Fires and Forgiveness

Mother Earth has had plenty of challenges these past few weeks. With the flooding of Houston, the fires raging in the Northwest, and now an impending hurricane in Florida, there’s been a lot of stress.

It’s in these challenging times that we look beyond our political and religious views that have previously been divisive and come together as we focus on survival. Helping each other out in time of need. Because when it gets down to it, we all want the same things- love, security, safety, and health. It’s through the support of one another that we are able to get through these challenging times.

Here in Oregon, the big story of the week was that a 15 year old teen may be responsible for starting the Eagle Creek Fire after throwing fireworks into the dry forest. Over 30,000 acres have burned so far.

I keep thinking about this teen and how he must be feeling now. I would feel so horrible if I had done such a thing. Teens brains are still developing and their prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until their mid-twenties.  The teen brain is also wired for more risk taking behavior. You may ask, what is the biological function of that? This helps teens break away from the confines of their parents and starts the individuation process- of becoming an adult.

I’ve seen people attacking this kid on Facebook. It’s easy for us not involved to judge the teen or the parents- didn’t they teach him about fire safety? Or judge society- our kids are so disconnected from nature that they don’t know how to take care of it.

Putting judgement aside, what we really need when we make mistakes is compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and others. This kid will have choices in the aftermath of this. He can take what he’s learned and be stronger because of it and find a way to help others, or go down the dark path of worthlessness and destruction. He may get juvenile detention and decide he is reckless and act out. Or he may head down a darker path at first and find the light later as he matures.

If he can forgive himself and see the lesson learned, then he’s going to be okay. If he doesn’t forgive himself, well… it will be harder to move on.

I feel grateful that that wasn’t my teen that did that. But it could have been any of our teens.

All kids need a place where they can learn and receive compassion and support from each other. If you have a middle school daughter in Portland, I’d invite you to check out my upcoming class:

Girls Rock Empowerment (6th-8th grade)
Thursdays Sept, 21-Nov. 16th, 4:15- 5:30pm
OmBase in Hillsdale
Click here to register

Classes also at Rieke  for 4th and 5th grade girls.

Here’s a cool song written about the current challenges the USA has been experiencing with weather: https://rayezmusic.bandcamp.com/track/red-moon-high-tide

Here’s a good blog post titled Restoring the Heart by Boy’s Alive.

Zen Y’all,
Kim
www.Kimdavies.org

What does empowerment mean?

I put my heart and soul into my camps and classes. This is not just a job for me, it’s a calling. I’m always looking for “answers.’ I read tons of books and take courses, but there’s this sense in me that I really haven’t found what I’m looking for.

The girls get involved in incredibly complicated scenario’s. Many of which there is no clear answer. Parenting is the same way right? 

Here’s some examples:

  • “A friend of mine is really ____ (clingy, annoying, mean, etc) and I don’t want to hang out with her anymore. What do I do? I don’t want to hurt her feelings.”
  • “I don’t like how my ‘friend’ is treating me and I don’t want to hang out with her anymore. We have been friends for a long time and my mom wants me to continue to be friends with her.”
  • “I have 2 friends I love to hang out with but they don’t like each other. I like both of them and they each complain about the other to me and I feel caught in the middle.”

When I am stuck in my ego perspective, I want to be able to come up with some amazing solution that will fix these problems. I would love to be able to wave a magic wand and make it all better. 

However, I believe the best answers come from within, from this inner knowing we each have inside us. It takes practice to access and hear it.  Each situation is unique and different feelings are involved. I can’t possibly know everything involved in the situation and there’s no “right” answer I can give them. 

How many times have you looked for the ‘right’ answer to solve a situation in your life or your children’s?

I was listening to my favorite podcast by Christine Hassler, Over it and On With it, when she talked about Empowerment comes from within. We feel most empowered when we get to our own answers rather than someone telling us. 

Typical female behavior is to ask other friends for help. This can be helpful but also can invite negative  judgement of the person being talked about. It’s  fine to talk with others about the situation, but I’m saying the final decision on what to do should come from the individual, not from others. Parents too! I’m certainly guilty of  telling my daughter what to do in a particular situation, and it backfired!

My goal is to help young women find their inner voice and wisdom so they can express themselves authentically. It’s not about me fixing them. They are not broken  but also there isn’t anything I can do or say that will solve their problem. I am there to facilitate potential insight. 

