I have a weekend retreat coming up in a few weeks for middle school girls, and it reminds me of how important it is for all girls and women, but perhaps most importantly for girls in this age group, to have safe, sacred spaces to share their stories.
Girls, much more so than boys, are wired to connect. And as their estrogen starts to rise as preteens, their hormones prime that connecting pump even more. That’s why if you see a group of girls hanging out, they will be grooming each other and touching each other as a way to connect and be close and part of a group. And do they EVER love telling and hearing stories.
When we do our learning times, we sit on some carpeting in front of a fireplace, do a few icebreakers, and off they go. They love telling peers what they are going through, how they feel, and what they need and desire. Hearing other girls stories lets them know that they are not alone, and not crazy.
It’s not safe for them to tell even good friends at school important things because of fears of where it will go. Most have had their trust betrayed, and so they hold onto feelings and hurts. That’s why a retreat-type setting is so valuable for them. They can feel safe, heard, and understood. They can give each other suggestions and support. And they will have older girls and women to give them perspective.
Every girl needs a safe place to share and be real and be heard. Anne Frank had to use her diary. Find good places for girls you know and love to do this kind of personal growth.