hosting a gathering of 20 & 30- something girlfriends for
a weekend retreat. Can you offer any ideas on activities for my
"workshop on womanhood?"
Have participants bring in articles about inspiring women who
were featured in the newspaper. These could be simple articles
that feature women in key situations where the news is happening.
Allow the women to each stand up in this retreat and share why
they were moved by the stories. Have each participant define what
womanhood is to them. Then have each participant write down 3
goals that they want to accomplish. It would be great to have
them talk about their goals, if everyone doesn't want to
share their goals, allow for a brainstorming session where the
women are discussing 3 steps of actions that each of them is going
to take to reach their goals. Reinforce the thought that womanhood
is often an action as much as it is a person or a state of mind.
I was just wondering, do you have any advice on how to encourage
our daughters to steer clear of the "friends" that like
to gossip about others... and insist on playing the "you're
not my friend" today game, but the next day come back and
ask "wanna hang out at lunch today?"It's getting very
old and confusing to both my daughter and me. My advice seems
to be taken as "mom, that's too corny, I can't do/say that!"
Any suggestions? Thanks!
People who say that they're your friend one day, but not
the next aren't true friends. Encourage your daughter to
interact with other kids that similar games may be played on --
perhaps in that group she will find truer friends. As far as gossiping
goes, if she's in a group that's gossiping, she could
try to change the subject, step away or begin a different conversation
with someone else. Her friends that gossip could really be great
friends except for the gossiping. So it may not be wise to drop
the friends on the shortcoming of gossiping alone.
My best friend is currently struggling with her 9-year-old daughter.
The girl is very tall and looks more like 14-15 than 9! Therefore,
she stands out whenever she is with her peers. The girl now is
getting a complex about being fat and ugly, which she is definitely
NOT! It is very hard to build up her self confidence although
we are relentlessly trying. Do you have any tips for us?
Have your friend involve her daughter in sports and other activities
where her height is an asset. Consider having the girl participate
in self-defense and karate type classes which have shown to build
self-confidence. If she is in fact overweight, encourage your
friend and her daughter to begin walking together after dinner
or exercising together doing an activity that's particularly
enjoyable for the daughter.
Dear Yasmin, I'm 14 and just read that you are here. I hope you
will answer my question. My friends are starting to have sex.
Well, most of them and I feel like the only one who hasn't yet.
My mom tells me not to and my 19 yr old sister is like all "save
it, don't do it now." But it's like I don't know how to keep
saying no and I don't know what the big deal is either way. I
know I don't want to get pregnant and I won't, but sometimes I
think I don't know the future anyway and what am I saving it for.
Many teens, particularly those 18 and younger come to regret having
sex at an early age. Many girls think that having sex with their
boyfriend is gonna make him love, respect and want to be with
them forever, but it does not. Sex also comes with a set of complications
and responsibility like birth control, teen pregnancy and preventing
STDs. Most teens who are physically ready to have sex are not
mentally ready to handle all of the responsibilities. That's
why your sister is saying, "Save it for Later." Who
needs the headache? Also, if you're continually asked about
having sex, you can say, "No, I'm not trying to go that
route." I was recently conducting a teen workshop in Cincinnati
and the guys were saying, "I'm practicing abstinence
because I don't want a girl to ruin my life if she gets pregnant."
Well, obviously there's another side to that coin, but you
can be strong and not have sex if you don't want to.
Do you think your book stands up as a great work of feminist literature?
As what I understand feminist literature to be, I do not believe
that The Blueprint for My Girls fits within that category. This
book shares with teen girls the challenges that they face as they
journey from girlhood to womanhood. It gives them options of how
to deal with life. I think it's a great book for teens who
are asking questions and going through issues in their lives.
How can you approach a parent when you know her daughter is in
crisis? Should you approach her, is it your business? Do parents
REALLY want to know?
January, it's honorable that you care enough about another
person's child to be even thinking about it. However, if
you're not a professional who deals with that kind of crisis
in your every day profession, approaching a parent may result
in undesirable consequences. If you know a teen is in crisis,
I would recommend you attempting to verify this crisis to the
best of your ability through your existing channels and then connect
with a guidance counselor or a professional in that field who
could consult with the teenager directly. I cannot say if all
parents want to know if their children are in crisis or not. But
the fact is: if a teen is in crisis, they probably need someone's
Yasmin, sometimes I can't sleep at night and I lay awake all night
thinking about stuff. Like if I will meet the right husband. Everyone
I know has parents who are divorced. Is marriage really worth
it? If I will go to college - heck, if I will graduate from high
school. I'm afraid of making decisions or the wrong ones and sometimes
I just feel bored and angry. Sometimes I'm just angry because
we don't have money to do the things I know I want to do. So then
I cry a lot and feel depressed. My mom says I will grow out of
it but that doesn't help. It's hard and I'm trying to find something
good. How did you get through it, and can you help? Karee.
