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In Part 1, I covered ways of being with a grieving girl when her friendship ends.  In Part II, I show you a sample conversation to help you guide your daughter or student through her grief.  I’ve included a simple technique you can use anytime to help kids put difficult times into perspective.

For the purpose of simplicity, we enter the following conversation with the understanding steps have previously been taken to save this relationship.

Girl:  Grace won’t be my friend anymore.  It’s over for good.

Adult:  It seems final.  What’s that like for you? (reflection and question to gauge perspective)

Girl:  I can’t stand it!  I’m not going back to school!  I don’t have any friends.

Adult:  Without Grace, there’s no one else. (reflection)

Girl:  No!  No one like Grace!

Adult:  There’s no one like Grace. (reflection)  I wonder if there’s someone else who might turn out to be a good friend.  (planting seed)

Girl:  I want Grace!  I don’t want anyone else.

Adult:  Grace is your only choice (reflection), yet she doesn’t want to be friends with you (presenting problem).  I wonder what you’ll do. (prompting thinking)

Girl:  I don’t know! 

Adult:  I think I can help. First, let’s figure out how big this problem is.                  

(Draw a 1 – 10 scale).

 

I______2______3______4______5______6______7______8______9______10

 

Let’s make #1 the best thing that could ever happen to you.  What would that be?

Girl:  (She will decide but may need your prompting or brainstorming)

Adult:  OK, so that’s your #1.  Now, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

Girl:  (She will decide but may need your prompting or brainstorming)

(A typical answer is the death of a loved one.  If the girl were to say, “Grace not being my friend,” counter with other examples.  You could say, “Is that worse than our house burning down, us moving away, ________ dying, a natural disaster ruining our city, or Mom/Dad losing her/his job?”  Choose an example you know would impact her.                              

Adult: Let’s make that your #10.  Now where does losing Grace land on the scale?

(From this point on, you will know the gravity the girl rates her loss.  Whether it’s high, low, or in the middle, there is now a point of reference.  I’ll now take the conversation two different ways.)

When the Number is High

Adult:  You chose #7.  Losing Grace is hitting you pretty hard and must be causing you a lot of stress.  With that amount of stress, we’ll have to figure out things you can do right away to help your body stay healthy and cope with it.  When your body feels better, you probably will be able to deal with the loss of Grace’s friendship more effectively.  Let’s start with ways you can help your body and mind feel better fast, and then we can talk about strategies to help you through the loss of Grace and toward finding other friends.

(Immediate stress relief can come through exercise, journaling, drawing or other artwork, parental TLC, baths or showers, doing favorite things, etc.  Being gentle with oneself at this time increases opportunities to rationally think about the situation and come up alternative friendship ideas)

When the Number is Low

Adult:  You chose #3.  Even though losing Grace seems and feels big, you’ve shown both of us that it’s not as big as you first had thought.  What’s that like for you?

Child:  It still hurts.

Adult:  I’m sure it does, but I’m glad it’s not a high number.  A #3 shows me that you have the strength to get through it.  I know you can do it.  Would you like my help?

Understanding grief and your child’s reaction to it, will help you guide her through difficult times.  Teaching kids to understand, acknowledge, and respect the feelings that come with grief, is one of the greatest gifts you can EVER give a child.  The skills are useful throughout life, for they increase problem solving skills, healthy attitudes, and good mental health.

 

 

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC

 

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

 

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Did you ever consider the end to a friendship a death?  It is, you know.  It’s the death of a relationship, and the depth and longevity of the bond impacts the magnitude of grief.  When a friendship ends, especially through relational aggression, grief is compounded and complicated by feelings of betrayal.

It’s a hard enough situation for adults to navigate, so imagine how children and teenagers feel.  (It’s a problem if you can’t imagine it!)  Adults have had more life experience to gauge their own severity of loss and also have a fully developed brain (age 25 and up) to get through it.  Those adult assets – experience and maturity – are blessings if you understand these three things:

  1. Loss comes in different forms.
  2. Meeting a person where they are in their loss journey is important to healing.
  3. What a person feels is what they feel.

Let’s go deeper.

