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.
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.
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.