Posted by: vvlambert | Saturday, March 28, 2009

Parenting

For Parents of Daughters

Our family is currently looking at reasons why children, specifically girls, use their words and actions to wound and create an oppressive environment for their “target” and ultimately anyone within arms reach of the drama.

After giving it some pretty serious consideration, I came to realize that many of the girls, not all, who were caustic in my daughter’s life, have serious relationship problems with parents, specifically, their mothers.  If you think about it, the girls who heap grief on each other at school are really the insecure children who seek to demoralize others in order to make themselves feel better and make others feel inferior.  I’ve asked girls on numerous occasions why they behave the way they did.  Some of the responses were, “well, my sister or my brother treats me this way” and too often the parents fail to take the time to discuss the root of the problem and address it. By taking the time to sit down and handle the problem and let the children know the offensive behavior is unacceptable, you send the powerful message that it won’t be tolerated and to stop it.  A simple Stop! Is not sufficient.  On other occasions, the responses have been because they’ve encountered relationships with friends who have treated them unkindly and they in turn feel like unleashing on others.

Some pretty fantastic books to read about the drama our daughters encounter are Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons and Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher. One of my favorite songs which sum up relationship importance between parents and children is Daughters, by John Mayer. It is very appropriate and serves to remind us of the power of our actions and words.

I began reading these books while my daughter was in 3rd grade. Scary! Even at that grade level girls face some pretty horrific abuse. I was fortunate to have three older sisters who helped me navigate my adolescence and I did reasonably well. However, now of days, it’s a whole different ball game. I found the books to be incredibly enlightening and gave me food for thought regarding the underlying reasons for their behavior. Additionally, my daughter and I sat down and read portions of the books together, which really helped her. By reading these books, it’s given my daughter an opportunity to understand why girls behave the way they do from a clinical and non clinical point of view and to see that what she’s going through is very real and that others have survived. The books have given her ideas on how to handle the drama and ultimately acknowledge the fact that the drama isn’t necessarily about her. It’s quite often the offenders who have some genuine issues and are ill equipped to cope.   Without the support (time and ear) of their parent(s) they are treading in a sea of emotional chaos taking their cue from uncertain classmates. Consequently, the rubbish winds up at the school for everyone to witness and be affected by. It’s really a vicious cycle we are aiding in by not acknowledging the situation our beautiful, vivacious and blossoming daughters have to contend with. Imagine the attitudes towards themselves and level of passion for their education they’d have if the drama was addressed properly early on in life? I dare say it would make for a far more healthy world for our wonderful daughters. One other contributing factor to consider is the Narcissist tendency of some girls. Granted, everyone has a healthy level of narcissism in them. It’s the girls who have a generous portion pulsing through their veins who are unhealthy to everyone they touch. This is something we are looking at currently as it seems to be surfacing more often.

“Pain is short, memories are long” -Virginia V. Lambert

Put your moans aside and help make memories they’ll cherish a lifetime.

Be careful with your choice of words when speaking to your children.  Remember self fulfilled prophecy and power of suggestion really do exist and you have the power to paint a positive picture for your child to live up to.

Children really are sponges and take in more than we give them credit.

Parents of daughters – praise her intellect more often than appearance.  From an early age, play with building toys such as Lego’s and Duplo toys.  It’s amazing the difference a young women feels about herself when raised with consistent reinforcement of her intellect.

Parents of sons – Raise your boys to be kind and respectful.  Buy Lego’s freely.  They are a great investment and will continue to be played with well into their teens.  My son and his friends use them in their digital short films.

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