Somebody who I hold in seriously high regard and who runs a top Independent Girls School has recently written this blog post about raising girls...
In recent weeks the press has been full of articles about the different pressures that girls find themselves under in today's world. I have no doubt that life for young women is both very different and more complicated to when I first started teaching over thirty years ago. This does lead to times when they may feel overwhelmed by what is happening to them and bemused and bewildered as to how they fit in to their family, peer group or school. Some young women seem to sail through the teenage years, however choppy the waters become, but others falter. What causes this disparity? We all have a unique make up and as a consequence, each of us reacts differently. Some girls are fortunate to have strong emotional resilience and a real sense of self worth which carries them through the challenging times. However, my experience suggests that most fall short of this by different degrees.
The challenge for teachers and staff working with young people is to see them as individuals and to work with them to help build their self esteem. There is no magic wand and no single method. The key thing for them all is to find their niche, to feel valued and accepted. They need to get involved in activities, and be challenged in a way which allows them to a develop a sense of self. Far from being wrapped in cotton wool, they need to climb mountains, canoe, speak in public and put themselves outside the comfort zone and feel the sense of achievement that develops when they succeed. This is what education must do for girls.
I couldn't agree more.