Home >> At Home >> Daughters >> Daughters: Teaching Teen Social Groups

Search form

Home > At Home > Archives > Daughters > Daughters

Teaching Teen Social Groups
By Roni Sandler Cohen

When your daughter refers to classmates as Goths, Punks, or Techies, you may wonder if she's mocking or disparaging her peers. Differentiating among social groups helps her find her way during adolescence, but what do these terms mean?

Learn the labels. By middle school, group names help girls discover who they are and where they fit in. For example, Techies are quiet computer whizzes who become the lighting crew for more outgoing Drama Kids. Crunchies share a passion for the environment. Athletes are still Jocks, but now include more girls. Marching band devotees are called Bandos. Some groups proclaim a shared identity through strong fashion statements. If your daughter insists on wearing a "uniform," she may be declaring her membership in a certain group. Punks sport multiple pierces and dyed hair. Along with Goths, who wear all black, these teens are shouting, "I want to be different!" Boarders, who enjoy skate- or snowboarding, also wear distinct baggy attire. While Preps still dress conservatively and Hippies prefer loose clothing and sandals, Japs and Ghettos favor ultra-chic designer labels and braids and chains, respectively.

Refrain from assumptions. Since group labels change over the years and differ from school to school, check out contemporary definitions and new terms. For example, Hoods and Greasers have become Punks, while the cool crowd is now the Populars. No longer can you judge a group's behavior from its name. Potheads, Partiers, and Clubbers may have clear interests, but no social group today is immune from using controlled substances. Hippies and other groups often mix with Potheads. Does your daughter aspire to a cooler group? If she does, and she's not included, her peers may dub her a Wannabe.

Expect shifts. If her sudden attraction to certain groups worries you, know that it's probably temporary. Research shows that a sophomore's closest friends have changed by her senior year. Plus, the boundaries of today's social groups are highly permeable. That means your daughter can enjoy friends from various groups. Encourage this skill, which helps many adolescent girls manage social challenges. Just make sure she doesn't feel pressured to be a mediator among various groups. Is she changing peer groups often? This may be an adaptive strategy for trying out new interests and identities.

© 2001 Dads and Daughters, From Daughters: For Parents of Girls,
Duluth, MN www.daughters.com. This and other articles on raising healthy girls are available online at www.newmoonstore.com.


Back to EducationWorld At Home main page