Study Finds Girls Want Validation

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Yes, girls talk about the latest fashion trends and if they’re fat or what boy is the cutest. But a study released today by The Women’s Funds of Central Ohio shows there’s more to girls than inane gossip. WOSU reports the study found girls are complex and want to feel validated.

To no one’s surprise, the study found boys, friends, drama, puberty and school were the top issues for girls in the fifth through seventh grades. But study author Lisa Hinkelman, who directs Ruling Our eXperiences – an empowerment program for girls – found girls are becoming preoccupied with dating earlier than ever.

“By the seventh grade 70 percent of girls are concerned with dating. In the high school years sex becomes extremely important and is listed as the number one or number two concern,” Hinkelman said. Hinkelman said some of the most important information the study found is today’s girls have intense emotions, and girls don’t feel they have what it takes to deal with them. Hinkelman said self-esteem is part of the answer.

“When we build self-esteem in an individual we don’t do that by telling them they’re smart and pretty, we do that by having them experience themselves as competent in a variety of situations,” she said.

The study found girls like to deal with their issues amongst themselves, not with adults. The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s program director Kelly Budros said girls want to feel validated.

“We often don’t understand the intensity of their experience, and I think that’s dangerous for adults to discount that for girls. This is their first time going through this experience. It’s challenging. One of the things I think adults can do is remember what it was like,” Budros said.

The study surveyed more than 2,000 area girls from grades fifth through twelfth.