Do you like receiving advice and then do you go do it? I do not like being given advice. I do like encouragement and I like it when people ask me questions. However this doesn’t happen very often and thus this is what I do in my classes.

This summer, when I started  camp, I felt like I had a certain expectation of what empowerment “should” look like- standing up for yourself, knowing your needs and wants, etc. At the end of each week, when the girls were sharing, I found that empowerment came from the girls being vulnerable, connecting with each other and knowing they were not alone in their feelings.  They were able to find their own answers. Together we had created a safe place for people to express themselves and the girls were so supportive of each other. I expanded my concept of what empowerment looked like.   Just like my tagline says, empowerment through connection. So true!

Zen Y’all,
Kim Davies
www.KimDavies.org

Registration is open for the following classes:
For 6th-8th grade girls
OmBase, Thursdays 4:15-5:30pm
Sept. 21st-Nov. 16th, 2017
Click here for registration

Rieke Elementary
for 4th and 5th grade girls
Wednesdays 3:015-4:20pm
Sept. 20th-Nov. 29th, 2017
Click here for registration

 

6 Tips on Traveling with Teens

traveling, teens

Enjoy the beauty even if your kids don’t!

My husband was on sabbatical last summer, so to take advantage of his extra time, he acquiesced to my calling I’ve had for the past couple of years to go to Ireland. My son wanted to go to London as he says “All the good writers and tv shows come from there.” (ie JK Rowling, Dr. Who, Sherlock,etc).

I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be traveling with teens. My daughter was going to be  13 soon and my son was 15.

My advice for traveling with teens?

Don’t do it.

Just kidding. But here’s a couple of mental shifts to make before you embark on this trip of a lifetime that I learned, that may be helpful to you.

1) Be open to learning what your kid likes or doesn’t like about traveling

My daughter loved the beautiful scenery of Ireland, the green countrysides, the beautiful cliffs and coastlines. My son said “Are we just going to drive around and look at stuff?’

“Um, Yes.”

My son loved the interesting museums in London with the different artifacts from war and the armory.

2) Try to balance everyone’s interests.

You are not going to please everyone at the same time on every activity, and that is okay. Sometimes you may want to split up and do your own thing. My daughter really wanted to go on the London Eye, but my son would rather go to the British Museum, so we each took a kiddo and did that.

Adults are included! In Ireland, my husband and I went out every night to the pubs to hear amazing musicians, while the kids were perfectly happy to stay ‘home’ and ‘chill.’ They were tired from the days activities and from what we saw, there weren’t any kids hanging out in the pubs.

3) Count on your teens wanting to sleep a lot!

We had several times when the kids were just exhausted. We all lost a full night’s sleep enroute to Europe so we were all running a deficit to start out with. Build in some down time into your itinerary.

4) Be prepared, bowel”s will probably get off schedule and there may be some back ups. Bring something to help ‘ease the transition.’

5) Watch the thoughts that are causing you stress.

If you notice the belief, “I’m paying all this money and they aren’t appreciating it!” Think of the long term gain. Travel provides experiences/challenges/ new perspectives that can make an impact on your child’s development. If you can let go of this belief, YOU are going to enjoy your time more.

6) Anxiety may increase.

If you have a family member that tends towards anxiety in new situations and tends to be a homebody, then be aware that he/she could get triggered and find traveling challenging. It’s okay, it’s good to stretch those comfort zones to increase confidence but can be challenging in the moment!

What have YOU learned on traveling with your teens?

Zen Y’all,
Kim

Portland Peeps: Upcoming summer camp for teens!
For girls entering 8th-10th grade
July 24th-28th, 10am-2pm, SW Portland
Click here for more info.
Art, relaxation, mindfulness, discussion

Summer Camp for Teens (8th-10th graders)

I finally made a Youtube video (my first one!). If your daughter has not attended my camp before I wanted them to be able to see what I am like. I am a gentle person and not intimidating :).

If you live in the Portland Metro Area (Oregon), check out my summer camp!

