The girls in my daughter’s class began to divide themselves into groups. Reports of comments that someone was “fat” or not “cool enough” directed at girls I’d known since they were 5 became prime topics of discussions at home. I heard cruel insults about my child, because her loyal friends told her about them.
I figured my daughter would eventually stumble into mean-girl territory, and that subversive manipulation, social rejection and alliance-building would leave her occasionally on the curb. But not until middle school, at the earliest. Right?
“The mean-girl thing is happening much sooner than everyone realizes,” our elementary school counselor told me when I called to talk it through. “I see it all the time.”