It's natural to have apprehension about your life especially
when you're a teenage because it's a time of change.
But, it's good that you're thinking so far in advance
with your thoughts of college, marriage and what not. The answers
to these unsettling thoughts will come to pass. As you go through
high school, more information about college will be revealed to
you. And marriage isn't something you have to even think
about as a teen. I know what you're saying about divorce
though, it can be scary. But there are lots of people who are
married and who are happy. Perhaps, years and years down the road,
you will be one of those people. Thoughts of finances can be stressful
for adults and young people so if you're old enough and can
do so, you should think about getting a part-time job. Frustration
often comes when we feel powerless to change our situation. Working
will give you money that will help relieve some of the financial
pressures that you are feeling. Sometimes crying feels good to
let it out, and other times it may make you sadder. If you are
crying about a particular situation, take out a piece of paper,
write down what you don't like about it and list things that
you want to do about it, and do what you can to change that situation.
Focus on one thing at a time.
My daughter is 17 and going off to college next year. I'm at that
place where I'm wondering if I've prepared her well enough for
leaving home. Last minute worries, you know? How can I give her
some special gifts from her mother over the next year, ones that
don't seem awkward or preachy, but are jewels she can rely on
when things are tough, when decisions are hard for her, when she's
homesick, or is at a crossroad of some sort in life? Help? Thank
you, Yasmin. Jordy
I don't know how much your daughter likes to read, but my
Blueprint for My Girls address some situations that girls
go through at college. Feedback from some of the readers say that
the book is encouraging to them while they are away from home.
Other books that I would also consider are: Chocolate for a Teens
Soul and Chicken Soup for the College Soul. Sometimes reading
can connect to us in a way that talking cannot. Many girls also
like small tokens that serve as reminders to them of the people
who love them or the goals that they've accomplished. Giving
your daughter a special bracelet that may say something like,
"You're destined to succeed in anything you do."
Every time she puts this bracelet on, she'll feel good about
whatever challenge that she's facing. Perhaps a pillow or
blanket that would have a special message would also be encouraging
and definitely needed in the dorm! I understand that you really
love your daughter, she is so lucky to have you. Try to remember
that even when she goes away to college she still needs you to
encourage her, even if she says that she doesn't. Feel free
to send her care packages at college of her favorite things like
fruit, lip gloss, and cookies. This will definitely get her through
some of the rough days at school. And for you, feel good that
you have instilled enough confidence and self-love in your child
to make her want to strive to meet her goals.
Yasmin, I have daughters - they are ages 3, 7 and 9. I want to
instill self-worth, courage, a sense of well-being, trust, and
all those wonderful things mothers want to show and teach their
daughters (and sons!). I realize that now is the time, and that
every day counts, every example I set counts, and every reaction
I have matters. What a lot of pressure. (smile) Can you give us
some pointers and guidance?
Suzanne, it's so wonderful that you know what you want to
instill in your daughters and that all of those things are positive!
My research tells me that girls who are involved in uplifting
and encouraging social activities have a greater sense of self-worth
and trust than those who aren't participating in social activities.
I mean activities like Girl Scouts, or a girls group that has
a purpose like doing volunteer work or even tutoring other kids.
Additionally, involving kids in sports like the girls soccer team,
basketball, volleyball, softball are all good ideas. Sports allows
for the girls to learn about team work and the teammates are very
encouraging to one another which fosters good self-esteem, well-being
and self-confidence. For a child who doesn't enjoy team or
group activities, karate classes and piano classes are great ways
to build self-worth and courage. You mentioned that every reaction
that you have matters and that's true. But, if you put your
love of your children first and try to be as consistent as possible
in being an excellent mom and great role model, I believe that
your kids will turn out great.
Yasmin, please tell me about you book. Beth. Age 11.
for My Girls is a book that has 99 different situations that girls
go through from 13 to 21 or so. Each situation in the book has
a personal testimony from me. The testimonies came from the diaries
that I've keep since I was 11 years old. It's a non-fiction
book and is separated into three chapters: Foundation, Composition
and Fortification. I wrote the book after I kept meeting girls
who were asking me questions about life and they wanted my opinion.
The Blueprint for My Girls gives my experiences and my opinions.
