I am interested in starting a support and discussion group for teen girls in our community. Could you please tell me how to get this started?
INFORMATION ON HOW TO START A TEEN GIRL SUPPORT GROUP:
1. You may want to start by calling, emailing or delivering flyers to the local churches, schools and teen activity centers stating where and when this group will be offered.
2. I would recommend that you download a copy of my FREE E-book: “What Would Your Teen Life Coach Say?“ and make copies to distribute to each of the girls on the first meeting.
3. The format could vary, but here is a format that I have used:
- GENERAL FORMAT
Everybody is seated circle so that they can see ever group member’s face, including those on either side of them. Each person is given the opportunity to speak. Members are asked to speak loudly enough for everyone in the circle can hear them.
- NO INTERRUPTING
Participants are asked to not interrupt the speakers, though this “rule” may be broken if the topic is very stimulating. (In this case, it is the facilitator’s decision to allow or disallow the interruption.)
- USE OF “I” STATEMENTS
Respect is a key element to this group, and gossiping about others is not allowed. Members will be encouraged to use “I” statements to take personal ownership for their thoughts and feelings.
- PARTICIPATION IS VOLUNTARY
No one is forced to participate in group discussions, however, everyone will be encouraged. Active participation in the group discussions will allow the participants to learn from each other, as well as discover that they are not alone in their feelings,
- CREATING A SAFE SPACE
The main ground rule is that everything discussed in group is held in confidence so as to create a safe space for members to feel free to open up. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be unacceptable. Any casual discussions of drugs or alcohol will also be discouraged.
HERE ARE GENERAL QUESTIONS FOR THE GROUP TO REFLECT ON:
- As your body transitions from childhood to adulthood, are you reaching out to the more experienced women in your life — mothers, siblings, aunts?
- Do you sometimes have difficulty letting go of some friendships even though you realize it is probably time to move on?
- Do you try too hard to please others and then end up feeling unhappy or anxious?
- When choosing friends do you seek out the most popular people, or do you prefer to find those with whom you can have an enjoyable conversation?
- Are you honest and clear about who you are, or do you hide the most precious parts of yourself for fear of being hurt?
- If you feel insulted, do you have the maturity to respond without attacking back?
- Is expressing your truth easy for you, or do you often pretend to agree with your friends’ opinions?
- Instead of complaining and blaming others, do you take responsibility and turn a negative situation around?
- Are you willing to settle for any guy just to have a boyfriend, or are you brave enough to keep looking for someone who is right for you?
- While dreaming about what you may still want, how often do you express gratitude for what you already have?
- How often do you compare yourself to others?
- Do you find yourself making unsafe choices? If so, do you know why?
- When someone says or does something that troubles you, do you initiate a talk that might clear the air?
- Do you believe you have the right to be treated with kindness and respect?
- Are you awkward around boys that you find attractive? If so, what are some things you can do to make yourself feel more comfortable?
- Do you keep silent and let your boyfriend tell you what to do, or do you feel free to express your own ideas?
- Are you likely to give in to peer pressure, or are you confident enough to listen to your own wisdom?
- When you get dressed for school, do you always remember to put on a smile?
- Is being “authentic” something common in your world or rare?
- Do you change to please others or because the change makes sense to you?
- Are you open to trying new experiences and meeting new people?
- Do you get caught up in the popularity contest?
- Are you in any relationships that intimidate you?
- Are you aware when you are completely being yourself and when you are pretending to be someone else?
- What is it about yourself that makes you feel proud?
- What does your favorite song say about who you are?
- If you were asked to write a story of your teen years, what key events would you include?
- In years to come, when you look back on your life thus far, will you laugh, cry, feel embarrassed or proud?
- What hope or thought carries you through challenging times?
- Are you already living the life you want, or are you still waiting for your life to begin?
Once the girls have gotten to know each other, you can invite them to bring in topics that they would like to discuss. Initially, it helps to have a facilitator ask the question, and give everyone a chance to answer.
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