So how do we talk to our girls?
As you know, our girls are 9, 10 and 11 years old and for most, this is the first time they’ve been old enough to understand that a major election has taken place. For them, it’s probably not abnormal that a woman would consider to run for President of the United States and have a chance to win!
At SWSG, we work to ensure that our girls believe that they have boundless opportunities and in some ways, this election helped to prove that. However, many girls may currently be hearing or experiencing a variety of things from multiple sources, and some of those things may be extremely hard for them to understand. Regardless of personal political views, our role is to support the girls through potentially difficult conversations, and always uphold the SWSG values and mission.
Here are a few tips that we’ve found helpful when talking with our girls:
LISTEN to a girl if she has concerns or fears. Our girls may have heard of hate crimes or speech on the rise, plans for deportations, and other headlines. It’s important for you to listen, and make sure she knows it’s okay to feel however she’s feeling. Remind her that she has a lot of support and loving people around her.
ASK the girl why she’s feeling a certain way. She may be picking up on worries and concerns of those around her, or she may have more immediate concerns – direct threats or actions against friends or family members, for example.
LEAD a discussion if needed. Our girls may not be able to stay focused if they’re preoccupied with fears or worries. It’s okay to spend some time talking about these issues if the girls need it.
REMIND the girls to always act with compassion and kindness. If a girl says or does something mean-spirited towards a person or a group of people, ask her how she would feel if someone said that about her. Don’t allow poor remarks to go unnoticed.
ENCOURAGE girls to use their feelings as inspiration. How can they help support their friends? How can they be inclusive of everyone in their community?
ADVOCATE for one candidate or the other. SWSG is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. SWSG does not and cannot endorse or support any political candidate. If the girls ask for your personal views, sure share, “I voted for the person I believed in the most” or something similar. Have them to share the positive attributes of a good leader and turn it into a teachable moment.
MAKE PROMISES you can’t keep. Don’t tell the girls, “I’ll always be here to help you” or “Nothing bad will happen to you” – you can’t keep that promise, and not following through can break their trust.
DISMISS the girl’s concern or say, “That’s so silly!” Our girls have legitimate concerns, and not taking them seriously can erode their trust in you. They are too young to fully rationalize and understand exactly what’s going on in politics across the country and are looking to you to provide reassurance.
|These tips were thoughtfully developed by the SWSG team in Pittsburgh.|
TIPS: How Do We Talk To Our Girls
Article written by: Boston Team