My cousin died and don't understand why bad things happen. I don't
know how to help my aunt. Sometimes I don't know why God lets
it happen to us.
don't understand why bad things happen either. In my book,
The Blueprint for My Girls I write about that exact topic.
It is beyond our knowledge to understand why bad things happen,
but we have to accept that something bad has happened and we have
to move on with our lives. If we spend too much time trying to
figure out why it happened, we will not have enough time to live
or enjoy our time on earth. I know it is hurtful when bad things
happen to good people, but I believe that God must have a reason
even if I don't understand it. Also, just because I know
that it's beyond my understanding, and it's beyond my
control, I don't pretend to like or appreciate or be happy
about when bad things happen to good people. And, when I meet
God I will probably tell him that point. I encourage you to do
the same. You can help your aunt by sending her notes of encouragement,
trying to spend some time with her or calling her to let her know
that you care about her. When people are mourning, they are often
isolated. Let her know that you are there for her and visit, call,
or write her when you call. It will help her.
Yasmin, is your book good for moms too? And is it just for girls?
told that the book has been a talking piece for mothers and daughters.
It helps daughters in communicating what they are going through
and it helps moms to remember what they went through when they
were teens. The older that we get it is easy to forget all of
the crazy things that happened to us when we were teenagers, so
this book helps mothers a lot. When my mom read the book she said
to me that she didn't know that I was going through so much.
It brought us a lot closer and she understands me a lot more.
The Blueprint for My Girls was written for girls but I'm
continually told that guys could learn a lot from this book. I
believe that also.
What is the best way to help my daughter develop a high self esteem
without crossing the conceited side?
Have your daughter's
esteem developed from setting goals, teamwork, and individual
accomplishments. Encourage your daughter to participate in peer
groups that work together, a volunteer group would be an excellent
example. If you daughter joins a team like a sports team this
will increase her trust and responsibility toward others. Group
activities and team sports increase self-confidence while at the
same time humbles its participants because of the kind of activities
that they do and the group work ethic. Additionally, encourage
your daughter to out-do herself. For example, encourage her to
try new things, like playing the guitar, trying a yoga class.
The more that we encourage our kids to diversify their activities,
we're teaching them to dig deep within. The reward is high
self-esteem with inner peace and outer consciousness.
My sister has
a teenage girl that wants to wear tight revealing clothes and
they battle all the time about what she is wanting to buy. How
can she make her understand that she is not trying to be mean?
Please tell your sister to convey to her daughter that clothing
makes a statement about the kind of person that we are whether
we want them to or not. As a mother, your sister doesn't want
her daughter's clothing to make her daughter look cheap, sleazy
or make her look like she should be a victim. Have your sister
share stories with her daughter about how clothes can make people
mistake the kind of person that someone is. Hopefully, it will
get through to her daughter. Also, if your niece likes magazines,
suggest that your sister and niece go through the magazine together
and pick out stars, or outfits that people are wearing and discuss
them. That's an excellent way to get a dialogue going.
I have one daughter and I want to raise her with a better sense
of self esteem than I had growing up! Mine was pretty low - I
have worked really hard to improve my vision of myself but don't
want my daughter to have to do the same. Any tips?
Libba, Since you have a great sense of your self-esteem as a teenager,
re-examine what you think made you have low self-esteem. What
were the factors? Now, look at your daughter. Are those factors
existing in her life as well? If they are, look at what you can
do to influence those factors or change them. My guess though
is that you're doing a much better job in building her self-esteem
than you think you are. At any rate, encourage her to engage in
team activities like sports or girls groups. And, try not to
criticize but encourage your daughter in any way that you can.
It goes a long way to making a girl feel good about herself.
Hi, Yasmin. My husband comes from a family of 4 boys. Unfortunately
his mother and father made boys out to be better than girls. We
have family dinner w/ them every Sunday, and I have noticed little
things that have been said that would imply all girls do is cry,
be dramatic, cook, clean, and be "girly." My question
is: My daughter is 18 months old - Do you think that these things
being said by her grandmother and great grandmother will have
a large impact on her? I am definitely NOT into stereotyping the
sexes and will not bring her up to think that if she doesn't enjoy
cooking and cleaning that she is not a real woman. Thank you.
Jen, unfortunately things said in your daughter's presence by
her grandmother and great grandmother definitely can have an impact
on her. Especially if you or your husband don't counter their
biased information with some better information. Your daughter
may not be registering what's being said at 18 months but at the
age of 2, 3 and 4 kids become increasingly aware of what is being
said to them and/or about them. It makes me sad that some people
will say things no matter how wrong or hurtful they are just because
it's their opinion. It seems like when we get old enough to realize
that people can be damaged by our hurtful comments, we would do
something about saying hurtful things.
