Five Ways to Help Your Daughter with Friendship Drama

February 13, 2021

When the topic of girl friendships comes up, invariably eyes well with tears as moms talks about how rough it is to have middle school friendships. Our hearts ache as we remember our own struggles at that age even as we try to make it a better experience for our daughters. As moms of tween girls, here's a few tips we've taught our daughters (and continue to help them apply) as they navigate middle school drama:

1. Be quick to apologize. We've all inadvertently hurt a loved one's feelings and learning to apologize quickly and sincerely can keep our mistake from becoming a stumbling block in our friendship. Practicing being quick with a sincere apology with siblings and within our family units helps it become a relationship habit. When we spot tension in our tween's friendship, gently inquiring what part of the tension she might need to apologize for and help provide her with the words when necessary, can save a friendship at this age.

2. Don't bring peers into the conflict. A simple misunderstanding or inadvertent offense can become far more difficult to resolve when peers get involved and take sides. Cautioning our tweens about being roped into another's conflict is helpful, but modeling how we handle our friends' conflict and (when appropriate) talking about why we are supportive but do not fan the flames of conflict is where the real learning is.

3. Put yourself in her shoes. When our tween tells us about a friend who is suddenly distant, upset, or hasn't been as good a friend lately, teaching her to pause to consider what else might be happening in her friend's life has been a game changer. Parents deployed or divorcing or having a beloved family member with a serious illness are situations our tween's friends have faced and having an adult help provide perspective on what their friend might be walking through has helped our tweens be supportive and understanding instead of upset or offended.

4. Learn to set healthy boundaries. Teaching our daughters to set healthy boundaries around their bodies and emotions is a skill that will serve her well her entire life. Even in friendships, understanding that it's okay to say no when feeling uncomfortable can help prevent situations that will end in drama and conflict.

5. Give her tools. Helping our daughters develop healthy friendship habits will set them up for successful female friendships their entire life. Our newest book, the 100 Daily Acts of Friendship for Girls is written specifically for girls aged 8-12 as they navigate friendships in upper elementary and middle school. With a scripture, short story,
reflection questions and 50 fun activities to do with you or friends, it's a wonderful way to encourage your daughter, niece, granddaughter, God daughter and her friends to build healthy friendships from an early age.

And our adult friendship devotional, The One Year Daily Acts of Friendship is a perfect compliment to our book for tweens.

We've also written two kindness devotionals, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional and 100 Days of Kindness. They tell the story of how our families embarked on a one-year journey of kindness, and include our successes, failures, and the encouragement you need as a family to incorporate kindness into your own life.

We would love to walk alongside you in encouragement, inspiration, and community. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram as The Ruth Experience or sign up for our monthly newsletter (no spam, ever), here.

Julie, Kendra, and Kristin

Photo credit: Branding with Savannah @savvyphotagebranding   

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