Being the mother of a tween girl in 2016 is no easy task. There are a multitude of dangers and pitfalls that await her that simply didn’t exist when I was her age. But no matter the decade, the friendship of young girls has remained the same. They are your first loves, heartbreaks and the meter by which you measure yourself. As a mother, I want so much to prepare my daughter for what is to come without being overbearing or crossing any boundaries. I know that she needs to experience a few things on her own because it will make her that much stronger. I also know that as she prepares to leave elementary school there are just few things that I think she needs to know before venturing off into the world of junior high school. If you’re a mom of a tween daughter, maybe you can relate to these gems.
It’s okay to have more than one “best friend”
Some people will say that best means “best” but I beg to differ. At your age, you need to get to know as many different types of people as possible. If you find you like to spend time with someone but your other bestie (even if your bff isn’t that fond of them) then you definitely should. There are some really great girls out there and you might miss out on key friendships if you only focus on hanging out with just one person.
They are going to hurt your feelings
Unfortunately, there’s no way around this one. At some point your friends will hurt you. Whether it’s on purpose or inadvertently, it will happen. And it’s up to you to decide how to respond. Just know that a true friend, when confronted with that fact, will apologize and make an effort not to repeat the offense. Anyone who doesn’t is not your friend.
You don’t have to be friends with everyone your friends are friends with
Sometimes you’ll find that you hang out with a group of girls and you may not really like all the girls in the group. And that’s okay. You don’t have to be friends with the same people your “best” friends are friends with. Feel free to branch out and spend time with the girls you do like…even if your bestie isn’t too sure about them.
They don’t know everything. You don’t either
It may seem that your friends have all the answers and there is always one “know it all” in the group, sometimes there are several. No matter how knowledgeable they seem, they aren’t the end-all-and-be-all to life’s questions…no matter how convincing they might sound. Also, just because you may know that they’re wrong doesn’t mean you have to be rude if you point that out. You can simply state that perhaps the correct answer might be XYZ.
Keep secrets / Don’t gossip
If someone says, ‘please don’t tell anyone else’ and swears you to it, stick to that. A key element of friendship is trust and you want your friends to stay friends so they feel like they can trust you with anything. Unless they are in danger or you know what they’re doing is wrong, keep it to yourself. If someone else approaches you with the same information, never let on you already know. Simply nod and move on, they are telling you that they can’t be trusted with secrets and you shouldn’t share with them.
I sincerely hope these simple tips will help my girl (and yours) sail somewhat unscathed into the tumultuous and dramatic world that is the life of pre-teen girls. It’s hard out there, and while I want her to enjoy her experience, I also want her to be smart about her friends, her words and her future.