What Doesnt Help When She Is Struggling

PARENT'S ACTION

GIRL'S REACTION

Minimizing the problem

She shuts down and stops talking to you.

Getting angrier with the friend/ boyfriend than she is

She stops seeing her own hurt and feels the need to defend her friend or boyfriend.

Forbidding her from being with certain friends or boys

This creates more intrigue in those friends or boys. (This is unless the situation is dangerous, when she has to be separated for her own physical or emotional safety. Otherwise, try the separation from a back-door strategy.)

Stepping in and fixing the problem for her

She doesn't take responsibility for the situation and doesn't develop her own voice in it.

PARENT'S ACTION

GIRL'S REACTION

Talking negatively or gossiping about her friends

Turns her against you, rather than them.

WHAT HELPS WHEN SHE IS STRUGGLING

PARENT'S ACTION

GIRL'S RESPONSE

Listening

Frees her to be more open

Not giving her answers

Helps her think through solutions herself

Telling her the good that you see in her

Encourages her in spite of the "Oh . . . Mom's"

Helping her find places she can connect with other kids

Gives her a safe group of kids who can know, encourage, and challenge her

Having other adults in her life who are encouraging her

Gives her other voices to support what you are wanting her to learn

Talking to her about who she could be friends with

Helps her see that there are girls who may not be in the popular group, but still might make great friends

Helping her look at her role in a situation

Helps her not see herself as the victim, but see that she contributes to the situation

Telling her stories about when you struggled in relationships

Helps her see that she is not alone

Asking her what she thinks would help the situation

Helps her develop problemsolving skills

Helping her understand what she wants is healthy and a part of how God designed her

Keeps her from feeling like something is wrong with her

PARENT'S ACTION

GIRL'S REACTION

Showing her that your relationships are important to you—by the time and energy you invest in them

Helps her feel that it is a good thing to be invested in relationships, and helps her learn what it means to care

Helping her understand what it means to live in a fallen world— relationally, emotionally, and spiritually

She will know not to expect perfection in her relationships or demand that someone meet every need. She will learn that only God can do that.

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 9

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Adolescent girls are like saplings in a hurricane. They are young and vulnerable trees that the winds blow with gale strength.

Mary Pipher, Reviving Ophelia

If any of our grandmothers were to overhear a conversation among adolescent girls today, they would think the girls were speaking an entirely new language. They would hear words like Facebook . . . cutting . . . texting . . . meth. These words—and these issues— are the newest and some of the most powerful winds of change blowing toward girls.

In this chapter, we would like to address the most potent issues we see facing girls today. Some of these issues will be unfamiliar, and some you may have heard of before. Some will be alarming, and some may be simply the newest way for girls to connect.

As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun. Our grandmothers might have had to lean a little closer to find out the meaning behind this new, unintelligible language of girls. But if they did, they would discover that the needs and insecurities behind these winds have been around for countless generations.

It is difficult to even imagine life today without media— magazines, television, movies, music. It infiltrates our lives and our homes—with iPods, HDTVs, TiVo, the Internet. It has its

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