What is the role of mothers in Girls Journeying Together?

While Girls Journeying Together is primarily for the girls, who meet together with their Facilitator once a month for a year, their mothers or carers have an incredibly important role to play.

Girls Journeying Together groups provide girls with a safe space to be themselves, gaining a greater sense of self-acceptance, while exploring different ways they can take charge of their own physical and mental well-being.  The same can be true for the mothers. 

The Mothers’ Group

What is it?  Well, the mothers are encouraged to meet in their own group each month at the same time as their girls meet.  This usually takes place in a nearby café, someone’s home, a park or maybe walking somewhere together locally. 

For each mother this gives her space to talk about how she feels, to share what she thinks, to receive and give support to others.  The Mothers’ Group journeys alongside their daughters’ group, modelling how belonging to a circle of support can work and giving the girls the feeling of being held.  The two groups effectively become a circle within a circle.  Even though, mothers meet separately to the girls, the girls love to know that their mothers are meeting at the same time. 

The mothers’ engagement with the journey not only benefits her but has the potential to make all the difference to the girls.  Here’s an example, when mothers arrange social gatherings during the year it gives the girls a better chance of making long-term friendships that will nourish them over years to come.  Many mothers, as well as their daughters, make friends for life.

Weaving Community Together

Through this work, the Mothers’ Group, the Girls’ Group and the Facilitator are weaving a web of community, connection and support for the benefit of the girls.  The connectedness, the cooperation and the collaborative time spent intentionally together is a very powerful way to create and expand sources of support for the girls. 

Fathers also need a mention here because, while they don’t attend a group each month, their role is important to the viability and vitality of the group. If fathers are around, they often help enormously with juggling things at home, looking after other siblings, logistics and taking on duties to allow the girls and their mothers this space each month.

What will mothers receive from the Facilitator during the year?

  1. A free Taster Session where mother and daughter can have a taste of Girls Journeying Together.
  2. A chance to meet the Facilitator in an online session to ask questions and to form the Mothers’ Group.  This usually takes place before the first session, for mothers of girls who have decided to join the group.  
  3. A monthly email with useful information and a few questions to think about in the Mothers’ Group.  The questions dovetail into the topics that the girls are covering that month.  For example, during the session when the girls explore friendships, the mothers are asked, “What’s important to you about your friends?  What makes friendships challenging?”  This way mothers and daughters think about topics at the same time and then later (in the following days, weeks, months) are able to talk about them, in whatever way feels right, sharing their perspectives.  Some girls are really keen to talk about their Girls Journeying Together group sessions while other girls prefer to keep the sessions to themselves.  This is not a reflection of her closeness with her mother but an indication of a girl’s wish to mull it over first.
  4. Parenting a preteen can demand different things to what was needed by a younger child, and mothers gain support and learn from each other in this new phase.
  5. Mothers are invited to join the girls’ session halfway through the year and again at the end for a celebration session.  Each mother brings her own wisdom, which benefits all the girls.    
  6. Mothers are welcome to contact the Facilitator by phone or email during the year to update with anything important that is going on in her daughter’s life, or make specific requests for topics to include in the girls’ group as sessions are tailored to the needs of the girls.  
  7. The Facilitator can often help with giving local recommendations for additional support e.g. an adolescent counsellor, a dietician, or homeopath. 

Mother Power

Remember mothers can be their daughter’s greatest source of influence now and throughout the years as she becomes more independent.  For each mother giving herself this time once a month to share her experience and wisdom she benefits herself, her daughter and all of the other girls in the group.

What if a mother can’t attend the Mothers’ Group?

Life happens!  There may be a month when a mother is unable to join the other mothers, at which time we suggest another close female relative or friend comes in her place.  The perspectives of different women forms a rich tapestry for the women and for the girls.

It means so much to the girls to have the special time on the journey there and back and it nurtures the bond.

Mothers and Daughters

A girl’s mother can be like the North Star shining her light on her daughter showing her the way forward.  Her mother is an embodiment of womanhood, a role model, and someone who champions her daughter as she grows up.  And not just for her own daughter, but for all the girls in the group. 

Mothers who bring their daughters to Girls Journeying Together have a wonderful year of exploration.  The journey supports their mother-daughter relationship at this transitional time giving the daughter the experience of being seen, appreciated, acknowledged and celebrated.

The benefits to girls who decide to join a Girls Journeying Together group are rich and plentiful.  Girls who join will explore the year in a safe space as they journey towards young womanhood gaining a greater sense of themselves with self-acceptance while learning different ways they can take charge of their own physical and emotional well-being.   Each girl is welcomed and celebrated exactly as she is, without needing to change herself to fit in. 

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