1. Loss comes in different forms.  It’s the end of something, be it temporary or permanent.  A permanent loss is the physical death of a person, place, or thing.  When a person or pet dies, their physical presence is no longer available to you.  The World Trade Center was permanently destroyed on September 11, 2001.  Even if it were rebuilt replicating the original, it wouldn’t be the same.  Natural disasters such as flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes, and tornados permanently alter geographic locations.

Another realm of loss is that it can be temporary or permanent, long-standing or brief.  Examples include the loss of:  identity, grounding, happiness, a dream or goal, status, belief in self or others, balance offset by a situational event, or relationship changes.

2. When you meet someone where they are emotionally, you must release your own personal expectations, judgments, hypotheses, and comparisons to listen empathically and fully.  Their problem or loss is about them unfettered by your stuff.  When you leave your stuff at the door, it allows you to meet the other person where THEY are.  That is the starting place.

3. Feelings are feelings.  They are neither right nor wrong; they just are.  I own my feeling and you own yours.  I also own the depth of my feelings, and so do you.  This, too, is neither right nor wrong.  It just is. Think back to when you were a child or teen.  Choose a situation where you felt devastated but find it trivial or humorous now.  Back then you felt what you felt, and no coaxing could help you feel differently.

Remember these points when your daughter is grieving the death of a friendship:
•Don’t tell her things aren’t as bad as she makes them out to be.
•Don’t give any “things could be so much worse” lectures.
•Don’t tell her how little or big her problem is.
•Don’t speak negatively about the other girl.
•Do tell her how you feel about the other girl’s part in the situation.
•Do listen empathically.
•Do try to determine the kind and extent of her loss.  In a friendship loss, she could lose her identity, feeling grounded, ability to focus, appetite, etc.  Guide her to determine whether her loss is permanent or if it could be temporary.  Watch for symptoms of depression.
•Do ask if she would like hear about some of your experiences and how you felt about them then and now.  Respect her answer.
•Do ask her what she needs to move forward.
•Do tell her you will be there for her to listen and to help.

In Part 2, I will illustrate how to have a helpful conversation with your daughter when she experiences the death of a friendship through emotional bullying.  I’ll also give you a quick and easy strategy that you can use ANYWHERE to help her put friendship problems or other experiences in perspective.

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

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If manipulation, as a noun defined, is artful or skillful management, and as a verb, means to negotiate, control, or influence (something or someone) cleverly, skillfully, or deviously, then manipulation, as a relationship tool, is just plain scary.  It’s a sideways method for getting what you want instead of using direct, honest communication.

In one sense, manipulation can be innocuous.  Parents use manipulative techniques to persuade their children to eat healthily.  And who among us hasn’t helped manage some sort of situation to pull off a surprise for someone’s birthday?  Intentions, in these cases, are meant to help or create a pleasant situation for someone else.  Both examples illustrate the sunnier side of manipulation.  But there is a dark side, a very dark side.

The Shadow Side of Manipulation

When kids meet and form new friendships, there is joy and abandon.  This is particularly true for our youngest.  Small children form bonds easily with little thought of gain or how a friendship could improve their social status.  They just want to play.  It doesn’t take long, though, for cliques to form and manipulation to begin.

Kids discover ways to keep others from joining in play.  Changing the truth just a little can keep an unpleasant situation at bay.  Forgetting on purpose can explain away an indiscretion.  And gathering a group together to “explain” one version of a story first before someone else’s opposing view can be told gives a certain stronghold over the most believable version of the truth.

It’s natural for kids to experiment with manipulation, but it’s a sad place to stay.   With girls and boys equally using it, anyone who continually succeeds through manipulation increases their chances of becoming a manipulative adult.  Spending enough time with a relationship manipulator eventually exposes their MO.  Unfortunately for the manipulator, relationships are shallow and ever changing.  It becomes a heartache for manipulators and their targets alike.

Victim, Victim – Who Gets to Be the Victim?

