For many girls, fitting in among peers is especially difficult. This may be the case for varying reasons, but for many girls who are having trouble fitting in with their peers, their parents can play a big part in helping them to be accepted and included by other girls at school. There are several steps that can be taken to help a girl feel as though she is more capable of fitting in among her peers.
HELP HER FIND HER STYLE
There is no arguing that girls typically really enjoy shopping for clothes and dressing in ways that make them feel good about themselves. This starts much younger than many people might think. Even little girls in Kindergarten care what they wear, and will appreciate an extra pretty blouse or fun shoes. Despite this, it seems as though many parents either don’t recognize this fact, or just don’t place much importance on it. At most schools, there are many girls who are teased and excluded by other girls, simply because they don’t dress similarly. As callous and shallow as this behavior is, it is nevertheless typical among girls. Frankly, many adult women act this way, as silly as that is. If a girl is having trouble fitting in with peers, consider what she wears to school. There’s no doubt this sounds shallow, but doing what can be done to see to it that a girl can dress similarly to her peers, if she wants to, can go a long way in helping her to be accepted among them. This means that parents will need to pay attention themselves to what is popular, and be open to offering to take their daughter shopping for clothes. This isn’t to say that parents should feel like they need to dismiss what they feel is important concerning the way their daughter dresses. For instance, due to personal or religious beliefs, parents may not feel it appropriate for girls to wear certain things. That’s fine, but whatever style they do feel comfortable with, they need to help their daughter modify it enough so that she doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Not because it’s right for others to treat her badly because of the way she dresses, but because they will, right or wrong. And the goal here is to help her develop a strong self esteem. For those on a tight budget, consider thrift stores, as they usually have an abundance of children’s clothing. Sure, it’s used clothing, but often you can find name brand articles in popular styles that still have a lot of life left in them. Think of it as your way of recycling!
TAKE HER HAIR SERIOUSLY
Face it, great hair can do wonders for anybody! It’s no different for young girls. It is unbelievable how many little girls get sent off to school each day without having had their hair even brushed! You can bet that these girls get teased, ostracized, and excluded because of it. Again, it seems cruel and shallow of children to treat other children this way, but we all know how cruel children can be, it’s nothing new. A great haircut and style that really enhances a girl’s appearance can do wonders to boost her self esteem, and again, make her more appealing to her peers. It’s true, it shouldn’t matter what a person looks like or what they wear in order to be respected and treated well. But the reality is, that children and teens who don’t have decent clothes, or who come to school with hair that is dirty, greasy, or unkempt, get teased. That’s all there is to it. It’s mean, and wrong. But it’s reality. If the goal is to really help a girl fit in and be accepted, these things must be addressed. You don’t have to tell her that’s what you’re doing, you don’t want to make her any more self conscious than she already is. Just make it a fun time, and let her reap the benefits of your efforts. Again, this isn’t out of reach even for those on pretty tight budgets. There are many reasonably priced “family” hair salons in just about every city of the country, with prices starting at about $7 for just a cut.
RESPECT HER FEELINGS
Many girls may not know how to communicate it, but one of the things they desire most when in a traditional school setting, is to be accepted among their peers. You may need to have a few conversations specifically addressing how your daughter feels about herself, and how she perceives others to feel about her. If she says the girls make fun of her or leave her out because she doesn’t dress the same, or because she can’t make her hair look like theirs, don’t say something like, “Well, that’s just silly. Just ignore them”. Because the truth of it is, she has to spend approximately 35 hours per week with these girls, there’s no way to “just ignore it”. Instead, ask her if there are certain clothes or hairstyles that she likes, and then help her to achieve the look she is going for. Yes, it seems superficial, but that’s not really the point. The point is, that it’s important for everyone to feel good about themselves. Would you be happy if you had to go to work every day in shabby clothes and with your hair in disarray, your peers teasing you relentlessly? Probably not. It’s even harder on a young girl, who is still developing her self image.
For those who really just cannot come up with the money for extra clothes, consider calling churches and even schools to see if they have a clothing program for children and teens. For instance, in our community, children needing them, are given vouchers for local thrift stores, and permitted to go and pick out whatever clothing items they need in the weeks before school starts each Fall. This is a wonderful program, so check to see if there is a similar one in your area. In another community we lived in, the schools themselves actually accepted and collected clothing to keep on the premises, so that children who needed something could try to find it in the “school closet”. This was done even in the middle and high schools, which was also another great program. So be sure to ask around in your own community for similar programs. Also, hair cuts can often be obtained at local cosmetology schools for a fraction of the price charged at salons.