I do some in-house private tutoring as well, and one of my students’ parents, who is a doctor, asked me what I thought was the most important factor of raising girls who are strong and make good decisions.
This sounds like something you have to think about for a long time. But it turns out not. It was an answer that, for me, was as easy as answering, “What type of food do you like to eat? What is your favorite color?”
Having strong female friendships.
In addition to being bolstered by awesome 90s Nickelodeon shows and reading books and stuff, it has been, all my life, my strong female friendships that I’ve come to depend on the most. I had 11 bridesmaids in my wedding, and I don’t regret that. All of these women, and many more, have affected my life, supported my decision making, and helped me to become the woman I am today. My friendships with my girlfriends, throughout my entire life, have helped me to have a strong marriage thus far.
Everyone needs to have good role models who they can look up to. In many ways, they need to have good role models who they can relate to, and say, “Hey, that person looks like me, or has this in common with me, or comes from the same place I do, and that could be me doing those awesome things one day.”
And in girls, no amount of Women’s History Month or whatever can replace having strong, loyal female friends. I read recently about two women who are going for a full month of no beautification, here at the Naked Face Project. The older woman involved in the twosome states in her biography that she had a lack of female friends growing up. She has obviously achieved some success in what she does, but that got me scratching my head.
In the last week or so, I spent a good deal of time with old sorority sisters, and I realized how much I truly missed my girl time. Nowadays, my friends are all couples, or mostly friends I know via my husband. Spending time with my girls, two who I’d been roommates with, was invaluable. It even got me motivated to update this blog right now. It seems bizarre, but I’d almost forgotten that I have a large group of friends who can relate to so many of the things I feel and do as of right now.
I read an article a few months ago about raising confident girls. I am addicted to reading comments on many of the articles I read online (although sometimes it’s a useless & infuriating habit), but some obviously frustrated father said, “How do you keep them happy though?”
I felt inclined to respond that it’s not about keeping girls happy. It’s about making them strong, determined, independent, and resilient to the point where they can make their own decisions and deal with what life hands them. Happiness is sometimes a by-product, and sometimes not. The important thing is to make them strong.
There’s a lot more to be said about this, and there’s a lot more to uncover about the subject, but for the moment, I’ll leave it with this. Girls need strong female friendships to become strong girls.