Conquering the mean-girl phenomenon

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Conquering the mean-girl phenomenon

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There’s almost always a ringleader in a group of tween girls. We call that the Alpha Girl. That’s just the dominant personality in the room. And as a mother what I tell my daughter is it comes from insecurity. Typically, the girl who’s the most out there is also the girl when you have her alone in the room shares with you that there are things about herself that she doesn’t like as well. I think the most important lesson that we can remind ourselves of is the Alpha Girl will change over time. The girl who feels very confident in the third grade is not necessarily the girl who feels very confident in ninth grade. Your job as the mother of a tween is to help that child be respectful of all of her peers. And that usually means not being domineering over other girls. So a strong opinionated girl doesn’t have to be an Alpha Girl. When it comes to what do you do about the interaction with an Alpha Girl, you treat the Alpha Girl the same way that you treat anyone else. So befriend them, try to have nice, positive social interactions with them. I wouldn’t let them rule the roost socially. And as a mother watching the interaction, let your child figure it out on her own. These are the growing pains of being a tween and it’s okay.

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Cara Natterson, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Cara Natterson, MD has treated thousands of children and guided their parents as well. She was a partner at Tenth Street Pediatrics in Santa Monica, California, a large group practice serving infants, children and teenagers. She now runs Worry Proof Consulting, the first of its kind pediatric practice that offers parents open-ended time to review everything from medical questions and biology basics to child development and parenting issues. Cara is also the author of several books on parenting and child health. She has a unique ability to translate cutting edge research into understandable terms for parents and their kids. More recently, Cara’s consulting has extended beyond individual families to include fortune 500 companies seeking expert advice on safety issues, child health, and crisis management.

Cara has appeared on television, in print, and on the web. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she trained in pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Cara is a Board certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. And anyone who knows her knows that Cara is, by nature, one of the most risk-averse people on earth. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

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