Girls and the Games They Play

Holly’s Corner has an interesting post called Girl Games…the petty emotional games little girls play and the fact that this seems to start at a younger and younger age. Heck both of my girls were already wrapping themselves around my little finger FROM THE WOMB (at least I like to blame Caitlin for my unquenchable desire for McDonald’s breakfast the entire time I was pregnant with her). Unfortunately Caitlin has picked up on the “I’m not going to be your friend any more” phrase from daycare and wields it like an emotional sword if she doesn’t get her way. I jokingly call her our manipulatress when she does this, but it’s not something I want to take lightly. I don’t know why girls tend to play mind games, from the “I’ll be your friend if you do this” or the “I won’t be your friend if you do that” pettiness to the batting of eyelashes and the super pout, but I like what Holly has to say about teaching her daughter to not get caught up in all of it. I mean the manipulatress skills can be put to good use when Caitlin’s older, much older, like 50 years from now when she’s trying to convince the assisted living facility director to upgrade mama and daddy to the penthouse. Ahem.

If you’re a parent to girls, do they play mind games with their friends? With you? Do boys do this or do they tend to be more physical as they hash things out with the almighty wedgie as the weapon of choice? Is there anything parents can do to discourage the drama?


  1. sweatpantsmom says:

    My girls are 8 and 10 and the mind games are in full swing. I can keep a check on it at home, but they come home with some doozies from their friends. My youngest came home yesterday with, “Sarah said she won’t be my friend because I wouldn’t believe her when she said she had a pet dinosaur.” I asked her what her response was. “I told her ‘C’mon, if you want me to believe you, pick something that’s not extinct.'”


  2. laura says:

    Oh yay! Something to look forward to! Hahaha.

    I don’t remember ever playing that kind of game with my friends. But then, we were all TV-free and home-schooled by very involved parents. There wasn’t much negative outside influence.

    (And yes, I’ve turned out quite well, thank you, and am perfectly socialized!)


    Sweatpantsmom, your daughter sounds like a riot!

    My totally unexperienced advice is to make sure that you talk straight with your kids and infuse them with a lot of self confidence. They’ll see right through the stupid games that way, one would hope. 🙂

  3. Anne says:

    it’s not just little girls. the little boy in playgroup says to lily repeatedly, “well, i’m not going to marry you!” and I’m getting a little tired of it. the manipulating…oh the manipulating. I’m trying to teach my older girl how to circumvent it now. grrrrrrr.

  4. mothergoosemouse says:

    Tacy’s methods of manipulation are more sophisticated. Which just goes to show that she’s been paying attention to how we manipulate her.

    As for the girlie mind games, I try to help her see how silly they are. She seems to have bigger fish to fry (as this afternoon she dissolved in tears due to a discussion about God).

  5. Gabriel says:

    I don’t have any daughters but I do have six nieces ranging from 4 to 15. And the 4 year old has definitely played those types of games with her sisters, her parents, and her friends.

    The thing is, she’s manipulative without causing drama. Which makes her even more “dangerous”. 🙂 Watch out world.


  6. Jennifer says:

    Although the youngest can only manipulate me through her curled down lip in a pout and arched eyebrow when I don’t flash a boob NOW, the eldest has been working on mastering the art of manipulation.

    She has called me mean. She has told me that she wouldn’t be my friend anymore. I told her, in both cases, “That’s fine, I’m your mother, not your friend, and I get paid to be mean”. This usually results in her slamming her bedroom door (which I beleive is genetic, cause I didn’t teach her that) and throwing herself on her bed in a wonderful dramatic fit.

    I’m sure it will get much worse when she starts to network with her little friends at playschool.

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