The roller-coaster girl friendship

Educator, Rachel Simmons, Author of Odd Girl Out, discusses girls' friendships.
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The roller-coaster girl friendship

There’s little more frustrating for a parent than having a daughter who is friends with a clearly toxic girl who one week is really nice to your daughter and then the next week sends your daughter home crying hysterically and bereft. What do you do when your daughter doesn’t seem to understand that there is no good place this friendship is heading? So I think one way to look at this is to realize that your daughter is having a learning experience. She is coming into realizing that some friendships are not worth keeping, but she’s only going to do it on her own clock. She’s not going to do it when you want her to. So I want you to imagine for a moment that you have a close friend who’s dating somebody that you can’t stand and you have talked with this friend, you have said, why are you dating this person, you know that this person is wrong for you, you’ve poured your heart out into supporting your friend. Does your friend then look at you and say, okay, I’m going to go break up with that person right now. Thank you so much? Of course your friend doesn’t. Your friend is going to say thank you so much for your advice and is probably going to go back to that person and, on her own time, is gonna finally realize you know what, this person’s a jerk I’m done. The same thing is true for your daughter. She’s going to realize it on her own schedule. What your job as a parent is to do is find an outlet for your own stress-whether that’s the tread mill or punching a pillow or having a glass of wine with a friend or your spouse-and be there for your daughter. Support her, empathize, weigh in about how you don’t like this friend so much and she’s not good for your daughter, but recognize that at the end of the day your daughter will come out on the other side having learned a very important lesson about friendship.

Educator, Rachel Simmons, Author of Odd Girl Out, discusses girls' friendships.


Expert Bio

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Rachel Simmons

Author & Educator

Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator, Rachel works internationally to empower young women to be more authentic, assertive and self-aware.

Rachel is a Vassar graduate and Rhodes Scholar from New York. The co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute, she is an experienced curriculum writer and educator who works with schools and organizations around the world. She currently develops leadership programs for undergraduate women at the Center for Work and Life at Smith College. She has previously worked as a classroom teacher in Massachusetts and South Africa.

Rachel was the host of the recent PBS television special, “A Girl’s Life,” and is a contributing writer and advice columnist for Teen Vogue.

Rachel has appeared on Oprah and the Today show, and appears regularly in the national me- dia. Odd Girl Out was adapted into a highly acclaimed Lifetime television movie. Rachel lives in western Massachusetts with her daughter and West Highland Terrier, Rosie, who is currently taking private workshops with Rachel to learn how to stop bullying other dogs.

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