8th-10th grader girls
July 24th-28th, 10am-2pm in SW Portland.
Click HERE for more information

 

13 Reasons Why- Are your kids watching this show?-please read

 

I just finished watching the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.  The show is about a high schooler named Hannah Baker who commits suicide. But before she does she records 13 sides of cassette tapes, 1 for each person that she felt played a part in her decision to commit suicide. The series shows teens having sex, masturbation, spreading rumors via pictures and words on cellphones, sexual assault, drinking, drugs, and suicide. It is graphic and some scenes are disturbing. I would highly recommend watching it with your kid if you decide that it is beneficial for them to watch.

I had decided that I wasn’t quite ready to expose my 13 and and 15 year old to the content yet. But then my middle school daughter came home and said “everyone” was talking about this show 13 Reasons Why.  I asked my freshman son and he said half of his health class was talking about it.

So if you’ve got a tween or teen I recommend you inquire what they may be watching on Netflix. This show is graphic, disturbing and brings up a lot of issues to discuss with your child. But it’s also intriguing and done in such a way you want to keep watching.

The other main character is Clay.  He is in love with Hannah but doesn’t let her know.  He is a good demonstration of how teens sometimes don’t know how to talk to their parents about their feelings and he is struggling inside.  Almost all of the characters don’t talk to their parents until near the end of the show when the parents find out that their teen actually knew Hannah.

Open communication with your teens is paramount to being able to support them. I know when I was a teen I didn’t talk at all to my parents about what was going on.  I want it to be different with my kids. Shows like this definitely provide a platform to talk about these important issues.

It is easier for both parents and teens to talk about these issues when it isn’t directly about them.

Through the lens of each character, we see each person’s struggle with the aftermath of Hannah’s suicide as they question their behavior and decisions.  You also get to see what it can be like for a teen to experience a lot of little mistreatments, that snowball and really impact Hannah’s mental state.

Should I let my child watch this show?

1) Your kid could be watching this show already because kids are talking about it. And you may not know she/he is watching it. Although I think it’s appropriate for teens to watch, I’m more UNcomfortable with middle schoolers watching it. However if they are going to sneak to watch it, it’s better to be there for them to discuss the issues than to forbid them from watching it.

2) The show brings up so many talking points/ questions that it is a great conduit to have some deep conversations with your kids. I recommend watching it with your kid if at all possible.

3) Every kid is different in their development. I recommend you use your intuition whether you think your child can handle watching it. Watch some of it yourself first. The first 3 episodes are fairly moderate. The show gets more intense after Episode 3.

As I write this I haven’t decided whether I want my 13 year old daughter to watch this yet. However she found the book online and started reading it.  My son hasn’t shown interest in it but I would let him watch it. I don’t think it is appropriate for 5th graders (They are stressed out about their transition to middle school!).

Warning: I was so into it I wanted to keep watching it. I found I became obsessed with it and couldn’t wait to watch more. Your child my invariably feel the same way.

Questions for discussion: Many questions don’t have a right or wrong answer. Life is messy and not in black and white. It’s more about the discussion and figuring out values.

  1. When is it okay to take pictures with your cell phone?
    If you take a picture that shows a compromising position, what should you do with it?
  2. How did the group of athletic boys treat each other? What masks (image they tried to project)  did they wear?
  3. Do you think Bryce thought about the consequences of texting that picture of Hannah to the entire school?
  4. What do you think Justin was struggling with regarding  his relationship with Bryce and Jessica after the scene at the party happened?
  5. How is Tyler’s experience like Hannah’s? He may be choosing to deal with it differently, and with dire consequences.
  6. Hannah saw her parents struggling with finances. At one point they talk about using her college fund.  Hannah held the belief “I am a burden to my family.” How else could she have interpreted her parents choice not to use her college fund to cover current expenses?
  7. What do you think Jessica Davis was feeling after she found out she was raped?
  8. What did you think of how Mr. Porter handled the last conversation with Hannah about rape?
  9. What does giving consent for sex look like?
  10. Is it okay for someone to change their mind about wanting sex in the heat of the moment?
  11. Why did Bryce think it was okay to do what he did?
  12. Drinking can cloud your judgement. What poor decisions did some of the characters make while drinking?
  13. Why did Hannah not tell anyone about the sexual assault?
  14. What would you do if you were sexually assaulted?
  15. The kids and adults had various opinions on whether they were or were not responsible for Hannah’s death. What do you think?
  16. Can you feel compassion for each character’s perspective? Do you believe people do the best they can in the moment? Do you have less compassion for some characters than others?

