Why cultivating resilience is critical for teen girls and how parents can help

Why cultivating resilience is critical for teen girls and how parents can help

The Girl Ready event will be held on the 16th of March 2019 at the Powerhouse Museum, Harris St, Ultimo. Tickets are still available. (PARTNER CONTENT)

Girl Ready’s parent and daughter event Conquering Fear. Creating Resilience. Cultivating a Growth Mindset is set to help parents of teenage girls as they navigate the endless challenges of raising resilient and happy young women.

The event designed for both parents and teens will be led by Maria Borg, founder of Girl Ready, as well as a team of leading experts in the field.

Building a village of support and connection for parents and their daughters is an essential part of the Girl Ready philosophy. The event aims to foster the creation of this village and develop practical skills for developing resilience and a growth mindset for teenage girls, even in the face of adversity.

“To call upon thought leaders, visionaries and experts alike to create one community for assisting the development of our future female thought leaders is pertinent and urgent,” Maria tells us. “Teaching ourselves and our girls how to be resilient, how to advance despite adversity is critical to overall well being and intern their individual success, however they choose to define it.”

We recently sat down with Maria to get a better sense of the ‘Girl Ready’ vision and the criticality of embracing vulnerability as parents.

How did Girl Ready come about? Was there a key turning point in your life that led you to founding it?

After becoming a parent and blindly navigating through some interesting and at times, very difficult challenges, it became very clear to me that parenting was an area that needed some further attention. It couldn’t just be about stumbling through hoping to get it right.

A friend confided in me that she was experiencing many challenges with her daughter and would give anything to be able to truly re-connect with her. To get away from all distractions and really get back to being open, honest and vulnerable with each other. I knew this resonated with so many parents.

When we speak about parenting, we often focus on what we need to teach the child to help them, but I felt this was a little too simplistic. It’s my belief that parenting should be a collaborative experience with my child, not a one way street.

I searched for something that offered a true combined learning experience for girls and their parents and couldn’t find what I was looking for – so I set out to create it.

Cultivating resilience and growth mindsets are the focus of the event; can you explain why you see these skills as critical for girls becoming teenagers?

Human-centred learning such as resilience and growth mindset are topics that we all, as children and adults must learn. This is not something that we learn once and apply for a lifetime much like we do not lift a barbell once and create a toned body for life.

I believe these are fundamental teachings that our lives should be centred around to allow for the creation of a mindset that allows you to growth as an individual and advance despite adversity.

To learn and practice the fundamental principles and techniques means to apply them daily – constantly building on the learning of the previous day, week, month, year – creating a life of learning and application.

Teaching ourselves and our girls how to be resilient, how to advance despite adversity is critical to overall wellbeing and intern their individual success, however they choose to define it.

Our girls (and every child) need to be able to engage with the world through a place of worthiness, creativity, respect and compassion (for self and others), vulnerability and perseverance and above all a sense of courage and resilience.

What transferable skills have you brought to your leadership at Girl Ready? How has this helped?

For me this is a passion project and brings together not only all my skills learned over my career but the very essence of who I am. My entire career has been centred around the development of people and studying the human connection.

As a parent, this developed further as I had now added a new layer to the human connection and a deeper understanding of how fragile a relationship can be when not tended to daily and with care.

My role now, is to facilitate change.

To call upon thought leaders, visionaries and experts alike to create one community for assisting the development of our future female thought leaders. Nothing is more pertinent and more urgent to me than this.

How do you teach parents to stay calm and rational when dealing with the endless challenges of raising teenagers?

For me parenting is a relationship and like any relationship it has its challenges. Parenting is not one dimensional and as parents we need to remember that.

We want the quick fix when some thing is not going the way we believe it should, but for me, it’s about the long-term cultivation of a deep relationship with our daughters (and sons). I am not a child psychologist and therefore do not have the textbook answers. My role is to bring the ‘experts’ together to assist in the development of the relationship between parent and daughter.

We want the quick fix when some thing is not going the way we believe it should, but for me, it’s about the long-term cultivation of a deep relationship with our daughters (and sons).

However, I feel that if we practice the fundamentals of listening with intent to understand and also respect – respecting your daughter’s perspective as valid and true for her, then we create better relationships with our girls. We would do this in any business encounter. Why not apply it with your children?

In the gap between the academic environment of school and real life, what necessary skills do girls need to reach their full potential?

They say it takes a village to raise a child. For me this is a true statement. No one place – school, home, teacher, parent, can teach it all… Some topics would be (but not limited to):

  • Resilience and learning to how make their own positive decisions through challenge
  • Understanding and applying a Growth Mindset to everyday
  • Financial literacy (across all areas eg: saving, tax, mortgage, P&L etc …)
  • Risk taking & entrepreneurship
  • The truth behind body image (marketing and hype) and the Psychology of Selling
  • Growing up in a hyper sexualised environment
  • Mind/ Body balance and Self Defence
  • Defining success in your own terms
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ) and (AQ) Adversity quotient
  • Science of Communication – (not speaking & Hearing) But consciously listening &
  • learning and creating outcomes
  • Human Connection and bringing the ‘Human’ back
  • Cultivation comes from understanding and ‘doing’. Taking action everyday.

When stakes are high, living through fear and questioning yourself is sometimes a reality for many parents. What is your advice for overcoming this fear?

I don’t believe there is a parent anywhere that has not questioned their parenting at some point. I believe that embracing that vulnerability is essential in being a connected parent.

Yes, as parents we experience fear but as Brene Brown tells us “perfect and bullet proof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be, an important meeting, a creative process or a difficult family conversation – with courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling advice, we must DARE to show up”

As a parent yourself, where do you look for advice when you need it?

My Village! From trusted family and friends to expert advice from my wider network. My motto is ask and you shall receive. With wisdom comes the understanding that I am not meant to know everything, help is available, and mistakes are rich in experience and learning.

How should parents strike a balance between allowing their daughter independence and expecting her to follow trusted advice that has been given to her?

This ‘balance’ is not something that is static. Everything is fluid and because of this the balance can change from one day to the next. For me it has always been about creating a trusted relationship with my daughter. Enabling her to feel that she and I have a space that is free of judgement and a space where we can both be vulnerable.

‘balance’ is not something that is static.

Of course, it is also very important to determine whether our daughters have the emotional and psychological maturity to undertake certain things. I don’t believe I need to be my daughter’s best friend. There needs to be a mutual understanding regarding which decisions require discussion & agreement and which she can undertake on her own.

Staying close, having an open, vulnerable relationship and accepting that we will both make mistakes along the way and openly acknowledging those mistakes, will make the relationship stronger.

What would you go back and tell yourself as a teenage girl?

Be Fearless! Embrace Vulnerability and grow from it. Be the change you want to see in the world.

What book do you most recommend for parents looking for advice on parenting teenage girls?

The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting – Raising kids with courage, compassion and connection by the incredible Brene Brown. She teaches that it is in these moments of imperfection that we create the greatest connection. Absolutely wonderful!

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