My last post was on the role of violence in girlsâ€™ lives. There are some very practical steps we can take to help her deal with her own violent feelings and the violent actions (or potential actions) of others.
Underlying every strategy is emphasizing and showing her ways to resolve her frustration and arguments without violence. Role play situations with her so she develops confidence in how she could respond if someone threatens violence. â€œWhat could you do if someone told you that you had to fight her to defend yourself?â€
Take a self-defense or martial arts class with her.Â Youâ€™ll both feel more confidence in your strength and physical security and will rehearse scenarios that build your defense skills. In addition, youâ€™ll both probably develop a strengthened self-image and confidence.
Donâ€™tâ€™ be afraid to matter-of-factly discuss how to logically assess situations and steer clear of possibly unsafe ones.Â
When she starts dating, teach her about the warning signs of controlling behavior by a boyfriend or girlfriend that can precede violence. â€œItâ€™s disrespectful for Jake to make you feel guilty about spending time with your friends.â€ If you observe or hear about any violent behavior, take action immediately to end the relationship and get help for the perpetrator.
Emotional violence like shaming, manipulating and belittling can also be a problem in dating relationships and be a warning of potential physical violence.
Donâ€™t make her fearful, or distrusting of all boys, as a way to protect her from violence.Â Donâ€™t say things like â€œYou canâ€™t go anywhere after dark, no matter what. You never know what they might do.â€
Donâ€™t ever suggest violence as a solution or as something to be tolerated and ignored.Â Donâ€™t say â€œHe just pushed you; donâ€™t make a big deal out of it.â€
just forget it.
Saving Beauty from The Beast: How to Protect Your Daughter From an Unhealthy Relationship by Vicki Crompton (Little Brown, 2003)
Learn more in my book How To Say It To Girls: Communicating with Your Growing Daughter