What’s the one thing your daughter has in common with millions of teenage girls around the world?
Every morning when she reaches for her phone – she shares one unmistakable intention!
Welcome back to episode #18
Where we’re going to tackle a topic that can sometimes feel overwhelming and painful for teenage girls – how to build authentic, fun and healthy friendships.
Or a concept I call Designing Healthy Social Scenarios, which is part 3 of my 4-part signature coaching system.
And, before we get going, I’d like to nudge you and your daughter to listen to part one, Episode #16 Does Your Teenage Daughter Need a Strong Sense of Self to be Successful in Life? because every single thing your daughter says and does – her attitude, her happiness, her motivation, her success – all revolve around how she:
- Sees herself
- What she thinks about herself
- And how she talks to and about herself
And the foundation she’s laying right now, will influence how she approaches building and navigating her tribe.
As parents, you’re probably noticing that finding and keeping good friends IS the name of the game right now.
As, designing healthy social scenarios or building her tribe outside the family is one of the most important rites-of-passage your daughter will encounter over the next few years.
I’ll admit, navigating the teen-girl social landscape is tricky and definitely caused me to wobble and lose my footing at times.
If you’re curious about how I learned to cultivate my resilience during those turbulent times, you may enjoy an article I published for Thrive Global, titled, How to Raise a Socially Intelligent and Resilient Teenager 5 Simple Questions That Will Set Your Teenager Up for Success
Key Ingredients for Growth
Okay, as we dive into what building healthy social scenarios is all about, we need to touch on a few important “friendship” ingredients, so to speak.
Because feeling seen, heard and valued for who your daughter is and what she stands for – is really important.
But it’s a concept that requires a bit of finessing, depending on who’s in your tribe and what’s going on because each girls’ “social playbook” is a little bit different.
To help me explain this shape-shifting concept, here’s the view from a few teenage girls …
- Really being “seen” by your peers is important because it’s nice to feel close to someone, but it can also be kinda scary because you don’t want to be “too seen,” otherwise people seem to judge you so hard.
- Being “heard” is good because it’s annoying if no one listens to you, although, if someone totally disagrees with you, sometimes it creates a huge divide in the group.
- Of course, feeling “valued,” is important, but you have to be careful about HOW you talk about yourself, because if someone gets jealous, you might be accused of being stuck up, or the b-word. So, sometimes it’s safer not to talk about stuff you’re proud of.
So, do you see the challenge here?
In order for your daughter to build a tribe who she feels like:
- Has her back
- Admires her for who she
- And is willing to ride the waves of life alongside you
Your daughter is going to want to get really clear with two key social elements:
- Sorting facts from Fiction
- Being authentically you
Sorting Fact from Fiction
What do I mean by sorting fact from fiction?
One of biggest issues, problems, misunderstandings, rifts – call it what you will – is when assumptions are made in any given situation.
Here’s what we’re talking about, let’s say that your daughter snaps or reaches out to a friend asking her if she wants to hang out and her friends’ response is a bit delayed and she has a blank look on her face.
If your daughter responds with something like …
“Seriously, what is she so annoyed about; all I did was ask her to hang out.”
Or, if your daughter responds with …
“That face! I have no idea what she means right now.”
The first response is an assumption because, is her friend really feeling annoyed?
She can’t know for sure.
And the response is fact based because your daughter recognizes that she’s not sure what the friend is trying to communicate to her.
It’s really easy to make assumptions, it really is.
Though, I’d encourage your daughter to reflect on her patterns of thinking and do her best to clear up any assumptions because it’ll greatly decrease her social miscommunications and allow her to focus on building the relationships she craves.
Be Authentically You
The second key social element is to be authentically you.
Have you heard the quote by Charles Schultz, “Be yourself, no one can say you’re doing it wrong?”
When your daughter is clear about what she values about herself, she’ll be able to toggle between being seen, heard and valued, in a way that feels okay for her.
And, if you’ve been listening for a while, you’ve heard us say your daughter deserves to be happy. Period, end of sentence.
So, let’s give her the tools to let her light SHINE.
S – step up, step back, but just keep going by letting your ‘steps’ feel like an exploratory dance.
H – have patience, good things are coming to you, truly.
I – imagine what you want for you, and only you.
N – nourish yourself with food and activities that feel good.
E – excel in life by asking yourself, “how can this experience help me grow?”
And lastly, I want to leave you with a quote from an amazing author, orator and incredibly likable guy, Michael Port.
His book, Steal the Show contents helpful hints for every teenage girl because “all the worlds a stage,” right?
I particularly appreciate his take on the subject of ‘authenticity.’
As Port puts it, “Authenticity really comes down to this question: do you have the courage to talk about who you really are, not just who you want others to think you are?”
So, I’ll leave you and your daughter with that thougtful question!
Oh, I hope you’ll join the conversation next week because as parents, you’re your daughter’s number one authenticity role model.
And, as you both learn and grow, I want to offer you some great strategies on how to create an environment that fosters a connective life.
5 Simple Questions That Will Set Your Teenager Up for Success
Charles Schultz, “Be yourself, no one can say you’re doing it wrong.”
Book: Steal the Show by New York Times Best-Selling author Michael Port