A masterful manipulator knows how to appear as the wronged party.  The best defense is a good offense; that is the manipulator’s mantra.  She knows how to set things up.  Victim is the desired role, because if you are the victim, you cannot be in the wrong.   Let me illustrate through roles and age groups:
Preschool:  Sarah retrieves a toy Mia has just snatched out of her hands. (Mia, crying to an adult)  “Sarah took my toy!”  Sarah is reprimanded to share.
Siblings:  Younger Child wants to play with Older Child’s science experiment.  Older Child, not wanting to have the school assignment destroyed, denies the request.   Younger Child cries to Parent that Older Child is mean.  Older Child is reprimanded because, of course, she/he is older and should know better.  (Younger Child smiles at Older Child)
Grade School:  A group of girls calls Mary names.  Mary, in tears, says she will report the group to the teacher after recess.   After recess, the group reaches the teacher first and reports that Mary has been calling them names.
Junior High and High School:  Maria and Eve were friends who told each other everything.  Their relationship included privately venting about others and sharing their opinions.  A fight ends the relationship, so Eve seeks “justice” by proclaiming herself Victim while sharing Maria’s private, negative views of others.  As a result, Maria is ostracized, and Victim Eve is embraced.
Romantic Relationships:  Maggie doesn’t like Josh’s friends, so each time he goes out with them, she sulks for days.  When Josh asks what’s wrong, Maggie responds, “Nothing.”
Work:  Analise’s boss asked her to do extra assignments without any compensation.  When Analise spoke up to say she would need extra compensation to pay for her babysitter’s additional time, the boss became incensed.  In conversations now, the boss calls Analise his Prima Dona employee.  When others ask about the obvious change in their relationship, he just shrugs his shoulders as if to suggest she is a difficult employee.  His actions cause others to stay away from Analise.
Character Qualities That Eschew Victimhood and Embrace Self-Efficacy

To raise a 21st Century Citizen who is able to become happy, self-reliant and successful in relationships and life itself, guide your child to live these five character qualities.  They are the antidotes to manipulation:

1. Respect
2. Responsibility
3. Resiliency
4. Honesty
5. Courage

When you respect yourself and others, it allows you to be honest in your communications and to take responsibility for your words and actions.  Resiliency gets you through the difficult times, and courage helps keep you in alignment with the other character values.

What gifts you will give your child – your guidance toward characteristics that lead to fulfilling relationships without manipulation and victimhood!

 

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

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Summer is a time for kid heaven. It’s a time for freedom, friendships, fun, and eventually, “Mom, I have nothing to do.” (For precise expressiveness, the word “mom” must be said in a nasal tone and as if comprised of two syllables.)

Not to worry! Hand this list over to your child and say, “I know just what you can do. *Complete this list by the time summer is over, and you will have practiced most of the skills necessary to build good friendships.”

Apologize – Say you’re sorry when you mess up.

Balance – Balance your time wisely between friends and responsibilities.

Cool – Cool down your temper by deep breathing or walking away.

Dream – Dream about how you want your friendships to be.

Encourage – Encourage someone when they are feeling down or afraid.

Feel – Feel your emotions instead of stuffing them inside.

Give – Give of yourself. Help someone who could use help.

Humble – Be humble when you are complimented on an accomplishment.

Integrate – When someone wants to join you, integrate them into your group.

Judge – Judge friendships on your own experience, not by someone’s opinion.

Kick – Kick a habit that interferes with your friendships.

Laugh – Find someone who makes you laugh. Laughter = friendship magic!

Manage – Manage your commitments and do what you have promised.

Negotiate – Negotiate a compromise in a friendship disagreement.

Oppose – Oppose actions that purposely hurt another.

Praise – Praise someone’s accomplishments.

Quit – Quit a friendship that doesn’t feel good.

Relate – Find a way to relate to someone who is different than you.

Start – Start a new friendship.

Team – Team up with others to have fun.

Understand – Try to understand an opinion different than yours.

Value – Value others who make you feel good about yourself.

Wonder – Wonder about what makes a good friend.

X – X out the negative attitude. No one loves a grump.

Yield – Yield to your friends now and then to share decision-making.

Zip – Zip your lips when you feel like repeating words that hurt.

* Your child has the opportunity to be featured on the A Way Through, LLC website. Just write to us and let us know how your child used the A – Z Summer Friendship List.

