) You can't handle it for her. She is probably tougher than you think. It is difficult to watch your teen suffer. Unfortunately this may be something she will need to manage on her own.
5.) Ask her what you can do and respect her response. That being said you will need to monitor the situation. Subtle exclusion or teasing can quickly turn to bullying.
This situation is perhaps one of the hardest for both you and your teen. Knowing what to do and say can render you both feeling powerless. In a perfect world the Queen Bees would be squashed before they began holding court with their hive. Until this occurs, we can only focus on instilling confidence and acknowledging individuality in young girls with the hope that a focus on empathy, understanding and acceptance will help them stand on their own.
More from GalTime:
- Why We Don't Protect the Bullied
- What to do When Your Daughter's the Mean Girl
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