It typically happens in upper elementary or middle school. Our culture almost seems to expect girls to reach a phase where they speak sarcastically to one another, avoid those who are different than themselves, create drama among their friends, and become focused on their outward appearance.
With two girls entering this age group, I certainly want to avoid these trends at our house. I’ve thought of a few ways that I hope can help our girls be different.
1. Pray for them. If they’re going to be counter-cultural, it’s not going to be easy. Other girls may avoid them because they won’t chime in with the latest gossip or aren’t fixated on topics like boys or makeup. I need to pray that they have the courage to be themselves at all times and that they rely on the Lord for strength.
2. Examine myself to see how I’m talking about and treating others. Do I cut down other women by criticizing their looks or their parenting style or do I offer grace while looking for and speaking the best about others?
3. Teach them empathy. Help them try to understand how another person feels when they’re left out of a group. Make them think about how they would feel if others are talking about them behind their back. Unfortunately, they may occasionally be the one actually experiencing these feelings.
4. Instill in them an awareness of others who are lonely or need a friend. In social situations, remind them to reach out to someone who is new or looks lonely. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our own relationships that we never notice an individual we could help and encourage.
What other ideas do you have for helping girls in this area?