© 2010 A Way Through, LLC

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

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Image management – what is it? Is it keeping your image polished, restoring one that’s damaged, or creating one that’s new and shiny?  Perhaps it’s more technological and refers to managing digital images.  If it were any of these, I’d advise you to seek an Image Management Coach, PR agency, or computer geek. No need for any of those, though.  All you need is yourself and the ability to honestly self-reflect. Image management is maintaining perceptions of self through the use of coping strategies.  Let me illustrate through examples.

Two Examples

Mia, a middle school girl, sees herself as artistic, interesting, and witty. She, as do we all, looks for validation of her self-dubbed labels.  When someone compliments her artwork, listens to what she has to say, or laughs at her witty retorts, her perceptions are reinforced. To manage her image, Mia works diligently to produce her artwork and looks for opportunities to connect and display her wit.

Sally is a corporate executive.  She sees herself as competent, in control, and well-liked by her employees. Her self-image is validated when her employees smile at her, complete their projects, and work runs smoothly.  To manage her image, Sally works relentlessly to be pleasant to her employees and to control each step of every project to ensure quality results. She looks for opportunities to prove her competence.

Both Mia and Sally use image management to reinforce their self impressions.  As long as they interpret others to be experiencing them as they wish to be experienced, they feel balanced.  But watch them go off kilter when others have a different impression.

The Mirror Metaphor

When we polish our hypothetical image mirror, we expect it to be shiny.  And then someone smears it up after all the work we’ve put into managing our image!  Others may interpret our reflection differently than we.  In Mia’s case, some classmates see her wit as an excessive attempt to gain attention.  Some of Sally’s employees see her as controlling rather than in control.

A secure individual can bounce back quickly when her self-image is challenged by others’ words or reactions.  No matter how secure we are, though, when challenged frequently, it’s time to go inward and take inventory.  We need to honestly assess whether we are acting and living authentically or if were managing our image to portray someone we’re not.

Fear and Relational Aggression

When others’ reactions implicate they don’t share our self-image, the incongruence can produce feelings of irritation, anger, confusion, or self-doubt.  The underlying feeling, though, is fear.

We fear we may not fit the image we want.  A person who will not honestly self-reflect and adjust can resort to relational aggression to discount the people who don’t agree with her or share her self-assessments.

Mia might label the kids who don’t enjoy her wit as humorless or too dense to “get it.”  She may go as far as starting rumors about kids who don’t seem to like her in order to discredit them.

Sally might have an employee who asks for freedom to complete a project with less direct input. The employee may go as far as speaking up to Sally and saying she finds Sally to be too controlling.  Sally could discount this request by labeling the employee as insubordinate, cheeky, or incompetent.  To prove her point (and save her image), Sally could resort to becoming a bully boss.  By finding negative “evidence” about the employee instead of self-reflecting, Sally will probably find reason to let her go.  Score?  Image management 1, self-growth 0.

We need to help our girls learn to self-reflect and be honest about who they are instead of resorting to emotional bullying for image management.  Everyone has a shadow part.  As women, we should do the same.  And we should know that by now.

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

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I teach workshops for grades K-8 girls to help them identify and successfully navigate through relational aggression. After every workshop, the girls are asked to complete an evaluation, so I can continually improve upon workshop content and delivery. I want to know what’s near and dear to girls’ hearts regarding emotional bullying.

The first time “it” happened, I was amazed. There it was in childlike scrawl in response to the question:

Question: What did you learn today?

Answer: I didn’t know I was a bully.

Imagine my amazement! The workshop helped one girl recognize her behaviors were of the bullying sort. My intention was to help girls successfully navigate through bullying, and it was a BIG bonus for someone to have an “aha” moment regarding their own bullying behaviors! I also thought it was a one-time answer.

And Then It Happened Again

Along came another workshop and another “I didn’t know I was a bully” answer. And then another and another. The answer became so prevalent I came to understand many girls didn’t recognize their behaviors as hurtful to others.

