An eleven year-old girl was faced with an issue that is very common for many tween girls. She received two birthday party invitations for the same day and time. The tween needed to make a decision: Should she risk hurting her sensitive, less mature friend’s feelings by going to the party where she would rather be with her friends from her class, or attend the party of her sensitive friend? For some young girls this can be an agonizing decision--one that feels very real at the time. As a result, the young girl sought guidance to express what was on her mind.
In order to assist the tween it was necessary to gather all the facts about the party invites, establish the nature of the friendships, and determine if a compromise was a possibility. Next, we created a chart addressing all of the tween's options based upon input provided by the tween and also by me. Then we explored the positives and negatives of each choice. The last step was to decide which choice felt right for the tween. I call it the 'one she can live with." After our session, it was clear that the 5th grader realized the right choice for the situation.
This process empowers young girls to develop the confidence to understand that they have the ability to think something through, talk it out, weigh all of the options, and make an informed decision. Developing the skills necessary to get through these challenges helps to create a sense of pride and accomplishment. Although this issue may not seem like a big dilemma to adults, it's actually the decision making process experienced by the tween that makes this a real turning point for young girls. The more opportunities tweens get to work through these experiences and approach such issues with confidence, the better equipped they will be to handle the major choices that will have to be made as they face life's challenges.