There are important points in this movie for both boys and girls.

Let me know your thoughts on this!

Sincerely,

Kim

Portland Summer Camps for girls entering 6th-10th grade in SW Portland
More info. here
Camps are small so register soon!
July 17-21st (6th-8th graders)
July 24th-28th (8th-10th graders)
August 7th-11th (6th-8th graders)

Filed Under: Uncategorized

My inner critic got the best of me!

April 9, 2017 By

Recently, I took a beginning class in Musical improv and I loved it. Remember Wayne Brady on Whose Line is it Anyways? I want to be able to make up songs on the spot like him! 

The instructor created a safe environment for us to explore.

First we experimented with our voices, singing all together, giving us the space to explore our voices without feeling self-conscious. Then we learned the structure of verses and choruses. Given a word from the audience, four of us would get on the stage and we’d take turns each making up a line of a song. 

I loved it! It was fun to see what came out of our mouths. Many times it was the most obvious, simple things that were the funniest, especially if the person really owned what they were doing. If you made a mistake you own it and you do it again so the next time it seemed like you planned it.

The components of class were light, fun, expressive, and safe.
 
THEN I took the intermediate/advanced level of the class.

And I didn’t feel safe anymore.

My inner critic voice amplified!

There was an additional instructor to this class. Upon walking in to the first class we were asked our favorite karaoke song I haven’t karaoke’d for about 25 years. My mind went blank. I couldn’t even think of my favorite Taylor Swift song that I play on the guitar. I had to look it up on my phone. My nerves and anxiety interrupted my ability to think! I chose Stay Stay Stay. 

In the beginning level class there were a few people that didn’t sing well and weren’t experts at improving, that made me feel better. In the advanced class, it was all people who had a lot of experience with improv.
 
I had immediately labeled myself as “The worst one.” I can feel okay in a class as long as I’m not “The worst one!” 

The first guy to perform, was a guy probably in his 50’s. Big stature, and he did “Like a Virgin” and he nailed it. He was so good! He owned what he was doing and totally went for it.

After we lip synched to our songs,  the teacher asked volunteers to come to the stage and make up an entire song on the spot (there are keyboards to do background music for you.).

Now that was way too much for me, I did not feel safe to do this.There wasn’t enough time for everyone to have a turn so I didn’t do it.

 When I say “safe”, in actuality I mean that my inner critic voice was going crazy and I didn’t feel ‘safe’ from my voice!!!

It’s not like the people in the class would say, “Wow, that really sucked! Better luck next time!”

I did not want to go to the next class. It was so scary for me.  The teacher would critique us, as that was her way of teaching. And she wasn’t mean, but I just had such a hard time handling it. I never went back to class.

My experience was similar to how middle schoolers often feel.

The volume of the inner critic voice turns way up in middle schools. They often compare themselves to others to see how they measure up.

Self-judgement and judgement of others is at an all time high. These kids need safety, a safe environment to explore using their voice and bodies in such a way that creates connection not disconnection. Learning self-compassion is key also.

If you’d like your daughter to experience a safe and inviting environment so she can get a handle on her inner critic voice then check out my upcoming class starting next week at OmBase (for middle schoolers)
and/or my summer camps (for middle and high school).

What’s been your experience with the inner critic voice? Can you relate to what your daughter is going through? Please comment below!

Zen Y’all
Kim Davies

Upcoming Girls Rock Empowerment classes and camps

WEEKLY CLASS
OmBase in Hillsdale (SW Portland)
Thursdays April 13th-June 1st, 4:15-5:30pm
girls currently in 6th-8th grade
More info. here

Summer Camps (crafts, games, discussion, mindfulness, and relaxation)
MORE INFO HERE
Girls entering 6th-8th grade
July 17-21st 10:00am-2:00pm, $220
August 7th-11th 10:00am-2:00pm, $220

Girls entering 8th-10th grade
July 24th-28th, 10:00am-2:00pm, $220

Filed Under: girls, inner critic, middle schoolers, preteen girls, preteens, self-esteem, stress, Uncategorized Tagged With: , , ,

Small Great Things- Raising Racism Awareness

January 17, 2017 By

I just finished reading Jodi Picoult’s book on racism,  Small Great Things. The title comes from a quote attributed to Martin Luther King

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

The book is about recognizing the racism we have in ourselves. About a third of the way through I almost stopped reading it because I was so disturbed by the descriptions of activities of the families who believed in White Supremecy and White Power. But I was drawn to keep reading it and I’m glad I did.

