“True friendships take time to cultivate; trust takes time to cultivate,” says Julia V. Taylor, a K–12 school counselor and the author of several books about the social and emotional health of girls. “And all friendships come with give and take and ups and downs. Not one of them is perfect.” For nitty-gritty friendship advice, Taylor highly recommends a list of tips created by educator Rachel Simmons, the author of, among other titles, The Curse of The Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls With Courage and Confidence. Taylor says Simmons’ GirlTip list “should be bookmarked by every parent, educator, and tween/teen girl.” Below are links to six relevant tips from Simmons’ list:
Teach your daughter the art of compromise. By learning to give and take and communicating that skill in her friendships, she can make (and keep) friends even when they disagree.
Girls often start discounting their strengths, not wanting to be called “conceited.” Teach your daughter to be proud of her strengths and not discount or deny them. And help her learn to do this without bragging or rubbing it in.
Beware of friendship groups where some girls have more power than others. Even if your daughter isn’t one of those with less power, it’s not a safe place for anyone.
Teach your daughter that no one is perfect and that includes even her very closest friends. Bumps are inevitable in every friendship.
When girls get hung up on the perfect all-in-one friend, they are apt to be disappointed, and it puts a lot of pressure on that relationship.
Tell your daughter that believing in herself isn’t about having soaring confidence in every situation. Tell her she is fine exactly the way she is, and it’s up for her to believe that and live it.
Kirsten Jones Neff examines the stressful nature of girls’ friendships from experts’ and parents’ perspectives.