The Theory: We Can’t Assume

While it seems reasonable that girls should know what types of behaviors are hurtful to others, we can never assume they do.  So much of what they say and do is learned though role modeling, people watching, or media examples.  At a young age, it’s hard for girls to understand that the comment, “Whatever,” is sarcastic or dismissive or that eye rolling is a way to show disrespect or disdain.  When they’ve grown up with family or school teasing or name calling, why should they know these are not appropriate friendship-making skills?  When their childhood idols gossip and are routinely part of the rumor mill, why would it occur to them that talking negatively about others is hurtful?

Directly Teaching Friendship Skills

Let’s think about this.  Since a significant number of girls don’t realize their actions are bullying behaviors, why don’t we directly teach them positive friendship skills?  Instead of giving them a don’t list, let’s teach them how to be a good friend with steps to follow, positive examples, and practice opportunities.  Here is a list of lessons girls need to master in order to help them move away from relational aggression as a solution to their problems.

  1. How to ask for what you need.
  2. What to do when your friend is hurting another, and you don’t want to be a part of it.
  3. How to respectfully disagree.
  4. How to speak up.
  5. What to do when a friend is not acting like a friend.
  6. What to do when a friend acts like she owns you.
  7. When to ask an adult for help with a friendship.
  8. How to stay out of the cycle of gossip and rumors.
  9. How to excuse yourself from a group that is talking negatively about others.
  10. How to end a friendship that no longer works.

When girls learn these skills, they no longer will have to resort to relational aggression or emotional bullying to fulfill their needs.  That is exactly what many girls have been doing.  And they didn’t even realize they were bullies.

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

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 First do no harm.  When our kids tell us they‘ve been on the receiving end of emotional bullying, we want to help.  Our initial response, though, can be a deal maker or a deal breaker.  The goal is to help the individual open up and express herself, so she can then focus on choosing a solution that’s appropriate to her situation. 

 So, think of this as a great opportunity to be the door at which she comes a-knocking for help.  (Yes, you are the door!)  Your first remarks can either open that door up wide for further conversation or slam it shut in her face with the wrong comments.

 The good news is that the words to open up the conversation are simple and few, and she will do most of the talking.  You can pick or mix and match from this sample menu:

  • Tell me about it.
  • What was it like for you?
  • What would you like to have happen?
  • Let’s brainstorm some possible solutions.

 The door-slamming phrases are plentiful and common.  Stay away from these if you want to keep the lines of communication open.

  1. Oh, it can’t be that bad!
  2. Just be nice to them, dear, and they’ll be nice to you.
  3. Be mean back to her.
  4. Just go out to recess. It will be fine.
  5. Learn to take it. You’ll be a stronger person in the long run.
  6. Well, in my day it wasn’t this way.
  7. Girls are just mean!
  8. You’ll have to learn sooner or later that the world’s not a nice place.
  9. That’s just the way girls are.
  10. Learn to be friends with them.
  11. You won’t succeed in (middle school, high school, college, life) if you can’t take it now.
  12. I know what you mean.
  13. That’s the bad part about being female!
  14. I’m a man.  Go talk to your mother.
  15. Go play with boys then.  This doesn’t happen with them.
  16. Oh, I wish girls could be more like boys in handling problems.
  17. Your sister never had this problem.
  18. You’re only (5, 10, 15…).  Things could be much worse.
  19. You’re (10, 15, 20…). You should know how to handle this by now.
  20. You think that’s bad, just wait until you get out into the real world!

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC 

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

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 Click Here to Read Part 1

“What do I do when I keep saying I’m sorry, but my friend won’t forgive me? Sometimes I don’t even know what I did wrong!”

In this article I explore the way some girls manipulate apologies by feigning hurt or sadness to control the girls who allow them to do so.

Females and Apologizing

 Females have a tendency to apologize too much.  When someone bumps into us, we are inclined to apologize for being in someone’s way.  If our kids forget to take their lunches to school, we apologize for not noticing as they raced through the door without their lunch boxes.  And if someone has hurt feelings, we rack our brains to figure out what we might have done to cause their pain.  Is it any wonder then that girls apologize to friends who hold them hostage through the manipulation of apologies?