It’s the story of an African American woman who is a nurse. At her place of work, she encounters a couple who are having a baby and they believe in White Supremacy.  The father makes a request to the hospital administration that this nurse not be allowed to care for their baby because she was black. The baby ends up dying and the couple hold the nurse responsible and they go to trial.

Chapters were written from the main characters perspectives- Turk- the white supremist Dad, the nurse, and the nurse’s attorney (who was white).  This gave you an understanding of where each person was coming from and what they were learning from each other.

The book delves into the subtle racism that many white people are not aware of.  The institutional power that white people have that we don’t think of on a daily basis. The privilege we don’t think about at all. For example the attorney is shopping with the nurse, and the cashier asks to see the receipt of the nurse but not the attorney. You get the sense there is always an underlying suspicion with the African Americans.

My Story with Racism

I grew up in Seattle. When I was in 3rd grade my mom didn’t like the teacher I was going to have at our neighborhood school so she signed me up for the bus desegregation program.  I was bussed out to an elementary school in the Central District which was primarily black people. I have no idea the percentage of white and black people. I was in a special program there for 3rd and 4th grade; white kids were the majority. I remember some of the black girls, would say things like “What you looking at? I’ll kick your booty after school!” They never did beat me up after school but as a shy, quiet girl, I was really scared!  Then I went to middle school in the same area. Again in a special program where I don’t remember any black kids in it. It was mostly wealthy kids from an area called Madison. While I’m sure Seattle Public Schools had a good intent, if we were in separate programs, were we really ‘desegregating?’ What did it really accomplish?

I know from that experience that I have some racism in me. I think most of us do. Now I have had good friends that are black. I love Obama and his family. I treat kids in my class that are black the same way as any other kids.  As Jodi Picoult states in her book, many white people would describe themselves as not racist. But they’ve done studies, that white people are racist on subtle levels that they are not even aware of.

This book does an incredible job of letting us see the different perspectives and understand the characters, even the White Supremist.

The World Today Needs Some A Lot of Help!

Our nation today is in upheaval with the latest Presidential candidate.

As the author says “although individual changes cannot completely eradicate racism-there are system and institutions that need to be overhauled as well- it is through small acts that racism is both perpetuated and partially dismantled.”

This book is about creating awareness and understanding. Do you see any parts of racism within yourself?

Zen Y’all,
Kim

Upcoming classes in Portland, OR
Girls Rock Empowerment Groups
For Middle school girls, starts 1/19/17 at OmBase in Hillsdale
For 4th and 5th grade girls, starts 1/26/17 at Hayhurst Elementary
Managing Screens for Middle School Girls 2/3/17 10am-3:30pm at Robert Gray Middle School

 
Filed Under: election, stress, Uncategorized Tagged With: , ,

Trump won! What do we tell our kids?

November 16, 2016 By

The Aftermath of the Election

Trump may have won the Presidency but we cannot let what he stands for ‘win.’  Many of us have been badmouthing Trump mercilessly for the last year and now he is our President. How do we show our children that we are going to be okay?

Labeling doesn’t help

Trump is a catalyst of the fear and limitations in thinking that are being brought forward for healing. Many people in America are scared, angry and in pain. They have not felt heard. Trump is their voice. Many of us disagree with this ‘voice’ labeling Trump and his supporters as ‘racist,’ ‘bigots’ and ‘misogynist.’ These labels dehumanize us and place people in to a category without seeing or knowing what is exactly going on with them. It is easy for us to label someone and thus creating a greater divide amongst humanity. I would love to hear more interviews of Trump supporters and hear what is really going on with them instead of automatically condemning them and labeling them just as they are labeling us.

We are more alike than different

We all have the same core emotions: fear, joy/sadness, worry, grief, and anger. This helps me feel compassion for others since this is something all human beings have in common.  This election has really inspired me to shine the light on all people, find the goodness in all people, Trump included! (Although as he picks more cabinet members, it gets tougher!)   Trump is showing our nation how many people are unhappy and want to change. His supporters believe Trump will change things.

