Trusted teen

What if you could really trust that your teen was going to turn out all right?
How would your life be different?  And hers?

How many stressful conversations would be avoided if you weren’t trying to alter the behaviour of your teen?
How much better would your relationship be then?
Might that not have a more positive impact on your child than telling them what to do (however subtly)?

With all the best intentions in the world, can you be sure that your attempts to influence your teen will lead to the best outcome?  Can you be sure?

Ozkan Deligoz copy

How might your teen see herself differently if you had faith in their ability to make the right choices (even though they might not be your right choices)?
Think of the many adults that you know who have horrendous tales of their teen years, but who have made fulfilling lives for themselves as adults – and maybe not in spite of their adolescent experiences but because of them.
How many adults do you know who were ‘good teens’ but are not happy adults.

So can you be sure that what you think is right for your child, is what is right?

Notice when your advice to your teen is driven by fear – fear that she won’t make her own right choices, fear that she won’t know what is best for her, fear that she’ll do something regrettable.
Do you want your child to live as a fear-based adult?  Do you want her to be limited that way?

Do you trust her to want the best for herself?  Are you sure that what drives her decision-making is not as good as what drives your decisions for her?
Would you having faith in her maybe encourage her to take responsibility for herself?

Children do want the best for themselves – even when it doesn’t look like it.

If you feel irritated with me while reading this, because what do I know about your situation, then you’ll be having the same response that I have when I read this kind of stuff.  But, do you know, it works!  I resist it, every time, and it makes me cross while I read it, but if I let it affect how I think, then it makes a difference.  My relationship with my teen softens.  Conflict disappears.  And I don’t wake and worry.

Experiment!

Photo: 123RF by Ozkan Deligoz

Posted on 10 July 2014
Musings: Parenting teenagers, Parenting girls
Tags: , , ,

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Next ‘Girls Journeying Together’ group starting in the spring 2017

 

 

Free Trial Session for girls (with Mums)
on Friday 17th March 2017, 5pm – 7pm
or Saturday 18th March 10am – 12pm

 

Best Friends Forever

Every year around spring time, I start another of my year-long Girls Journeying Together groups.  A dozen or so 10-12 years olds sit in a circle in my sitting room nervously wondering how we will pass the afternoon.

We meet monthly, so they’ll get a sense of what monthly feels like, and we cover all manner of things over the year.  Their needs and concerns help to determine their year’s programme.  Over the year I provide the space for each girl to:

  • dream into her future
  • clarify her values
  • learn about the changes that puberty brings
  • discuss the pressures of peers, media, and parents
  • prepare for her first period and support one another in their bleeding time
  • get to know each other really well; well enough to dare to speak their innermost fears and heartfelt hopes
  • (only if the time is right) talk of dating, safe sex, diets, drinking, drugs, cutting, exam pressures and other teen concerns
  • share her experiences
  • laugh and cry and dance and feast
  • find mentors
  • and in time become a mentor herself.

A year later we finish with a celebration and those dozen girls are full of affection for one another and feel well-prepared for what lies ahead.

“At first I didn’t think I’d like it, but it’s brilliant, we talk about things, really talk, so you realise that others feel the same way.”

“I’ve made friends for life I’d say.” 

“I was nervous about growing up – I’m not now.”

“You can ask anything.”

“We’ve had loads of fun, and learned stuff but it hasn’t felt like learning.”

“It got me thinking about who I want to be – what I want to do with my life.”

Every girl needs a circle of women, and the company of other girls, with whom to learn about womanhood.  Some girls are lucky to live in communities that naturally provide this female support.  Many girls are not so fortunate.  When families have busy lives, lived far from extended family, and children spend most of their time in the company of children, then a girls’ group can fill the gap.

I wish that coming-of-age groups were commonplace, then girls would expect it as their right, rather than needing their mothers to encourage them to try it out.

We focus on teaching our children algebra, tectonic plate movements, and what befell the wives of King Henry VIII, and then leave the fundamental issues of maturation up to chance chats with family, the modeling of soaps and films, and the immature influence of peers.  We give swimming lessons before diving into the sea, and driving lessons are mandatory before taking to the roads solo – so why not insist on structured adult support in the preparation of our children for adulthood?  Most religions and many tribes still recognise the importance of guiding our children safely towards adulthood, and offer them a rite of passage while they are actively engaged in this maturation process; but we have lost sight of it, blinded by the chase for qualifications.  I feel sad to find myself in a culture that often values grades, awards, and medals over relationships, and developing a healthy sense of self.

The more ‘developed’ we become, the more we abandon our teenagers and leave them to invent their own idealizations for adulthood – and to make their own markers to prove their adulthood (often using drink, sex, driving, and other risk-taking).

