The movie Mean Girls is one of the most accurate depictions of a girl’s world. If you’re lucky enough not to have experienced any of the bullies, know that something similar has happened to many kids worldwide.
As your kids grow up, they will make more friends and also lose some. They will also encounter mean friends and bullies. Thus, it’ll be good for parents to be able to identify whether their child is hanging out with a close-knit group of friends or a mean clique.
Here are several differences between the two groups!
Groups of friends
Friendships naturally form around things that people have in common. This is why sometimes there are kids who hang out with different groups of friends whether they are from the same club, liking the same music or movies.
While it’s great if everyone is close to one another, it’s also normal to be closer to one or two friends from within the group. Part of growing up is also to deal with friendship changes because sometimes when their interests change, they will make other friends too and might drift apart.
There will come a time when your kid may feel left out from hangouts but it’s usually not done intentionally. Sometimes there’s just not enough space at the venue.
To tell whether your child’s groups of friends are nice friends or just a clique of mean people, remember that groups of friends are supportive of one another. Kids in these groups generally accept the people in their group and are open to welcoming new friends.
They also accept each other’s differences and don’t force conformity just to stay with the group. In general, everyone is free to be themselves.
It is also important to remember that sometimes friends say mean things to each other but it does not mean they are bullying. Parents also need to be able to tell the difference between toxic and fake friends from those who are just having a bad day.
An easy way to spot a clique is that they make it clear that not anyone can join and be a part of their group. Cliques also focus on maintaining their popularity and status so they’ll try to make others outside the group feel inferior. As such, their behaviours cross over to bullying most of the time.
One of the ways cliques use to make others feel inferior is to alienate or leave out others on purpose from their plans or meetups.
Sometimes clique members also hurt the people in their own group by trying to fix or change them. As stereotypical as it sounds, it comes in the form of makeovers, dictating clothing choices, telling someone how to act and preventing outside friendships.
Another way to make outsiders feel inferior is by excluding well-liked kids who pose a threat to the clique’s leadership. The group will try to befriend the person’s closest friends as a way to isolate the person.
Cliques also do everything together such as lunching together, sitting together in class and hanging out together after school. If they do welcome someone new, it’s usually because they believe the person will serve some sort of purpose.
If cliques are that mean, how and why do kids get involved in one?
Kids are attracted to cliques for a sense of belonging and wanting to feel popular, cool and in control. Cliques are also attractive to kids who like to be in charge or thrive on control so cliques can be dangerous for kids who are more of a follower type.
So how can you help your child?
While every parent teaches their kids to be good people (I hope!), it’s also important to teach them to stand up for those who can’t.
It is understandable if they are afraid to stand up against a group. Even sometimes adults are afraid to do that but kids should know what’s the right or wrong thing to do.
If your child feels like he or she can’t help, they can either leave the place or befriend the person who was bullied or not treated well. Sometimes cliques will stop harassing someone who’s in a strong and close-knit group.
Welcoming the new friend may also help the person in many ways. With the rise of kids and teens feeling lonely and isolated, it’s good if they know there are people out there who actually want to be their friend.
Are there any ways you’ve helped your child with when they face bullies or when they help out another child? Don’t feel shy to share whatever that can help other families in the comments section!