When I think back to my earlier years, a few vivid memories stand out.
I remember sitting in a dark movie theatre, watching “Silence of the Lambs”, begging my friends to call it a night and leave the movie. We didn’t really need to know what happens if “it doesn’t put the lotion on its skin”.
I remember talking late into the night during Friday night sleepovers, about everything from music and movies, to boys and school.
And I remember driving around town in Michelle’s dad’s car, searching the radio for the best song (Bobby Brown, anyone?), and stopping at 7-11 to grab Slurpees or Twizzlers, or maybe fill up the tank. Nowhere to go, but so happy to be together.
There was always one constant, though. My favorite times were with friends.
How about you? When you think back to the fun days of your childhood and teen years, do other faces join you? Do you remember good friends?
When it comes to our girls, friendships can be powerful gifts in their lives.
Today, I want to share FIVE SPECIFIC WAYS THAT FRIENDSHIPS CAN EMPOWER OUR GIRLS.
1. A GOOD FRIENDSHIP CAN MAKE HER FEEL SAFE
When our girls struggle, it’s good for them to know they won’t struggle alone. Sure, we’re there for them, but let’s face it. In many cases, we don’t really know what they’re going through, and more often than not, we’re not actually with them when they’re going through it- think school, or after school activities. Even out at social events. We’re not there.
A good friend is, and she’s a safe space for our girls. Life isn’t as scary when you don’t have to go through it alone. That includes Teen World.
2. A GOOD FRIEND PREVENTS ISOLATION
Building on that last point, a good friend keeps our girls from being isolated, and that means more than just safety in numbers. That means our girls are less likely to become depressed. Being connected to others keeps our girls from being and feeling alone. This is about her mental health, and this is vital. A good friend is healthy for our girls.
3. GOOD FRIENDSHIPS LEAD TO GOOD CHOICES
We can talk to our girls until we’re blue in the face about making the right choices and staying out of trouble. But we will not have the same influence as the friend with her in the moment. So a good friend can be a powerful influence when it comes to making good choices.
And let’s not forget that there’s strength in numbers. So if our girls find themselves in situations where they WANT to make the right choice, but peer pressure presents its ugly face, they can find strength and courage in the good friend who also wants to make that right choice.
Good friends can be good influences.
4. GOOD FRIENDS INVITE HEALTHY CONFLICT RESOLUTION
As we know all too well, even the most positive friendships will face some struggle, some conflict. Our girls are learning how to connect with others, how to live with others, how to grow up with others.
Good friendships will teach our girls how to talk through conflict in healthy ways, how to be honest and cry, how to trust others with their real emotions, how to be vulnerable. It sort of goes back to that safe space. Good friends make it safe to disagree, work through it, and come out the other side.
5. GOOD FRIENDS MAKE HEALTHY RISKS EASIER
Healthy risk taking is one of the most powerful ways our girls can grow more confident. But it can be scary to take risks alone, to try out for the soccer team, or test out a new skill or activity. Taking healthy risks with a good friend makes it less scary.
For example, this past winter, my daughter started showing an interest in baking, and so I thought it would be really fun to gift her with a baking class for the holidays. I knew she would love to take a class without me over her shoulder- to get messy, crack some eggs, and learn from an expert.
I also knew she would never have the confidence to go it alone. So I emailed her best friend’s mom, and presented the idea, knowing that her bestie loved baking, too. Together, we moms registered our girls for the class, then gifted them on Christmas morning. Both girls loved the baking class gift, but squealed with excitement at hearing the other was joining them.
The class was a hit, the girls had a blast, and they took a healthy risk together. This summer, I registered Brady for a week of baking camp. Her bestie can’t join her for this one, but she still chose to attend, because she had the confidence from her first experience. Having her friend helped her gain that confidence.
Good friends are gold.
And there you have it. Five ways how good friends can empower our girls.
One more thing- good friends make photography so much more fun! I’ll get into that in my next blog post!