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Girls look to the women in their lives to give them a sense of what it is like to be a woman.  The women they like, they emulate; and the women they don’t like, they strive to be different from.

Many girls find themselves with only one woman who knows them well, their own mother.  If fortunate, a girl will also have a smattering of aunties, grandmothers, godmothers, cousins, friend’s mothers and mother’s friends who know her and care for her.  She may also have a special teacher, tutor, or coach.  Even then, many girls rarely have the opportunity of hearing women speak of their dreams, their passions, their relationships and their bodies.  And yet, we want our girls to find their own futures, to know what is important to them, to discover what they love to do, to form firm friendships, and to like themselves well enough.  Too often seeking these vital goals are left to chance, or left in the hands of schools, or the influence of social media.

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Rites for Girls has an free trial session for any girl aged 10-12yrs (in year 6 or 7) who might be interested to join the next Girls Journeying Together group.  Girls come from London, Brighton and all over Sussex and Kent.

Girls’ Journeying Together
– a year-long exploration
with a small group of girls your age

Who?      Pre-teen girls; aged 10-12yrs (in year 6 and 7)
When?    Monthly, 3 hours at the weekend, starting in May.
Where?   Forest Row, Sussex
When?    Free trial session with Mums:  5-7pm  Friday 17th March 2017
                                                   or 10am-12pm Saturday 18th March 2017

Provisional dates: TBC
Friday group 4:30-7:30pm: 28 April 19, 26 May 2017, 16 June, 14 July, 22 Sept, 13 Oct (with Mums), 17 Nov, 8 Dec 2017
5 Jan 2018, 2 Feb, 9 Mar, 20 Apr 2018 (final celebration with mothers)

Saturday group 10am-1pm: 29 April, 27 May 2017, 17 June, 15 July, 23 Sept, 14 Oct (with Mums),  18 Nov, 9 Dec 2017
6 Jan 2018, 3 Feb, 10 Mar,  21 Apr 2018 (final celebration with mothers)

I am a trained facilitator, youth guidance worker, counsellor, 5 Rhythms movement teacher, and a mother of three.

To book or ask more contact Kim 01342 810505  ☙  kim@ritesforgirls.com

LIMITED SPACES  –   BOOK TRIAL NOW!

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Photo: 123RF by Lisa Young

Posted on 9 May 2014
Musings: Parenting girls, Coming of age
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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Junk food battles

Many teens like to eat junk.

Ruud Morijn

Here are some of the reasons that they like to eat junk:

You don’t want them to eat junk!
Their bodies are changing rapidly and they just don’t know how to get the increased nutrients they need.
Junk food requires no effort.
Junk food is full of sugar and salt and satisfies a craving.
Teenage girls don’t understand how to manage PMT and food cravings.
Teens are full of feelings they often can’t manage and junk food can numb those feelings.
Junk food feels comforting.

These are all really good reasons.  Junk food can seem to be a good solution.  It works.

Yulia DrozdovaragnarocksenrouteksmVladimir VoroninPlengsak Chuensriwiroj iperlwaraphanAmarita Petcharakul

So, if junk food is serving some of your teens needs, but you’re worried about the longer term effects then here’s two things that work way better than nagging:

1. Stop worrying about the ‘bad food’ and concentrate on providing plenty of good food in appealing ways.

– there is nothing like a good breakfast, lovingly prepared, to set your child up for the day.  A high protein, slow energy release breakfast often leads to teens making healthier food choices throughout the rest of the day.  Fill her up on good nutrition wherever you can and her body will call less for the unhealthy stuff.

Milan Markovic

 2. Think about what junk food is giving your teen, and figure out other ways of meeting those needs.

  • is it hunger or feelings that have her reaching for the crisps or chocolate straight after school?
  • does she need a chat rather than a bowl of sugared cereal just before bed?
  • in the lead up to her period, would a hot bath and easing back on activities help her to avoid devouring a whole packet of biscuits?

Frenk And Danielle Kaufmann 2

You may need to start with yourself – and gently tackle the reasons behind your own unhealthy eating – so that you can model healthy behaviour to your teen.

As parents we often see ourselves in a guiding and influencing role in our children’s lives, but too often we are lazy and believe that we can just tell them what to do.  More powerful is to show them, either by doing it for them first, or by making sure we are doing it ourselves.

Photo: 123RF by Ruud Morijn, Yulia Drozdova, Amarita Petcharakul, ragnarocks, enrouteksm, Vladimir Voronin, waraphan, iperl, Plengsak Chuensriwiroj, Milan Markovic, Frenk And Danielle Kaufmann
Posted on 6 May 2014
Musings: Parenting teenagers, Parenting girls

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