Wow, what a group we had last week in Byron, eight gorgeous girls all bubbling with excitement about getting to discuss things “we never talk about’ as one of them said…. We covered every topic from friendships, to boys, to social media, to learning to listen to our bodies and staying safe.
We initially focussed on identifying early warning signs and body awareness and discussed the amazing ways our body speaks to us, even though it can sometimes be uncomfortable. This was practically experienced from me popping a balloon and getting the girls to experience the discomfort and anticipation in their bodies, and we drew it in a full body outline. We also identified common early warning signs.
We then play-acted common scenarios (told to me by other girls) including dealing with friends who are gossiping about another friend, a “creepy’ guy sitting next to you on a bus and a teacher making you feel uncomfortable. The girls were great in understanding the concept of “active bystander” and looking out for your friends, and play acing these scenarios generated lots of discussion and laughter at times!
Our next focus was on boundaries and personal space, of which most of the girls struggled to be able to define their own space when friends or myself walked towards them. This can be explained as they felt comfortable within their group and the mood was light, but also gave rise to discussion around being able to say no and defining personal space for yourself even when in relation to your good friends. We talked of pressures for women and girls to be “nice”, say yes and sometimes forget yourself and asked them to think about this, again focussing on body awareness and truth.
We did street walking then, experiencing different ways we hold our bodies and how it affects how we feel, but also how we look. We identified different situations in which one would carry their body differently. Someone mentioned a funeral which gave rise to lots of talking about loss and grief, an interesting sideline which made me think how confusing it is for all of us, particularly the young, to understand, or try to , concepts such as death and finality.
Our final focus was with the delightful Sophia and Mia, (13 years) who have completed 2 years of my groups, and contributed in a profound way to answering all the girls concerns, queries and thoughts about going to high school. Both girls talked of their struggles and highlights from an interesting first year of high school as well as talking about the positives. The girls lead a strength based advice to others exercise by getting them to choose cards they believed would help them in the coming year. I love having visits from the older girls….. I believe it is one of the most important aspects of peer support and keeping my groups current and relevant. The girls receive payment for their time….a good inspiration!!
I am really looking forward to my groups expanding to Sydney this year and developing an instagram account to help our community of young women keep connected and positive messages flowing to each other…
Helping our kids together,