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Are little girls capable of being catty?

(59 Posts)
Alvira Fri 11-Sep-09 13:00:10

Mothers, is it possible for little girls to be so nasty that their behaviour translates into an adult woman's version of female competitiveness? The girls in my daughter's school are very competitive over how they look, who they play with and not letting other girls join in who 'don't fit in'. My daughter goes to a private school? Does this make a difference do you think? Are children of middle class families more competitive? I can't understand why i seem to be the only Mum who's telling her daughter to be nice and kind to everyone at school while the other children do as they please

pagwatch Fri 11-Sep-09 13:04:09


Girls of any class, creed or race etc etc can be catty. Equally they are all capeable of being delightful.

Your daughter is presumeably the one telling you that all the others are horrid and she is universally lovely?

Of course most mothers tell their daughters to be kind. Why on earth do you think they wouldn't? But children can be mean.
It is not a class or school thing.
My DD is at a private school. Her friends are mostly lovely with a few capeable of being mean. My best friends daughter is at a state school. Most of her friends are lovely with a few capeable of being mean.

Hassled Fri 11-Sep-09 13:09:41

Girls can be absolutely bloody awful to each other. My DD used to come home in a right state because X had said Y to her, and I'd get suitably indignant until she'd let slip what she had said to X in the first place, which was usually just as bad.

It's not a class thing at all.

Morloth Fri 11-Sep-09 13:10:20

I think all humans like a social structure, and of course we all want to be at the top. Girls tend to use words to enforce the structure whereas boys tend to be more physical.

We are herd animals and herds only work with a structure, so you have your ringleaders, your "yes" men, your minions etc. The trick is finding your place in the herd.

Hassled Fri 11-Sep-09 13:14:23

And from a very young age you can spot that on the whole, at break time, the boys are running around like loons, presumably running off any rivalries or annoyance at other boys, whereas the girls are much less mobile - they stay playing in little clusters, in quite a small area, where squabbles are much more likely to start.

Hulababy Fri 11-Sep-09 13:21:45

IME of watching children int he classroom and in the playground, and of having a DD myself, all children are capable of being catty and unkind to one another, either indivdually or in groups.

However I have yet to come across parents who don't ask their children to play nicely, to be kind, to keep friends, etc.

Do you truely believe parents encourage their children to be mean?

Hang on - another "is it because it is private school?" thread hmm Children are children. They do not care which school they go to. It makes no difference to how they behave!!! It makes no difference what "class" the child is either.

My 7y is at a private school. She is in a lovely class of 14 girls. They all get on beautifully and there are very little falling out. There s very little best friend type talk and they are all happy to play with one another, and have been from day 1. As a class they have really gelled. My own DD, although not perfect as none are, is fantastic when it comes to friendships and relationships, as is highlighted in every one of her school reports so far. And she is not alone in er class. Yes, they have the odd squabble but it is short lived and never truely meant.

pagwatch Fri 11-Sep-09 13:27:07


There are rather a lot of these at the moments arn't there
'my child has just started at private school and i keep hearing talk of ritual sacrifice at break times. Am I really expected to go in and take part because DH feels that as we are paying our fees we should be able to get somone else to slaughter the butler'

Or perhaps that just me grin

thedolly Fri 11-Sep-09 13:27:34

Alvira - the sooner they learn how to deal with the cattiness of others the better IMO because it isn't going to go away.

Don't just tell her to be nice - give her some strategies to cope with the 'silly' behaviour of others toward her.

YABU in thinking that you are the only mum who's telling her daughter to be nice.

cory Fri 11-Sep-09 13:27:46

<chiming in with everybody else>

I'd say it's unlikely that your dd has never said or done anything that another child could construe as catty

pray God that the other children's mums don't jump to conclusions about you

it's a combination of the natural competitiveness of human nature and the fact that at 7 children are too young to always be able to know how to keep this within decent bounds

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 11-Sep-09 13:28:51

I can safely say that girls made my life a misery on and off throughout school by bullying me, so, yes they can be catty!

abra1d Fri 11-Sep-09 13:30:15

Girls can be appalling. Really catty. sad It seems to be the case at all kinds of school.

