stories and lessons
Click on a link below to read and learn from the stories about other teenage daughters.
- Aline — More than a Survivor: A Journey from Rwanda to Arizona
- Rose — It’s Your Education, Stupid
- Seijah — The Elusive Beauty Standard
- Katherine — Comfort-Free Zone and Standing Tall in Her Passion
- Julia W. — Noticed for her Beauty
- Pooja — Feeling the Fear... Finding Her PASSION
- Elizabeth — Elizabeth Branches Out
- Allison — Feeling the Fear and Doing It Anyway
- Julia— The Real Charm of Julia’s Life
- Amanda— Amanda Learns To Use Her “Inside Voice”
know where you stand stories
Elizabeth is 15 and living in the “burbs” on the East Coast. Most of her days are spent between school, friends and extracurricular activities. However, when you meet Elizabeth you are amazed at her “sense of self”, the way she talks about following her “gut feelings”.
Wow! So what does Elizabeth need to be brave about?
What’s Elizabeth’s Brave?
All I had to do was to ask Elizabeth to know. Without hesitation she told me, “Finding new friends in middle school when my group of friends was mean to me.”
In 7th grade Elizabeth was hanging out with her group of friends when they started behaving rather unfriendly.
“It started out harmless,” Elizabeth said. Doesn’t it always?
When asked what they were doing Elizabeth stated that it was nothing specific. It wasn’t as simple as them not liking her sweater that day.
“They were just doing a really good job of excluding me,” she said. You know the kind. Her friends would say something that she didn’t hear and when she would ask them what they said their response was, “Nothing,” and then they would laugh.
During the school day when she would see them they would ask her if she wanted to hang out after school. “Sure,” Elizabeth would say. When after school came, the friends would all leave without her.
How was she feeling during this time? Sad but over time moved to angry and very hurt. During this point Elizabeth spent a lot of time between sadness and confusion. Although she never feared they would do anything to her except the “emotional stuff”, she didn’t want to go to school and deal with them and all the behind her back antics.
Elizabeth also remembers continuing to be “wrapped up” in remaining friends with them and spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to stay part of the group.
So what changed in Elizabeth and helped her realize she needed to branch out and make new friends?
How Did Elizabeth Get So Brave?
Exhaustion, distance and courage.
Elizabeth became so tired of dealing with them and working so hard to stay friends that she decided to stop trying so hard. She basically backed off from them. She remembers thinking, “I am better than this.” Once Elizabeth changed how she thought about the situation it made it harder for them to be mean to her. How’s that for courage?
What also made it easier? Elizabeth was in different classes with new people. The distance made it a whole lot simpler to make new friends.
How did she get the courage? Elizabeth told me at first she was embarrassed that this was happening to her. She kept it to herself. Slowly she started talking to her older sister and her mom.
All of the above helped Elizabeth realize she wasn’t willing to change or be someone else to stay friends with anyone.
The best part was once she started moving away from this group of friends those same friends started to slowly find their way back over to her.
What Can Parent’s Learn from Elizabeth’s Story?
This is the best part of meeting with Elizabeth, her advice to parents watching their daughter go through something similar.
“Support your daughters by listening to them,” Elizabeth stated. “Don’t make it about the mean girls.”
Another nugget of advice — don’t force your daughter to make new friends. “It’s harder than that,” says Elizabeth. Help them by putting them in situations where they meet new people. Even though it sounds cliché, sign them up for activities outside of school to give them distance from the mean girls.
Now that’s some advice I think we can all use.
What advice are you giving your daughter? Are you listening?
Favorite Quote from Elizabeth
“It makes it easier to do the right thing when I know I have someone supporting me that I can count on.”