It’s All About Connections

This is oh-so-common in girls’ world, so let’s look at it through the lens of connections.  The female brain seeks connections to others because of its organic hard wiring.  Let’s see how this plays out with elementary or junior high school girls.

A Typical Story

Girl A and Girl B are a part of a larger friendship group.  Girl A has been bossy and hurtful to Girl B.  Girl A’s intention is to separate herself from the person who causes her pain.

Girl B – I don’t want to be friends with you anymore.  You’re mean! 

Girl A (beginning to cry) –That’s not true!

Girl B – It is too!  (She walks away from Girl A).

Girl A begins crying harder.  The other girls in the group notice this.  They approach her and listen to her story about Girl B not wanting to be friends with her.  The group of girls approach Girl B and admonish her for hurting Girl A’s feelings.  Girl A returns to Girl B to apologize.

Analysis of the Situation

All of the girls in this scenario were motivated by their need for connections. 

Girl A wanted either to stay connected to Girl B or strengthen her connection with the group.  She cried to manipulate an outcome.  The crying could have been authentic due to upset feelings, but the outcome desired was a connection.  A girl who learns to use this powerful manipulation technique to her advantage often is able to get what she wants.  Unfortunately for her, however, she risks becoming unable to ask directly for what she needs.  Crying or blaming others lasts only as long as the group is unaware of her MO.  This girl eventually may only become capable of surface relationships, need to change friends or switch jobs frequently, or become a leader through the abuse of power at the expense of others.

Girl B wanted to disconnect from Girl A, but her desire for group connection was much stronger than her need to unhook from an undesirable relationship.  The ultimate hope for Girl B is to realize her needs won’t always be compatible with a group’s need for cohesiveness, and it’s OK to leave a group that is hurtful or unhealthy.  The best-case scenario for this girl is to come to understand that group membership needn’t supersede her need for health, safety, well-being, or happiness.  The worst outcome is that this girl will stay in abusive relationships.

The Group saw Girl B’s behavior – as explained by Girl A – as divisive.  It caused ripples in group cohesiveness.  Of course, if the girls had waited to listen to both sides of the story, the outcome may have been different.  The pressure to change or apologize could have been transferred to Girl A.  Groups usually tend to the greatest reaction first, though.  They act first and ask questions later.  Group cohesiveness at all costs creates a tendency to overlook and undervalue individuals’ needs.  This can lead to reality blindness and the loss of thinking for oneself.  Girls who only follow the crowd are, well, only followers.  Opportunities to become transformational leaders and creative thinkers become slimmer.

Back to the Question

 So, how can we help girls who keep apologizing even when they know there is nothing for which to apologize?  There’s a 1, 2, 3 answer.  Teach them to:

  1. Ask questions to learn the other person’s perspective.
  2. Honestly examine their behaviors to determine whether they own part of the problem.
  3. Trust their personal power guidance system, listen to their heart or gut and act accordingly, and own their behavior only.

 How Expensive is This Friendship?

Taking responsibility for someone’s hurt when you didn’t cause it doesn’t help anyone.  It’s a way to stay stuck for both parties involved.  Apologizing for a hurt you did not cause in order to keep a friend or group acceptance is very expensive.  It costs you your self-respect by holding you a prisoner of someone else’s wants and needs by sacrificing your own.  Please help the girls in your life to understand this.

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC 

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

Comments (2)

We should never do for children what they can do for themselves. Girls can and do work through their own friendship problems — we should trust them to learn and grow through their experiences. The girls who have these problem-solving skills can use them for a lifetime!

So what can you do to empower girls to solve issues from a young age? You can instill confidence and problem solving skills in girls by being reassuring when friends clash. Remove yourself from their emotional drama, and take the opportunity to talk about these three concepts:

Conflict is normal and friendship problems are common. Rather than playing into the drama of friendship problems, make the situation matter-of-fact. Try using yourself as a point of reference to let them know, “Oh, yeah, I know what that’s like. I’ve had that happen to me, too.” Then they’ll realize that conflict is part of everyday life.

Problems can be solved. Girls can learn that even though they have a disagreement, it doesn’t have a stay a disagreement. We can teach them to ask questions to resolve arguments and issues. We should work with girls to improve their listening skills so they understand another girl’s point of view. Tone of voice also plays a role in good communication.

