Secrets .... Shhhhhh
In GIRL GROUP, instead of saying, “me, too,” we raise our hands and wiggle our fingers. This silent sign doesn’t interrupt the flow of conversation, but reminds the speaker that she is not alone. We strive to make it easy to talk about regular stuff like emotions, puberty, parents, teachers and friends because we believe that when we can voice our opinions or concerns about the regular situations we all share, it might be easier to articulate our feelings about situations that feel irregular.
We encourage the girls to listen to their inner voices and tune into what feels right or wrong, good or bad. We practice the skills of self-advocacy. While we recognize that the idea of a “comfortable situation” differs for everyone, being able to identify and firmly voice our preferences strengthens our ability to raise our voices when something feels wrong, unfair or dangerous.
Daily news reports of pervasive secrecy and silenced voices are hard to hear and often bring up difficult conversations with our kids. We’ve been asking, “What do you want to know?” We try to encourage curiosity, but also let them learn at their own pace. The world is wonderful, but it can be a strange and scary place. Let’s give our children eyes to see the beauty and strong voices to lead them through the dark.
THINK: What do you need to be comfortable? How can you satisfy these needs?
TALK: Ask your child to describe a moment when they felt truly heard. What do you notice?
WRITE: Do a worry “dump.” Set your timer for three minutes and write without stopping. Fill the page. Let it all out. When the timer goes off, close the book and take a deep breath. Practice this daily. Give yourself permission to rage, whine and whimper.
DO: Ask questions: “What do you think?” “What are your feelings about this?” “What would you like to do?”
BE: Look for signs of change. See how many yellow, orange or gold leaves you can find each day.