Raising girls is different than raising boys, and that is especially true during the tween years. Tween girls have complicated relationships that can be difficult to navigate, with girls encountering exclusionary and unkind behavior from their peers. Parents want to give their daughter's confidence and help them feel empowered despite the mean girls. Every tween girl mom with whom I've spoken has encountered this problem on some level.
Often, girls and parents feel helpless, but Jill Hope, a Chicago parenting coach, focuses on helping empower girls with her I Shine program. Her approach focuses on empowering girls, but it also helps parents feel empowered, too. We want so much to make things better for our kids when they're struggling, and I've often wondered, "What can I do?" Jill and I Shine gives parents things that they can do.
You don't often hear of proactive steps to combat mean girl behavior, but Jill Hope explains that there are steps parents can take.
She says parents can't change their daughters' circumstances, but we can change our daughters and their reactions. There ARE things we can do to help our girls to attract/create and maintain healthy friendships.
Jill's components of building your girl's sense of empowerment and inner strength include:
- Examining your own role as a parent in creating the situation, with the recognition that our kids pick up on thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. At first I was resistant to this, but the more I though about it, it made sense. I was more aware of the messages I sent to my daughter that afternoon.
- Helping your daughter realize her power, particularly that contained in her thoughts. Changing the stories she tells herself can change everything. (I think her discussion of the stories our girls tell themselves can also apply to a lot of moms, too.)
- Self reponsiblity based on the belief that when you take responsibility for your circumstances, you then have power to change them. She promotes the idea that when you can step back from situation, your realize that it has nothing to do with you and it thus doesn't ruin your day is not an easy message to impart to tweens (stepping back is not always their strong suit, is it?) but I do think that they can get there. Moms I've talked with don't want their daughters to feel like victims, and this addresses that.
She talked about them in the first call of a free, two-part training call series called "Secrets of the Powerful Girl Within: Building Confidence, Self-Acceptance, and Inner Strength in Girls" or which anyone can register for here. Jill is hosting a second free call on Monday at noon central time at which time she will review her 4 building blocks to nurturing self esteem.
Confident girls are less susceptible to bullying and nastiness, as our posts on bullying here have addressed that bullies feed off the reaction. If a girl can blow them off, they don't get the reaction they seek and stop. Jill noted that confidence and positive energy attracts positive people and MORE positive energy and that confident girls understand that negative comments say lots about the speaker and very little about them. Easy to say, harder for a tween to truly internalize, but it's a good goal to work towards.
The calls preview of the more extensive Powerful Girl Within program that Jill offers, including five different calls and more personal coaching. She reviews what the program offers, as well as the cost. I'm not in a financial position to sign up, but the free call itself got me thinking about just what I can do to help my daughter. We are currently in between mean girl crises, but I know there's likely another just around the corner. Jill made me consider what I can do to "mean-girl-proof" my girl during this time of detente, and that's valuable information.
Parents and really anyone who wants to help their girls can register for the calls here. You can listen to an audio recording of the first call that took place yesterday, and sign up for Monday's call (or get an audio recording of that will also be available if that time doesn't work).
If you listen in, let me know what you think. What have you done to help your girl handle mean girl behavior? All tips welcome - we girl moms have to stick together!
Please like Tween Us on Facebook.
If you would like to get emails of Tween Us posts, please type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.