I was talking to some moms at the playground a few weeks ago. We all have rising second grade girls and we were saying how much we dreaded the onslaught of “girl drama.”

Having been involved in a disproportionate share of “girl drama” in middle and high school – ohmygod, high school – this is a topic to which I have devoted a great deal of my emotional energy and brain cells since giving birth to two little girls.

A nearly ten-year old girl I love very much was recently embroiled in some “girl drama” at summer camp. Two girls ganged up on her and, quite frankly, the whole thing ruined her week. So, a few days ago, she asked her mom to use the iPad so that she could FaceTime the little girl with whom she had been close prior to camp.IMG_2820

Her mom said she could and was able to hear both sides of the conversation. The little girl I love, O, told her friend, A, “You hurt my feelings at camp. You and H were mean to me and it ruined my week.” Evidently, A replied by saying she knew she had been unkind, apologized and said her behavior had ruined her own week at camp, too.

BOOM!

You guys, we CAN teach them to “girl” better than we “girled” ourselves. More than that, we MUST teach them to “girl” better.

I’ve recommended it before, but I will toss it out there again, Rachel Simmons’ The Curse of the Good Girl is an absolute must-read for moms of daughters. Or aunts of girls. Or grandmothers. Or any woman who was once a girl herself.

Because friends, we’ve got baggage. We’ve got lots and lots and lots of baggage from the “girl drama” of our youth. And, until we start to pick that apart and understand it, we are going to pass this stuff on from one generation to the next. It is imperative that we start to model and teach our girls how to engage in conflict respectfully, assertively and mindfully.

It’s about much more than conflict resolution, of course. It’s about giving girls the “tools to say no, to ask for what they need, and to say what they think.” (Simmons, p. 11) It’s about allowing girls to lead lives filled with “authenticity and personal authority.” (Simmons, p.1)

How do we start? As I said to those moms at the playground, it begins with us.

I plan to use this space and social media to explore that idea, and I’d love to hear what you think.

5 Responses to “Can We “Girl” Better?”

  1. on 02 Jul 2015 at 9:02 amDorene

    I wish there had been a book for me and my girls when we were growing up. Girls are “cat” fighters, mean with words and actions. words and actions carry a heavy weight thought the years.

  2. on 02 Jul 2015 at 12:38 pmKristine Rudolph

    That tendency is part of what Simmons’ ferrets out. Are girls really “cat fighters” by nature or is that what our culture has taught us to be? Do we expect girls to be “good girls” and so we don’t give them the tools that they need when they feel all of these issues crop up? Chapter 3, actually, is called “The Good Fight: Girls in Confrontation.” It’s a fascinating book for girls, or women, of all ages.

  3. on 02 Jul 2015 at 3:31 pmD

    It’s simple at my house. I teach my G the abcs. Always Be Confident. Allows little Os to talk to little As.

  4. on 03 Jul 2015 at 11:21 amShana

    Thanks for the post and the book recommendation, Kristine. I start to sweat when I think of our kiddos playing out the kind of dramas that we did. It starts younger than most people seem to think, with technology, of course, magnifying the impact. Would love to see the topic of clear, confident, and respecful communication among our girls addressed at school as part of the larger focus on social and emotional growth!

  5. on 03 Jul 2015 at 3:38 pmKristine Rudolph

    Amen to ALL that, Shana!

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