Let’s Make America Great Again ( but not the way Trump is talking about)
We can look at the statement “Let’s Make America Great Again” as going back to our old ways of racism, and other limiting beliefs, or finding a different America, one where we all feel honored and loved. Now more than ever it is time to take action and do what we can do be a nation that is inclusive.

Here’s a list of perspectives to take after the election that you can model for your children.

1) See the good in yourself, the light within. When we see the good in ourselves, we can see it more in others.

2) Have compassion with yourself, when you have critical thoughts – look deeper within to find out what they are really about. Are you scared, feeling threatened? Uncomfortable with change? Holding on to the need for things to be the same?

3) See the good in others. It’s there if we choose to focus on it. If someone thinks differently than you, get curious. Ask them questions to find out more about them.

4) Use purposeful discernment unabashedly, to screen out (not focus on) all the negativity in the news, media, and TV. Watching end of the world movies or violent crime shows are not breeding spaces of love and safety in the world. Be intentional about what you watch, what you expose yourself too. It does take a lot of effort.

5) Move beyond complaining, take action, stand up and speak up in a non-violent way.

6) Express vulnerability when appropriate- when we fully show up and express our deepest concerns and fears, we connect at a deeper level, thereby connecting to each other. Move beyond the initial judgments of people.

7) Love Trumps Fear. Choose love over fear.

Any other thoughts on how you are handling the Trump aftermath with your children?

Zen Y’all,
Kim Davies

Filed Under: election, parenting, preteens, stress, tween Tagged With: , , , , ,

7 Things Your Middle School Daughter Would Like You To Know

September 13, 2016 By

stressed mom and middle schooler

 

1. Knock and wait for me to say “come in” before entering my room.

When she was younger she had no problem with you walking right in. But now she wants her privacy and wants more control. One of the most embarrassing things for a girl is for her dad to walk in while she is getting dressed.

2. Do not call me a “Drama Queen” or say “Stop being so dramatic!”

This really bothers girls. They don’t always know why they get so upset and often feel badly about being so emotional. Their brain reacts intensely to things as they head in to adolescence. Try to empathize and feel into that it is a big deal to them.

3. When I am upset or hurt, don’t respond with a dumb joke.

For example, your daughter comes to you and says she hurt her elbow, and you say “Do you want me to cut it off?” She is looking for empathy and does not appreciate your humor at this time.

4. I expect you to follow the same rules.

This doesn’t apply across the board because we are adults and can have different rules. But be mindful of what you are modeling. For example, if you are out to dinner and expect her to be off of her phone, then it would be good for you to model social etiquette by being off your phone also. At home my kids have screen free day on Wednesdays, but I don’t participate as I have work I need to get done. Your daughter will probably let you know which ‘rules’ bother her that you are not following and you can assess whether it is appropriate for you to do the same.

5. My teachers and I put enough pressure on myself to get high grades, I don’t need more pressure from you.

Kids are filled with anxiety these days. Seventh graders are worried about what college they will get in to and what career they will have. Teachers tell them their grades matter. Be supportive but don’t put pressure them to get all A’s.

6. Try to be calmer when you think I’ve been on screens all day and check in with me.

I think us parents all over tend to yell at our kid, “How long have you been on there?! Get off and do something else!” Takes some deep breaths when you feel yourself getting upset and thinking your daughter has been on screens for 10 hours and they are addicted, and their brain is going to turn to mush. I’ve been there! Ask questions to see how they feel when they have been on screens so long? Many girls I talk to will say they lose all sense of time and then feel less motivated after being on screens.

7. Middle school is tough, it can be hard to make friends because everyone has their own groups.

It’s helpful to have friends outside of school, via sports, and other groups so that she has a chance to experience different friendships.

Zen Y’all,
Kim Davies

Girls Rock Empowerment classes offer a safe and nonjudgemental space for middle schoolers to relax and be themselves. Girls explore their friendships, self-esteem, negative self-talk, life with a cell phone and other topics pertinent to their life. Classes are kept small to foster connection. Classes and camps are in Portland, Oregon.

New class starts Thursday September 22nd, 4:15-5:30pm, 2016 at OmBase in Hillsdale. Click here for more information.