We’re here to help, not solve. By showing faith in girls and their problem-solving abilities, we adults show them that we trust them. Make sure they know your door is open if they need help.

Let’s make a pact. Let’s stop swooping in to solve problems for our girls. Trust in their abilities! Be available to them. Nurture their social intelligence and communication skills to create independent problem solving, and you’ll be taking a huge leap toward fostering well-balanced, confident girls. What could be a better gift for the girl in your life?

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

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“What do I do when I keep saying I’m sorry, but my friend won’t forgive me? Sometimes I don’t even know what I did wrong!” 

This is a standard question girls ask, and it boils down to one major factor. Girls are reluctant to address conflict directly.

And it’s not a matter of being too nice or unassertive.  It’s a matter of brain wiring and also not knowing what to do.  Girls are wired to be relationship connectors, and conflict is viewed as a BIG disconnect.  Thus, it’s is avoided at all costs – even at the cost of a friendship.

Here’s a pattern of reasoning that makes the question above so difficult for girls to resolve.  Let’s say that Girl A asked the question, and Girl B is the unforgiving friend.

Girl A’s reasoning:

  1. I upset my friend and need to apologize.
  2. I apologized, but she won’t forgive me.
  3. I’ll keep apologizing until she forgives me.
  4. I’m upset, because my friend won’t forgive me.

Girl B’s reasoning:

  1. My friend hurt my feelings.
  2. She apologized, but I’m still hurt.
  3. I don’t know how to tell her how much she hurt me.  She might not like me if I do.
  4. I won’t talk to her, because I don’t know how to make this better.

As you see here, we have a failure to communicate. When you dissect the reasoning, you see that #3 for both girls is the sticking point.  Girl A keeps apologizing, but Girl B won’t say how much she was hurt.  And so the circle goes.

Fortunately, there is a solution.  It comes in the direct teaching of social skills in the areas of how to extend an apology for Girl A and how to express your feelings and speak up when you’re hurt for Girl B.

Girl A needs to know that not all friends forgive, and one apology plus a further check in is all she can do.  She must learn to move on.  Girl B needs much practice in speaking up assertively when a conflict occurs instead of hiding behind the façade of being unforgiving.  She must learn how to speak up to ask for what she needs in a friendship or how to move on from one that’s untenable.

Now is it just me, or did anyone else detect a smidge of manipulation in the question above?  You know, the part that says sometimes I don’t even know what I did wrong.  In Part 2, I’ll address the emotional bullying technique of keeping a friend hostage through the manipulation of apologies.

© 2011 A Way Through, LLC  

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Female friendship experts Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish A Way Through, LLC’s Guiding Girls ezine. If you’re ready to guide girls in grades K – 8 through painful friendships, get your FREE mini audio workshop and ongoing tips now at www.AWayThrough.com

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Untitled Document When Girls Hurt Girls™ Parent Pack

Do you feel unequipped to help your daughter or students navigate painful friendships?

Finally, the instruction manual you need to help your Kindergarten – Grade 8 daughter or students find their way through painful friendships
.


Listen to the program introduction here.

When Girls Hurt Girls™ is a home practice guide for parents who want to help their hurting daughters, but don’t know where to start. It's also PERFECT for use in school or small group settings.

Through loving discussions and role-play exercises, your daughter or students will connect with their personal power and gain the confidence to resolve conflicts and attract the right kind of friendships to their lives.

REMEMBER: Works great for educators and group/team leaders too!  

Untitled Document


Do you need help in guiding your daughter through a difficult friendship situation?

Finally, 1-on-1 personalized help is available to assist you in guiding your daughter through her friendship problems now!

Introducing a new way to get support…

Our new Quick Assist program has been developed for parents who want help that’s tailored to their specific situation. Through no-nonsense strategy sessions, you will gain clarity on what to say to your daughter, what not to say, and how you can become a source of inspiration and support for her.

REMEMBER: Works great for educators and group/team leaders too!  
Click here
to learn more about the Quick Assist package.