Girls Journeying Together is back!

After pausing in February, Hong Kong Girls Journeying Together group were able to gather again on Saturday 23rd May. Becoming 12 is a portrait series by Phillipa Bloom which mirrors the monthly rhythm of the group.

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Black lives matter

As Rites for Girls’ mission is to work towards a better world we join in the global uprising to address the oppression of people of colour everywhere.

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Back to school on June 1st?

Whenever your child returns to school, she will need your reassurance that it’s safe. Expect a period of adjustment and take time to reconnect with the pattern and pace of school life.

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Want your child to feel good?

Parents are even better than pets!

At the end of my talk I’m often asked what one piece of advice I would offer parents.  Impossible to answer of course, although I did surprise myself one evening by saying “Get a pet!”  (Aside: we talk a lot in Girls Journeying Together groups about how to manage the bigger feelings that come in the preteen and teen years and every time someone will say that their cat or dog helps a lot.)

Even better than pets are parents.  Nothing beats what a parent-on-a-good-day can offer their child.  And because we can’t always be at our best, I’ve a simple suggestion to make up for the times when we’re impatient or distracted: make space for one-on-one time.  It can be short and simple, like stopping off at a café for a hot chocolate, but it’s planned, and in the diary at least once a month, so it can be relied upon and looked forward to.  Then treat it like a date.  Make an effort, put phones away, be fun, don’t cancel.

A child feels good about herself when an adult chooses to spend their spare time with them.

Don’t underestimate how much you can make life good for your child.  No matter what else is happening in your child’s life, having time with you set aside makes whatever they are dealing with easier. Make plans today!

Diary page example

Buy a Mother-Daughter Date Diary to help you make it happen £18

How can I communicate better with my preteen?

“It used to be easy but now I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.”
“I never know what response I’m going to get. I want to help but sometimes it feels like everything I say makes it worse.”

Communicating with a preteen or teen girl takes skill, resourcefulness and a thick skin. What used to work, doesn’t anymore and mothers worry as the easy closeness they used to enjoy with their daughters seems to elude them.

At Rites for Girls we guide girls and support mothers so that the years of adolescence can be happy and safe. We’d like to remind you of some pointers to help you stay connected, even through the tough teen years.

We look forward to the holidays but they can often be a time of tension.

Here are three tips for being able to communicate well with your child and enjoy each other’s company:

Get into the right mood
Teenagers can be infuriating and it’s not easy to speak calmly and kindly when we’re mad. So calm down first, remember how easily a teen feels misunderstood, and take a moment to choose the words that will actually work.
Much better to say, “Can you help me to understand your reasons for doing that?” rather than “What on earth were you thinking, why did you do that?”

Back it up with your body language and tone of voice
There’s no point in saying all the right things if you’re standing there with arms crossed and face frowning. Or with that disapproving tone of voice that teens seem so atuned to. So breath into your belly, feel your feet on the floor, and be nice! You’ll find it easier when you remember what it feels like to be a teenager: that confusing mess of intense feelings, excited one minute and down the next, full of the possibility of life and then feeling like you’ll never amount to anything, all the while feeling horribly self-conscious. Teens are vulnerable and need us to be firm and gentle in our dealings with them.

Look after yourself first
For any of this to work, mothers need to take care of themselves first. Not because it’s a nice idea, and not because it shows girls that a woman’s life can be appealing (although both those are good reasons), but because when you try to give when you’re empty, it’s empty-giving and not truly nourishing.

Have fun together
Amidst all the challenges of guiding your children safely through their preteen and teen years, sharing their worries and helping them to make good decisions, make sure that you regularly have fun together. It’s an essential ingredient for you both.

Here’s something we created to make this easier: Mother-Daughter Date Diary

Friends forever!

Dear Kim,
Thank you for bringing us all together,
Hopefully we’ll be friends forever.
We will live our lives feeling very lucky,
Even though our pants might get red and yucky.
We giggled and laughed at the funnier facts,
Then we sat still and dropped our eyes to our laps.
Thank you, dear Kim, for letting us come,
You have made this year a lot of fun.
From Izzy W

Every spring I begin my new Girls Journeying Together groups, for preteen girls to meet monthly for a year to learn about the changes that lie ahead, feel what it’s like when you can be yourself in a group of peers and make friends for life.  My groups are full to capacity but Rites for Girls is training facilitators to offer Girls Journeying Together around the world, so new groups will be starting all over the country later this year.

Just before my new groups begin, the previous year’s groups come to the end of their first year which we mark with a special celebration.  It’s more than a party, something to remember for the rest of their lives.  This year the girls want to share with you videos that they made.  They want more girls to have the opportunity they’ve had.