Filed Under: girls, middle schoolers, parenting, preteen girls, stress, tween Tagged With: , , , ,

9 Keys to Understanding Your Middle School Daughter

September 7, 2016 By

Your daughter is changing. It’s an adjustment for both you and your daughter. Here’s some characteristics that you may be seeing in your daughter derived from observing many middle schoolers and being a parent to my 13 year old daughter.

1) She will often talk in black and white terms such as using “always” and “never.”  For example, “Everyone has a phone but me.” “I’ll never get over my fear of spiders.” One day she says, “I love this class, it is so much fun!” and he next day, “I hate that class. We have to …”

Keep in mind: Try not to buy in to the extreme emotions. Know that it IS her valid experience of the moment but it could easily change the next minute, hour or day. She does think her feelings will be there forever!  So wait a few days to see if things change before deciding whether to take any action on it.  She can feel her feelings, let them go through her, and she will move on.

2) Her decision making skills seem to be getting worse. She may make more impulsive and/ illogical decisions or have difficulty in general making decisions.

Keep in mind: Her brain is undergoing rapid developmental changes. Her pre-frontal cortex where sound decision making is made is ‘under construction’ and won’t be fully developed for awhile. Be patient with the belief that she will be able to handle making good decisions in the future even if your lacking confidence now in her abilities. Her skills will improve with practice.

3) Your daughter’s behavior’s may be reminiscent of her preschool years. 

Keep in mind: My kids preschool teacher talked often about how your kid was in preschool will be similar to how they are as a teenager. So if their emotions were all over the place as a preschooler, you can expect the same for the adolescent years. Just like a toddler having a temper tantrum, if you provide them the space to express their emotions, they can and will get through them.

4) Figure out if your daughter is an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert. Susan Cain’s newest book Quiet Power has a quiz your daughter can take to determine where she falls on the spectrum. An introvert refuels her batteries by spending time alone, and an extrovert refuels her batteries by spending time with others.

Keep in mind: Middle school, with its crowded hallways and noise can be overwhelming for some introverts. Coming home and having quiet downtime can be a welcome respite from the chaos. Also having at least one class where the teacher is fairly strict on the noise level can be super helpful for the introvert.

5) When she is having a problem, ask her what she would like from you: Does she want you to just listen, give advice, brainstorm solutions?

Keep in mind: If she is having a problem with a girl, don’t leap to calling her friend’s parent.  This is horrifying to the middle school girl and can make things worse.

6) A lot of girls really feel the pressure to be perfect. Perfect means looking beautiful, having a slim body, getting all A’s, nice to everyone, having lots of friends, maybe having a boyfriend, never expressing any jealousy or sadness or anger. These expectations are impossible to meet.

Keep in mind: I remember before I was in a love relationship, I thought you had to be perfect for someone to fall in love with you. It’s actually in our imperfection that we can connect with others, expressing our vulnerabilities, and therefore creating acceptance and love. Ask your daughter if she feels the need to be perfect and what that means to her.

7)   Friendships are forever changing in middle school. Your daughter might have had a best friend in elementary school and now they are no longer friends. Middle schoolers are changing quickly, trying to figure out who they are. Thus relationships change too.

Keep in mind: Girls can really feel hurt when dropped by a friend. She’ll need time and space to grieve the loss of that friendship. Foster relationships with friends outside of the school setting.

8) You see your once confident daughter flounder, afraid to stand up for herself, speak up in class, and seems to have a lot of anxiety.

Keep in mind: Middle school girls become very self-conscious; so much is changing in their world. There is a lot of judgment of self and others in middle school. If she was confident in elementary school, she will come back to the essence of who she was  after the middle school years.

9) When she is around her friend or on the phone, she talks very loudly! And her personality may change into a louder personality.

Keep in mind:  I have no idea why this happens, did her hearing suddenly get worse? I remember talking loudly as a teen. I find it very irritating as a parent. But I try to tolerate it and know she will probably have a more consistent personality by high school. Girls often feel the need to ‘be happy’ around their friends. They don’t want to be a downer or show sadness. They want to be liked and be fun. This facade leads to girls dismissing their true personality sometimes.

What do you notice changing with your daughter? Please comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Zen Y’All,
Kim Davies

Girls Rock Empowerment group for middle schoolers
Starts Sept. 22nd, Thursdays 4:15-5:30pm.
Click here to register

Filed Under: girls, introverts, middle schoolers, preteen girls, stress Tagged With: , , , , ,