Middle School Girls’ Friendship Advice for Elementary School GirlsBy Blair Wagner, CPCC, ACC
When I facilitate girl-to-girl friendship mentoring training sessions for middle school girls, I start with a question. I ask… What is the most important thing you know about friendships you wish you knew in elementary school?
The girls think about this for a moment, and here is what they typically say:
1. You’ll have different friends in middle school
Girls entering middle school are surprised to discover their friendships change. Cliques (or posses) they thought were permanent tend to evolve or dissolve when they enter their middle school years. This creates new friendship opportunities.
Girls also report that multiple sports and activities introduce new groups of friendships to them. Girls new to middle school are pleased to learn they can be part of multiple friendship groups.
Their advice for elementary school girls: Try out new friendships in addition to your regular friends.
2. You’ll like girls you didn’t like in elementary school
Often very young girls think if someone is not their friend, she must be their enemy. They draw rigid lines around friendships.
Middle school girls say they’ve learned to open up to new friendships and new kinds of friends, even girls they didn’t like before. They have a wider range of friends.
Their advice for elementary school girls: Be open to new friendships with girls you didn’t think you’d like.
3. It gets better
Middle school girls report they had a harder time with friendships in elementary school. They say friendships get easier as they get older.
Their advice for elementary school girls: Don’t worry if things don’t go well in a friendship. It will keep getting easier.
Relational Aggression in Middle School
Interestingly, relational aggression and female bullying tends to peak in the middle school years. Girls this age who have the opportunity to learn about friendship dynamics and discover how to be positive advocates for themselves and for others see friendship problems shrink. They become empowered and love to share their wisdom with younger girls!
© 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