Do you remember that exact moment when you found out you were pregnant with your daughter? I sure do.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love love love my boys.
However, I have to admit that the mother daughter bond is different.
And I know it sounds like crazy town, but shortly after the bills were paid from the initial pink shopping spree, I secretly began to worry about the mean girl years down the road.
I even read the book Reviving Ophelia and Queen Bees and Wannabes while I was still pregnant with my now 17 year old daughter.
Without realizing it, I was already researching how to protect my baby girl from the “Girl World” years ahead.
And the truth is, I think we’re all kidding ourselves if we don’t admit that “Girl World” never truly goes away.
I think this is why it’s so incredibly triggering for us as girl moms. Navigating “Girl World” is painful business at every age.
Soooo, here are my Top 3 Tips for Navigating Girl World To Come Out On Top:
1. Listen Instead of Fixin’
If your daughter is the unlucky recipient of the girl drama this week, I want you to begin supporting her by taping your mouth shut. You heard me Mama…check yourself and zip it. Allow your girl to say or not say whatever is on her mind. Sit with her. Hold her hand. Rub her arm. Just be. This is called “holding space”. Nothing feels more generous and loving than when someone does this for you when you’re upset.
Instead of asking questions, I want you to say VERY little. If your daughter spills the beans and gives you the scoop, simply listen and reflect back her own words. Offer NO advice or possible theories in an attempt to “happy her up” or fix the situation. Be upset. Be angry. But mostly just BE.
2. Say Yes to the Invitation
You’re probably going to want to punch me in the face for saying this. Okay, here goes. This is actually the time to clean up your old "Girl World" wounds.
Anytime we find ourselves “seeing red” about the party our daughter wasn’t invited to or the frenemy that talked behind her back, it’s truly an invitation for more self awareness (even though we may secretly want to hunt that little creep down along with her super creepy mother.)
Trust me, I get it. Really I do. However, it will help your daughter way more if you do the emotional adult thing right now. Sigh.
So think back to a time when you experienced being excluded or had your feelings hurt by another girl? I want you to really “go there” in your mind and relive it. It will help you in the next step.
3. Connect rather than Direct
When your daughter feels like you truly “get” it, she will feel more connected to you than ever before. So go “there” with her.
Share YOUR story rather than asking her questions like, “Well who was invited? Did you do something to upset her?” And for the love of God, please hear me on this…DO NOT CALL THE OTHER MOM.
Ya, those questions and overstepping will result in your daughter feeling even worse. She will worry that you’re worried and will feel like a loser. This will probably cause her to keep secrets and shut you out. I bet you already know this. Don’t worry, we’ve all done it.
Put all of your energy into connecting with her and sharing similar stories of yuckiness. Tell her your version of queen bee "Beth Ann Hewlett" from 7th grade as well as that embarrassing story from last week when you were the only one excluded from so and so’s 40th birthday lunch - even though she actually sucks and you wouldn’t have gone anyway, it still left you with a pang in your tummy.
Sit in the metaphorical mud next to your girl. Focusing on connecting rather than “directing” is what your sweet girl needs.
Let her know she’s not alone.
When you communicate with your daughter from a place of empathy, you will both not only get through these years, you will grow stronger together. By following these 3 steps, Listen Instead of Fixin’, Say Yes to the Invitation and Connect Rather than Direct, you’re able to handle any mean girl situation thrown your way. You guys will use this to grow even closer and will feel more connected than ever.
Connection is also a HUGE confidence builder and guess what…mean girls usually leave the confident ones alone. Connection and confidence will protect your girl on the front lines of Girl World.
Only. Every. Single. Time.