Working with girls, working with boys, it's pretty much the same, right? Wrong. Although in college, you probably didn't take any classes called “Special Issues for Girls, " or “Girls’ Problems 101, " maybe there should be classes like that. Using “one-gender-fits-all" interventions can gloss over the special concerns that many girls face.
These methods are taken from our books, e-books and web site. Find us at http://www.youthchg.com Here are some surprising facts about girls that you may not know:
1- Girls actually are a bit more likely than boys to face significant family problems, but are less likely than boys to be noticed because girls tend to be less overt and aggressive when distressed. Our communities tend to notice slashed tires not slashed wrists. For problems like *** abuse and incest, girls may endure quite a bit more than their “fair share. "
2- Although girls may face more problems, the bulk of help goes to boys. Girls are underrepresented in nearly every service category, especially juvenile justice where girls may be just 25% of the clients. Boys get more intensive services, are served earlier, and for longer duration
3- It is generally girls, not boys, who bear the most consequences of a teen pregnancy. Teen moms are the most likely to drop out of school, go on welfare, live in poverty and never get off welfare, a huge legacy of woes unique to females.
To work in a gender-proficient way with girls, you must address girls’ special issues using gender-appropriate methods, not “uni-sex" interventions. The strategies below are interventions created especially for girls and focus on areas of special concern for young females:
*** Mamas, Don't Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Dropouts Recap the financial facts cited in #3 above, plus let your girls know these additional “Frightening Facts for Females:" No one earns less than a female drop-out, and she earns considerably less, plus her salary is expected to drop by about 1/2% annually, that's 5% per decade.
*** BONUS TIP: The income of female drop-outs is
plummeting. For example, female drop-outs earned an
average $17,000 in 1979 but just $16,300 in 1995 (all
adjusted 1995 dollars. ) These facts are from our “The
More You Learn, The More You Earn" newsletter
(http://www.youthchg.com/orderfm.html) which costs just
$2 and has lots more facts and tips, along with the source
of the data. We'll send that newsletter to you FREE with
any purchase or registration you make in 2000 if you
mention this e-zine when you first register or order.
*** Would You Recommend It to a Friend? Ask girls to name all the solutions they would recommend to a friend who was feeling sad, lonely and unloved. List the answers on the board, or on paper, then note that having a baby is not listed. For girls who plan to have a baby to get love, you can ask them why they would select a course of action for themselves that they wouldn't even recommend to a friend.
*** BONUS TIP: Ask girls this question: Babies
born in 1999 will cost $160,000-$237,000 to raise;
will your allowance cover it? You can also assist
the girls to figure out how well minimum wage jobs,
welfare and food stamps will cover these costs. Our
"What Every Girl Needs to Know About the Real World"
book is the source of lots more of these strategies.
*** Transform Miss Priss into Miss Piggy Perfectionism can be a surprisingly key issue for some girls. For example, links between perfectionism and eating disorders have long been noted, so easing a girl's perfectionism can have a relevant ripple effect. If you work with Miss Priss, here is a quick strategy to help move her a bit in the other direction. Teach the girls the “3 Ps of Perfectionism", the cycle of perfectionism. This may help them become a bit more in control of the cycle. So a girl wants to be perfect, thus the first ‘P', Perfectionism. Doing everything perfect is hard, so she may put things off, thus the second ‘P', Procrastination. Now the tasks that have been postponed have piled up and that is overwhelming, which can cause the third ‘P, ’ Paralysis. The more you can assist your girls to avoid the later stages of the cycle, the better they may function.
*** BONUS TIP: Teach girls that everybody makes
mistooks and then you make one, then challenge your
girls to make some mistooks too. Teach the girls that
"everybody makes mistooks. " That may ease some pressure.
Get much more information on this topic at www.youthchg.com and theclassroommanagementsite.com . Author Ruth Herman Wells MS is the director of Youth Change, (www.youthchg.com ). Sign up for her free Problem-Kid Problem-Solver magazine at the site and see hundreds more of her innovative methods. Ruth is the author of dozens of books and provides workshops and training. For re-print permission for this article, contact the author by
email (firstname.lastname@example.org. )