by Heather Freeman, click here to get all our posts.
I want to help make her next (or first!) playdate.
In your heart of hearts, is she introducing herself to potential new friends with joy? Is she enjoying the social activities she's a part of?
This week I tackle these questions and give you a four-step friendship making strategy so you can determine what you should really do with your girl—and feel good about the entire process.
I am INCREDIBLY passionate about this topic. Nurturing confidence in my own gutsy and heart-centered girls has been the key to my mothering happiness and I want to make it the key to your happiness too.
At the time of this post my girls are heading into school break. It’s a really special time of the year because my girls and I get to enjoy the freedom of being schedule-free. I love it when we have chunks of time to make whatever we want of our days…..stay up late…sleep in, fancy breakfasts rather than the quick weekday bowl of hot oatmeal or cereal…time to create, play outside and get lost in the woods.
At the moment I’m feeling a bit in a frenzy because the change in routine does require thought about how I’ll juggle my time, but it’s not like “Ugh” how am I going to be able to do my work and have quality time with the girls.
Instead I’m really excited I get to still be here for you sharing what I love AND I get to have quality free time with my girls. The topic is a bit controversial because, depending on who you ask, you get a big range of answers. That question: How do I help her make friends?
After a lot of thought, today I wanted to share with you my four-step friendship strategy, or what I like to call gutsy-girl-confidence, Four Steps to Helping Her Find Friends.
Let’s go ahead and jump into the meat of this post. Again, we’re going to talk about the gutsy-girl confidence, Four Steps to Knowing How to Help Her Find Friends. I want to first start with the end in mind. When you make a final decision on the gutsiness of your girl here’s what’s most important:
- It is most important that you feel good about your girl’s confidence. It has to be something you feel truly excited about and in your heart and in your gut you know she’s as confident as she can be. You have to ultimately believe in the ability of her to be confident. You also must not be afraid to talk about her confidence.
- We’ll talk about that because I know the making friends part is kind of scary for a lot of girls and we’ll talk about that for sure. But this is where confidence in her abilities must show up and they must show up big time. You’ve got to tell her you believe in her.
- When it comes down to starting with the end in mind you must be willing to believe in her ten times as much as she believes in herself. This is how you create wildly aware girls who come to you when things get tough. When you fully believe in her this happens every single time.
- The confidence level you choose must demand the kind of friends you want her to attract. I am sure you’ve heard it over and over again, but when she sends out a negative vibe friends won’t come flocking to her. But when she sends out a positive vibe of openness and receptivity, the door to friendship opens wide.
Let’s look at the four steps in the gutsy-girl confidence formula to help you decide on the friendship circle that is best for your girl and her life.
Gutsy-Girl Confidence Formula Step 1 - You want to paint a picture of who she is and what confident health-promoting, friendship-making behaviors you want her to do consistently.
You want to create a vision for your girl. This is a step I think a lot of parents skip. They come to me and ask me how they can help their daughter with making friends.
I ask them to share with me what they envision and they’re not exactly sure what they ultimately want for their girl.
This is where I want you to start. It takes a little bit of soul searching, but it’s definitely worth your time. I’m going to run you through a couple of questions to ask yourself to help you before she even starts making friends.
What is it that you want for her?
This is very important to know.
What would your daughter look like at her highest level of confidence?
This is so important because this is the end result you are shooting for and it’s what you come back to when she needs support.
Gutsy-Girl Confidence Formula Step 2 – Determine her level of readiness for putting herself out there and making friends.
The question here is, how ready is she for making friends?
According to Parenting Science, (Dewar, Gwen, Ph.D. (2009 - 2013), making friends depends on a key set of skills:
- conversational skills
- interpersonal skills
- emotional self-control
While girls can develop these skills with practice – the time it takes can differ from girl to girl.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to her level of readiness. It’s just important that you become aware of her level of readiness so you can accurately set an expectation for situations she’ll be in before you’re actually in those situations.
For instance, when my daughter was 4 years old we took part in a music group. She would never leave my lap, would rarely open her mouth to sing and would be the first one to leave when our time together was over. Knowing beforehand that her level of readiness for socializing was low allowed me to have patience with her and not get frustrated with her when she didn’t say ‘hi’ to anyone while we were there or clung to me rather than the cha cha’s.
Gutsy-Girl Confidence Formula Step 3 – Have fun with your girl!
If you’ve been thinking about her making friends or she’s making friends right now then you probably have a good idea of what you want for her and her social circle of friends. If you’re just starting out right now you’re ideal for her is probably a little out of reach.
We all want the best for our girls as they begin to gain independence and venture into the world because know she is so likeable. We think she’s going to make friends like crazy and be a social butterfly. I think that’s really normal and I love that excitement and I want your girl to have that.
But I also want you to be really realistic. The social skills for making friends is an important piece of making friends. Let loose and have fun with your girl exploring different activities and social situations. Give her plenty of opportunity for meeting and finding potential new friends and over time she will develop the skills for making and keeping solid, meaningful friendships.
Gutsy-Girl Confidence Formula Step 4 – Identify challenges that you think may interfere when she begins to get out there and meet potential friends.
In other words, what I’m talking about here is – what challenges do you anticipate having to deal with on the way to her creating a circle of friends and how confident are you that she can overcome each one?
Is she, worried to reach out to someone new? Does she think she’ll look stupid, or awkward? Does she worry that others will think she’s weird? Does she not have a clue as to what to say to someone new?
If you can identify the challenges that may get in the way of her progress then you can deal with them head on. Remember, when she knows you understand her, you believe in her, and you’re willing to help her gain more confidence and find new friends then she will believe in what’s possible for herself.
All of four of these different steps I shared with you are important to consider.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What’s one challenge that, if you’re super honest about her, is keeping her from enjoying greater confidence and joy?
Is it shying away from certain social situations? Clinging on to you for dear life when she could be saying ‘hello’ to a new friend? No matter what it is, in the comments below tell me exactly what — as of this moment — you no longer see her doing using the phrase, “She doesn’t”.
For bonus points, tell us exactly why this way of being must hit the road (i.e. what negative consequences it’s creating) and what specifically she’ll be able to achieve, experience or create once she’s unleashed a new, more positive attitude.
Share as much detail as possible in your reply. Incredible peeps from around the globe come here each week for insight and inspiration, and what you post may help someone else have a brilliant ‘aha’ moment.
Thanks so much for being with me here today. I truly appreciate you tuning in and I cannot wait to connect with you again next week. It will also be another post about nurturing her friendship making confidence. It’s a double header of goodness!
I’ll see you then.
In the meantime, if you have friends, family, or clients, who want to up their game plan for empowering a young girl in their life, please share this post.
Have a wonderful week!
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