From The Confessional: Mean Girls Suck

by Karen Johnson
Eric O'Connell/Getty

We all knew them growing up. Maybe you were their target. Maybe you were one of them yourself. But rarely does any girl get through childhood and adolescence untouched in some way by the mean girls. And then, just when you think “Oh, good. I’m done with that bullshit”… NOPE. You find out that mean girls often grow up to be mean moms, raising the next generation of Regina Georges. And round and round we go.

It’s on us, moms, to break the cycle. We have to raise kind girls. We have to raise girls who include others, who lift each other up, and who don’t seek out opportunities to embarrass others and make them feel small. And it requires active, constant, parenting. Far too often parents don’t even realize they’re raising a mean girl until they find out their kid did or said something unkind and hurtful.

And since we all knew, growing up, exactly who the mean girls were (and since we still see “mean girl” behavior in grown ass women who never matured past middle school), our confessional is chock full of mean girl stories. Stories from women who are still hurting, 30 years later, and stories from moms reliving the horror as they realize that the same catty bullshit is happening to their own kids.

Is there a diplomatic way to say "actually your mom is a mean girl bitch with shitty skin" when her kids say she is a beauty and a Saint? After 15 years I'm tired of the flying monkeys.

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Can spot a bitch a mile away. The mean girls in DD’s grade (third) dress just like their grown up mean girl mamas- athleisure (LuLuLemon) and messy top buns. Told DD to kill them with kindness. Can’t believe the pettiness starts so young.

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My "friend" hasn't matured past 16. She still acts like she's a mean girl in high-school, except that she's just a frumpy middle aged mom.

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Church has the worst mean girls. Middle Aged Mean Girls. I wouldn’t even care except that their spawn might hurt my little girl’s feelings. Then my husband and I have agreed that the gloves will come off.

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Recognizing mean girl moms feels like a punch in the face, as their behavior takes you back the the horribleness of 7th grade all over again. And even more heartbreaking, they’re raising the next generation.

My stupid co-worker reported me today over such bullshit. Some people should not be in any position of any kind of authority over others. Hate the mean girls at work, I'll be outta there as soon as I can

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I hope the "mean girl moms" know how small they make me feel when they pretend I don't exist. When I'm standing right next to them. I hope one day they have to experience that feeling for themselves, and I hope they are overcome with shame.

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Is it worse that they leave me out on purpose or if they just don’t think about me at all? Mean Girls: 30’s version

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And sometimes we even feel the “mean girl” effect on us, as adults—when we’re excluded, or ignored, or we find out they’re talking about us behind our back. It still hurts just as much as it did back then.

I cut out all my toxic..drama queen..draining as fuck friends. I hate feeling so drained after hanging out with them. We’re in our 50’s and 60’s but they behave like high school girls. Plastic mean girls never outgrow it!

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A few of my female co-workers are freezing me out and I'm so relieved. They're mean girls and I didn't like being associated with them. I'm gonna call it a win.

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I had a friend who sent out a mass email about a friend in our mommy group's unibrow with a photo. Nasty mean girls don't end in high school. Cut ties with her, better off with no 'friends'.

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Honestly, the best thing we can do is cut them out. It’s not always easy to do, but if you can remove the mean girls from your inner circle (even if that means your inner circle gets very, very small), you’re better off.

SIL and MIL are a pair of fake, demanding bitchy mean girls. I’ll put up with them for DH’s sake, but after this weekend I am DONE subjecting my DD and DS to their bullshit.

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My mom and SM often behave like un-self aware, entitled 70-something mean girls.

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My first mean girl experience was as a kid being raised by my narcissistic mother. School was the least of my worries & I was jealous of the kids who actually wanted to go home at 3 o'clock.

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Under the sweet-humble-grateful mask SIL hides behind, is a self satisfied entitled, covert narcissist, closet mean girl bully. SIL's been to catty too me not to believe it. Somehow, it's twisted so I'm the "bitch", tho. She's exactly like my sister.

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The worst is when you’re related to mean girls—by marriage or by blood. You might still have to see them on holidays or feel the effects well into adulthood of how they shaped your upbringing. Hopefully you can channel that pain to inspire you even more to raise kind kids.

Looked up the mean girl from HS online -perfect man, job, kids, house. Haven’t seen her since graduation. Called her at work pretending to be a woman confessing to affair with her husband. Revenge only took 25 years.

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I still think about how the “mean girls treated me in college. I’m 35.”

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I let former HS mean girls friend requests sit in limbo on my FB account. No, you can't spy on my awesome life. Enjoy your mediocrity. You earned it.

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And if you’re still bitter and wanting to get revenge on that bitch who made your teenage years miserable, we get it. It can be hard to let that shit go.

Teen DD's friends dropped her because we don't let her socialize (because of covid). Heart hurts for her and mad at those mean girls.

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My 10 year old daughter had a friend that now treats her like shit. I wish I could punch the little brat in the face. My poor daughter keeps wondering what she did wrong. Nothing dear. The little girl is just one of those mean girls.

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Seeing DD8 cry about the mean girls makes me cry, I remember how it felt to just want to fit in. Still feel that way, ‘cause mean girls grow up to be mean women. Teach your kids to be inclusive and kind! It makes such a difference!

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A little mean girl was cruel to DD9 today. Trying to teach my girl about resilience and what true friends are, but really I just want to go slap the little brat who made my baby cry.

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The ultimate pain, however, is when mean girls hurt your kids. You know you need to let your kids navigate some of it on their own, like you did, but damn do you wish you could protect your baby from those little brats.

I hate being a mother. I don’t like the way my daughters are. They’re completely different than how I raised them. They are the mean girls from the movies. They hate each other and I don’t know how to stop it

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Today, I found out that my daughter is not only a mean girl, but a bully. Where did I go wrong? My heart is in pieces and I swear I didn't raise her like that.

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Today, I found out DD11 has been a mean girl at camp. Where did I go wrong?? I know everyone says "not my kid!" But I never expected her to be this way. So disappointed. I raised her better than that. I blame myself and I am sickened.

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Again, we cannot just assume our kids aren’t mean. Even when we do our best, our girls can get sucked into “mean girl” culture. We have to talk to them about bullying, get to know their friends, observe how they interact with their peers, and make sure they are kind and inclusive.

The ugly truth is that mean girls aren’t going anywhere. They’ll grow up, stay mean, and raise the next crop of insufferable mean girls. It’s on you and it’s on me to ensure that our kids aren’t a part of it. To ensure that not only are our kids not mean, but that they have the courage to stand up to those bitches and deflate the air in their balloons as well. It’s on us to talk to our girls about what to do when they witness bullying and to be upstanders, not bystanders.

It’s crucial, as parents, that we fight mean girl culture. Because all of our kids deserve better.