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I am the mom of a thirteen year old girl. This means I hear a lot of gossip. (They call it tea, just so you know.) She and her friends spend most weekends at my house, and they have a lot to say.
You know that whole, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” thing? Well, That isn’t something that comes super easy to a teenage girl. And this is something we have to fix.
You see, teenage girls are actually good people.
No matter what they want you to believe. They have some of the biggest hearts around, and they WANT to be friends with everyone. The last thing they want to do is hurt someone, well– that’s the second to last thing they do. The last thing they want is to hurt themselves.
And they’ve spent years watching women being competitive with each other. The message we’ve given these girls is that to be the best, you have to step over your competitors.
You have to claw your way to the top.
This is what we’ve taught these girls, and we have to start teaching them differently. We have to teach them that their successes in life don’t come at the expense of others. In fact, they need to know that helping others reach their goals is actually a success in and of itself.
It’s important to me that my daughter knows her worth isn’t based on other people’s failures. And this is hard to learn when you’re a teenager! When things get too gosspiy, or things get too catty, we stop and take a breath. Start over, and say something nice about the person.
It’s okay to not like someone, but it isn’t okay to talk about why you don’t like them incessantly. It’s okay to not be friends with someone, but it isn’t okay to wish they don’t make the team. Instead, tell them, “good luck” and do your best.
It’s not just about staying in your own lane and not worrying about other people. It’s more than that. You also need to help when you can, don’t look down on other people, and build them up.
Sometimes people need that. Sometimes people need to be built up. Sometimes YOU need to be built up, and don’t you want someone there to be that person who does that for you?
The very best way to have someone be that person who builds you up is to be that person yourself. And that’s what I am teaching my daughter– and every single teenage girl who walks through my front door.