5 Key Friendship Skills for Girls Grades K-2


Hi, there. Through emails to our VIP list, we completed a four-week exploration into how to guide grades K-2 girls to become independent friendship problem solvers. Their success depends on these 5 Key Friendship Skills:

  • Skill #1 — Self Trust
  • Skill #2 — Decision-Making
  • Skill #3 — Assertiveness
  • Skill #4 — Bullying Refusal
  • Skill #5 — Conflict Resolution

Read on for a complete recap of all 5 skills!

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to make sure you register for our F-R-E-E telelcass event on Tuesday, November 16, where we’ll share more information.  It’s easy!  Just click this link to reserve your seat on this call.

NOTE: Use this same link to register for our FREE teleclass on March 3, 2011, also!

During this FREE 45-minute teleclass by phone on November 16th, you will find information on “When Girls Hurt Girls®: How to Guide Grades K-2 Girls Through Painful Friendships and Emotional Bullying.”

Friendship Skill #1: Self Trust 

The foundation of building thriving friendships for all girls (and women) is Self Trust.  In order to connect with others who will feed them with healthy interactions, young girls need to learn how to trust their inner guidance system.  This shows up in the form of gut hunches, intuition, a voice in their head.  They learn what and who feels right for them, and what/who doesn’t.

When girls as young as kindergarten learn to trust their inner guidance system, they tap into the inner knowing that will help them choose friends wisely.  They’ll learn that if it feels bad, it is bad.  Self Trust helps young girls identify if there is a problem.  This is a great jumping off point to the second key skill, Decision Making.  

Friendship Skill #2: Decision-Making

Once our girls have developed self trust, they must then make a decision to do something about a friendship that feels bad.  Lingering in its uncomfortable feelings and negative energy makes for an unhappy girl. Through your guidance, she can come to understand she has options in the matter.  She does not have to stay stuck in the hurt. There is really something she can do about it!  A K-2 girl can and will learn there are several choices she can make concerning friendship woes.  When suitable choices are laid out for her, she can learn to decide which options feel comfortable to her.

A grade K-2 girl who has honed her decision-making skills knows there is a way through painful friendships. With practice, she can come to think of her own options. Soon enough she will become confident in deciding what to do.  The world opens wide for the girl who becomes skilled in the art of decision making.  One of the keys to developing high self-esteem is understanding a decision must be made and then making it.  That’s an element of personal power!

Friendship Skill #3: Assertiveness

We’ve said (1.) Self-trust will help a girl know that if a friendship feels bad, it probably is bad, and (2.) Decision-making is the next process she must go through to choose what she will do about it.  Assertiveness (#3) is the quality she needs to carry the decision out.  It implies confidence.  A girl who has made a decision to do something about a hurtful friendship must now take a step to do so.  With assertiveness, she carries out her decision.  Even one who is reluctant to speak up to her friend can do so with assertiveness. 

Practice will help.  With your help, your daughter or student can rehearse what she is going to say or do to stop the hurt.  And when she does this, whether her voice is quiet and shaky or bold, her confidence will grow.  Each time she practices, she will improve.   Assertiveness doesn’t come easily to everyone.  It is something that can be grown and cultivated.  Believe us.  This can and will happen!

Friendship Skill #4: Bullying Refusal

Many young girls don’t have enough experience to realize they don’t have to accept bullying.  When it happens, they don’t know what to do. Either they don’t know how to respond, or they don’t know they can respond.  When a girl is blind-sided by her first bullying experience, she may believe she has to do what the bully says or accept what was said or done.

It’s difficult to prepare kids for everything they could possibly encounter in life.  It’s tricky with bullying, because when introducing bullying prevention, there is a delicate balance.  While we don’t want to plant seeds of fear, we do want our girls to have a “heads up.”  There’s a natural route to take.  When sharing literature, movies, or family TV time, talk about any bullying situations that come up.

Discuss who the bully is and who is the target of the bullying.  Let your child know that the target can refuse bullying. There is something that can be done when bullying happens.  A target can refuse, or say no to bullying, in several ways.  Keep examples simple: tell the bully to stop or walk away or get help.  The clear message your child should get is that she can refuse bullying.  It is not something she has to endure.

Friendship Skill #5: Conflict Resolution

Conflicts are problems between and among people.  They are part of human nature, because we all are unique and have our own perspective on things.  Conflict is natural, and it is neither good nor bad.  Let’s teach our young girls this very point. 

Let them know that when there is a problem between people, the problem can usually be worked out.  Listening to another to really understand helps problems between friends.  Talking about differences also helps.  Walking away from conflict when it becomes too much to handle offers a cooling off period.  Don’t forget about taking a time out, too.  Frame the time out as a good thing to do for yourself when you need space.  It’s not about giving oneself consequences for having a problem with someone.  It’s about making space for thinking about what to do.

Girls who learn how to solve conflicts usually have fewer problems with bullying.  Teach the difference between having a problem with a friend and being bullied.  Girls with equal power can have a conflict but often call each other bullies.  Two friends who usually squabble about many things are not necessarily bullying each other.  They are having a conflict when they disagree.  Things change, though, when one asks the other to stop an unwanted behavior, and the behavior continues.  When the behaviors are one-sided, unwanted, and usually occurring more than once, there is a power imbalance.  That is bullying.

© 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

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