Getting Started: Understanding Middle School Girls

Girls want to interact with an adult who can appreciate the things in their world—the things they do, the things they think about, and the things they dream. If you are not already around middle school girls, take time to get to know their world. See a popular movie or visit a store popular with preteens. Ask girls which magazines or Web sites they like best and check them out.

While each girl is an individual, some general characteristics of girls in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades are that they:

  • Feel unique, as if no one else has ever felt the way they do
  • Display excellent planning skills, long attention spans, and total absorption in their passions (though they may discover a new passion frequently)
  • Are extremely concerned with their friends and peer relationships and put a lot of energy and interest into them (and may develop self-consciousness in front of peers)
  • Are often interested in boys and develop crushes
  • Are into “what’s hot” and “what’s not” in fashion, music, celebrities, and style
  • Are committed to communicating and getting along with parents/guardians
  • Feel a lot of pressure about the social scene at school, and think that adults do not understand how complicated their social life is—and how much stress it can cause
  • Have good communication skills and, with guidance, can present issues effectively in public forums
  • Like to be with and serve people directly—it is their social nature

Remember...

  • Reviewing this guide will give you confidence!
  • Show confidence.
  • It is OK not to know everything! You and the girls can explore answers together.
  • Be enthusiastic—it is contagious!
  • Get to know the girls. Inquire about each girl individually. Know their likes, dislikes, and so on.
  • If a girl seems bored, consider asking her to “take the lead” on an activity.
  • Be flexible. If an activity is not working, ask girls themselves what to change, or what other activity they would like to do.
  • Know when to assert yourself.
  • Be consistent and fair—treat everyone alike.
  • Keep your sense of humor!

Next: Outcomes: Benefits to Girls