What can we do as women and mothers to serve as good role models
for the young girls in our lives?
Brenda, be an active participant in your daughter's lives and
spend time - just the girls. For example, be willing to do constructive
things with them and things that they enjoy - going skating, seeing
a particular movie, attending church services. In addition, as
much as possible, behave in a way that your daughter can admire.
Daughters get so much of their strength from their mothers and
so many of their weaknesses as well. By being a strong mother
and a good role model, your essence will rub off on your daughter.
Daughters and mothers are truly each other's cheerleaders. Try
to instill that value into your daughter.
Your book sounds great! I have an eight-year-old daughter who
is becoming a "little lady" much too quickly for me
:o) Do you have daughters of your own or is the book mostly based
on personal experience from being a daughter yourself?
Hello, Jennifer! Although The Blueprint for My Girls is
a book of my personal experiences, I do have a daughter who is
7 years old. As I wrote The
Blueprint, I thought of what my daughter's experiences would
be. In my work, although it's not written for her age group, I
am forever influenced by my daughter's presence in my life. I
cannot write anything, speak to any group, or do any publicity
without thinking about how my work could potentially impact my
daughter and her friends. I think being a mother has given me
even greater insight to the circle of life.
How do we teach our daughters to follow what they know is right
and not to give into peer pressure?
One of the best ways to teach kids to do what's right is to be
a good example of that. If they see that you face challenges in
your life but you're doing what's right and not succumbing to
pressure at work, from co-workers or from friends, that's great.
Also, continue to dialogue with your children about people who
did what was right and didn't succumb to pressure from their peers.
There are plenty of examples in the news and in some cases television.
Try to accentuate cases where people -- young and old --
stood up for what was right. Also, I've heard (haven't tried it
yet) that role playing is really good. Maybe you could pretend
to be the person who goes along with the crowd, and your daughter
could be the person who's doing the right thing. Hey, it might
actually be fun, plus it'd be a learning experience. Good luck,
Alexis! Good question.
My daughter is only 5 years old and in kindergarten. She is a
fun child, involved in dance and is very outgoing in nature. Lately,
she has told me another little girl is being very cruel to her
(teasing her about being friends with some of the little boys
and also trying to pull my daughter's shirt up because the other
little girl says she has a fat tummy (which she doesn't). My daughter
is beginning to draw inward because of this. How do I encourage
her to remain the person she is and deal with this situation?
Hi, Missy. Teachers at your daughter's kindergarten need to be
made aware of this situation so that they can inform the other
girl's parents. It is important for you to let your daughter know
that she is not wrong even though these hurtful things are happening
to her. Let her know that some kids act out in school and do mean
things to other kids. But that you are going to work with the
school to make sure that this stops immediately. Good luck. I
cannot tell you how many times I had to deal with this exact type
of issue with my daughter who is now 7 years old.
Yasmin, I only have a little boy--only eight months old--but
when he gets older I hope to teach him how to understand and respect
women. I am mostly afraid of the teenage years where these values
are most important and I was wondering where and how I should
start..since you seem to understand young girls so well, how can
I help a young man understand them and grow up to be respectful?
As much as boys learn how to treat women by watching how their
fathers treat their mothers, in cases when fathers are not in
the home, boys pay attention to how their mothers allow the men
in their lives to treat them. Mothers who communicate with their
sons about how to treat girls are most likely to have sons who
treat women well. My advice to all women who have sons (mine is
9 months old) is to make sure that you are treated with respect
at all times and that's how your son will think all women should
be treated. Additionally, encourage your son's father to talk
with him about male/female relationships when he is of age - especially
if you believe he has something positive to say.
I have two preteen daughters, 11 and 10 year old, and was wondering
how you think I should let them start being independent women
without letting them go/do too much too soon? I know this is a
very difficult balance and value your opinion on the matter!
Well, the first thing that I would do is have a discussion of
"Independence." Is Independence going to the mall without
you? Is it wearing clothes that are grown up? Is it doing more
chores around the house? Once you and the girls discuss what Independence
means to you all as a family, I would begin to have them write
a list of the things that they want. And then you should write
a list of what each of those things costs. For example if you
want to go to the mall with your girl friends, you have to do
more chores around the house. I think the key to having balance
as it relates to independence is to weigh the other side of that
scale with responsibility, chores, accountability and the like.
Hey, we gotta remember, as adults our independence costs. Should
our kids have it any different? Best of luck, Patricia.
If you like this article, we'd be honored if you shared it using the button below.