Friday, October 2, 2009

When my "twenty-something" daughters were elementary school age...by Guest Blogger, Carole Aksak

I used to walk them to the bus stop every morning. On the first day of school I would take a picture of all the children standing there waiting for the bus to come. We always enjoyed comparing this year’s pictures with those from the years before. We could see how friendships may have shifted, how their sense of style was changing by the clothes they chose to wear, even how their interests were beginning to take shape by the musical instruments they toted along with them or by the sports equipment they carried. I’m sure the picture would look very different if I were snapping a picture of my daughters at the bus stop today. I would probably be snapping the pictures from my cell phone, downloading it to my computer, posting it on my Facebook page then sending it off in an email to my family and non-Facebook friends. And, I would probably get it all done before my daughters had even arrived at the front door of their school. Technology has changed everything, especially for our kids, not only in the way we communicate, but in the ways we work, play, and conduct our relationships.  
 
One of the “jobs” of a child is to figure out exactly who she is and where she fits in the world. School is a wonderful place to do that. For a few hours a day, we separate from our parents and move into a world where we get to try things out for ourselves. Friendships help us to navigate the school day. Our friends provide us with clues to our identity. Our friends help us to feel connected, which is a universal need. Our earliest ancestors depended upon the group for their survival. Kids today are no different. They still need the security and protection of a group of friends to help them figure out who they are. What’s different today is the impact of technology on our kids and on their relationships.  
 
Girls need our help to understand the intricacies of friendship, including what that means as a member of the “always on” generation. Parents need a better understanding of how they can help their child to have positive healthy relationships as their child grows. Girl Scouts of Nassau County is here to provide safety and guidance as girls navigate this “brave new world.”

For more information about healthy relationships or to bring a speaker to your parent group, please contact Carole Aksak at 516.741.2550 ext. 254.

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