Birthday party, Mr. McFeely & Girl Squad?
I don’t remember much from elementary school when it comes to friendships, exclusivity and cliques.
I don’t have memories of girls who weren’t friendly or who closed ranks of cliques and left me on the outside.
Do you recall any of that? I once asked my mom. I don’t, but I wonder if it’s the benevolence of memory?
You were lucky, she responded. You went to an experimental school where pretty much every kid was the “odd” kid. In that way it was very inclusive.
I think about this conversation each year as my daughter readies to start school.
We’ve been fortunate so far.
We’ve had drama, but we’ve not yet had the frenemies experience.
And, as everyone who’s ever had a child or loved a child knows, I’m holding my breath.
And I’m watching.
two members of my elementary school ‘girl squad’
I pay attention as I walk the Child to school and wait with her on the playground.
I listen to how she treats others and how others speak to her.
Right now (there’s that breath holding again) mostly all I see are girls stepping up to be inclusive.
The playground groupings which exist seem more created to benefit the members (we all swim competitively. we can help each other before, during and after meets/practices) than with an emphasis on exclusion.
The girls are focused on the friend-groups and the fact (as with family) they may be allowed to tease each other, but if an outsider tries to break the circle and be “mean” the group immediately offers support.
Are girl squads the new cliques?
When I mentioned these observations to a mom-friend she smiled and nodded.
They’re like Taylor Swift and her squad, right? It’s not too cliquey here.
Which led me to Google.
Which led me to girl squads.
(Which led me to wonder, again, if I’ve reached the age where I’m “keeping up with” pop culture?)
It’s the fourth day of 4th grade and what I’ve seen so far has me filled with optimism.
I’m aware it’s a delicate balance (yep–still holding my breath), I know online & offline bullying reigns supreme many places, I’m choosing to be hopeful.
- Have girl squads become the new cliques?
- Have girls realized there’s greater strength in numbers/mutual support than in putting others down?
- Is my own challenge less I’m lonely and more I need to Swift-up and get me a squad?