Hulababy Fri 11-Sep-09 13:31:24

Yes, agree Pagwatch. Lots of them at the moment. All a bit the same tact too: my child goes to private school, but I don't like the way the children/teacher/etc are. As if private schools should be exempt from these issue, or should act in a different way to state schools.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Fri 11-Sep-09 13:32:33

You don't say how old your DD is but I tend to find that around 9 or so they can go through a phase of being quite unkind to each other. It seems to be a group thing too - I have seen classes where there is a constant level of squabbling and unkind remarks going on, and others where it hardly happens.
I also agree with Hassled. My DD1 very often reported nasty things her friends said to her, but after a fair bit of probing I would discover that she had said equally horrible things back.
DD2 and her friends, strangely, are a very placid little bunch and don't go in for this at all. She and her BF have been inseperable since they were 3 (they are now almost 10) and have never had a cross word.

abra1d Fri 11-Sep-09 13:33:43

Yes, nine is the 'magic' age, I agree. Or about year four.

thesecondcoming Fri 11-Sep-09 13:38:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FranSanDisco Fri 11-Sep-09 13:42:02

My dd is year 4 and attends a state school. On and off through Reception I've had 'reports'. Apparently her class has a lot of strong personalities (teacher's term LOL). It really came to a head last term (summer term yr 3). Dd is more than capable of handling herself verbally but I agree with the poster(s) who suggests it is a structure thing. They are all vying for a 'place', hierarchy of the classroom/ playground. Dd and another girl are constantly in competition with each other and the other girl is really mean to her (of course dd is an angel hmm) and only ever gives her side. I can't ever see them getting along nicely as when I ask if she could try she shouts "never!!". {blush]

hatwoman Fri 11-Sep-09 13:42:19

my immediate reaction to the thread title is: do bears shit in the woods?

the op makes me smile a bit actually, as it assumes a direct link between what parents tell their kids to do and what they do do - in both directions - on the one hand some kids are being nasty therefore their parents are clearly not telling them to be nice; on the other hand I tell my kid to be nice therefore she is being nice. it doesn;t work like that. it's all a bit more complicated. all we can hope for, imo, is that as long as we keep plugging away with advising our dcs to "be nice" and telling them how to deal with kids who aren't we'll end up with adult children who are part of a decent circle of friends who treat each other with kindness and respect and who can handle the unpleasantness they will, still, come across.

GrungeBlobPrimpants Fri 11-Sep-09 13:50:43

The question sounds more like a filler feature for a sunday paper hmm. imo.

Does private school make a difference? Are children of the middle classes more competetive? Er, no.

sherby Fri 11-Sep-09 13:54:06

Well we had a sleepover for DD and I found two of the girls shut in the lobby and the other girls lined up outside. Apparently they had to wait outside until the girls in the lobby had decided who could be their friend or not

They were 4

LadyGlencoraPalliser Fri 11-Sep-09 13:55:16

First post too. Hmm.

thedolly Fri 11-Sep-09 13:58:29

The fact that the OP begins 'Mothers..' is a bit hmm is it not?

<jumps on band wagon>

LadyGlencoraPalliser Fri 11-Sep-09 14:02:01

Yes, the "mothers" thing is odd. But perhaps the OP just didn't want any views from fathers, grandparents, teachers or childcare professionals.

Alvira Fri 11-Sep-09 14:04:47

Thanks to everyone who has posted messages so far. I appreciate it. The thread wasn't meant to be confined to the private school arena at all. I was posing the question because people generally tend to think that private school parents and children are more competitive, thereby resulting in behaviour which is 'not very nice'. A number of parents have told me this. I am interested in finding out if this is true? Please state school folk, give me your opinion too.

pagwatch Fri 11-Sep-09 14:05:08

perhaps she was being very rude to us.

Bucharest Fri 11-Sep-09 14:06:30

I thought the thread title was missing a negative. Surely a more unusual eventuality would be to find a little girl who isn't catty?

And I speak as mother to an almost 6 yr old dd.

Just look at MN. Little acorns and all that.

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