An approach to help parents support their daughters through friendship issues
“Early adolescence appears to be especially stressful on adolescent girls’ friendships and peer relations, signified by a sharp increase in indirect relational aggression. More typical of girls and more distressful to girls than to boys, relational aggression, characterised by such behaviours as spreading rumours or threatening withdrawal of affiliation, appears to emerge as girls attempt to negotiate current power relations and affirm or resist conventional constructions of femininity.” (The American Psychological Society)
When girls fall out it can often be traumatic and distressing for them and for their families. The truth is however that parents and other adults can help in only very limited ways. This is because problems within friendship groups are fluid, difficult to express and girls are very unlikely to tell the whole story. Typically, adults try to mediate when disputes arise and react to the version of events they are being told. But this kind of active intervention often doesn’t work, and can even make the situation worse, mostly because they rarely have the full picture.
However, with the Girls on Board approach everyone benefits from a shared model and a common language to promote communication and give insight. It creates a new vocabulary which enables girls and adults to better understand one another and provides parents with a range of strategies equipping them to support their daughters more effectively when unhappiness arises due to friendship problems.
We had feedback from a Year 6 mother whose daughter had told her that it was the most useful talk about friendships that she had ever had.
Headteacher – All girls school