How Being a “Girl Mom” is Harder

girl mom

My second child is in middle school. I thought I knew the middle school drill, the hills and valleys—I’ve been here before, right? Wrong. Because child number one was a boy, and number two…she’s a girl.

Parenting either gender comes with its own set of unique challenges and joys. {Tweet This} But, without a doubt, there are particular ways in which being a “girl mom” is harder. In this preteen season of childhood, boy moms aren’t debating when to allow the shaving of legs, preparing for the arrival of the “monthly visitor,” or dealing with the increasingly cruel social politics of Girl World.

Sure, boys have challenges in middle school—they battle insecurity and the awkwardness of puberty too; but, most don’t talk/cry about it 172 hours per day. With girls, the emotions are running high and you’re going to hear about it. So as a form of solidarity with “girl moms” everywhere, we’ve outlined several ways in which being a “girl mom” is harder. Checkout our follow-up post: How Being a Boy Mom is Harder.

1. Preparing for periods.

It’s hard to help girls relax about a transition that will show up with little warning and could be embarrassing. Simple fear of the unknown keeps tween girls up at night worrying about when they’ll get their first period and if they’ll be prepared. Some girls don’t want to cross that bridge at all while others are worried that it’s not happening soon enough, especially if lots of her friends have already begun to menstruate. Just do your best to assure her that millions of girls have walked this road before her, and it won’t be as scary or problematic as she fears. Check out our guide to 5 Rites of Passage for Girls for advice on other big changes.

2. Dealing with mean girls.

Maybe it’s just that girls talk more about their social drama more than boys, but coaching a middle school girl on how to take care of herself around mean girls without becoming one herself is tricky. It’s the insecurity that every child feels at this age that brings out the worst in some and makes their victims all the more vulnerable to the slights and exclusion. Do your best to help her find a circle of friends that are low-drama, and listen closely when she’s describing the social skirmishes. These are extremely teachable moments that can be formative for her — helping her to decide what kind of person and friend she ultimately wants to be.

3. Body image issues.

Girls feel the pressure from our culture to look a certain way at a very early age. Even the prettiest girls suffer from some level of insecurity about their looks it seems. When a girl is going through rapid growth spurts and the changes in her shape that come with puberty, she may be happy with her appearance one day and tortured about it the next. Try to move the focus toward good health and away from simple looks, and assure your daughter that her body will continue to grow and change for quite some time. There’s no need to get too upset about how her jeans fit today when she’ll likely wear them very differently in six months.

4. Fashion dilemmas.

With boys, you have about five fashion choices: khakis or jeans, t-shirt or collared shirt, etc. With girls, the choices on the racks are infinite, and many of them are too racy, too tacky, or just too unflattering. Helping your daughter make the transition from little girl styles to the juniors department is like a mine field; helping her to figure out what looks best on her without stirring up a batch of the body image issues we just discussed takes some major diplomatic skill. One survival mechanism is to buy a couple of outfits you find appropriate and bring them home for her to try on. If she hates them or they don’t fit, you can return them. But if something works, you’ve made a purchase without the confusing overload of the mall.

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In The Comments

In what ways do you find girls harder to parent than boys?


  • Erin

    Thank you for this..good article.

  • workinmomma72

    All true but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. My girls definitely make life a lot more interesting. 🙂

  • jenny

    Mine are 6 and 3, and they are drama!!! Fun and crazy all the the time! I’ve got my third girl on the way! Oh my!

  • mommamoon

    I have four teenage daughters…17, twins 15 and 13. These are all things that we have dealt with and are still dealing with. There are many challenges and times when my heart has been broken by them and for them, but my love for my girls is greater and it’s totally worth it! Lots of prayer and encouragement from others is what has helped me the most. Us moms need to lift each other up!!

  • Love all these comments! So interesting to me because I am a split. I have 5 children–3 girls and 2 boys. One of my girls was harder to raise and one of my boys was harder to raise. They were harder for different reasons–personality, impulsiveness and more, but both more difficult than the other three. Lot’s plays into “harder”!

  • Laura Chapman

    I have 3 daughters, I’d say the toughest part is definitely the ‘dealing with mean girls’! Breaks my heart how cruel girls can be! Yet, it creates good lessons and teaching moments in keeping my girls sweet, inclusive, loving and welcoming to all!

  • Suzanne

    This is great information, and maybe there is a second part to this, explaining why parenting boys is “harder.” I just don’t understand why this information needs to be presented in the context of one gender being harder to parent than the other. There are so many challenges that come with raising boys, not the least of them being raising them to respect and appreciate women, and immune themselves from the sexualized imagery of women they are bombarded with every day. Disappointed that this has to be made into a competition.

    • Lila

      Suzanne – There IS a second part… check out the end of the third paragraph.

    • Sarah

      Oh, do relax. It’s not a competition. It’s a catchy title that Susan used to express empathy to the reader. She also wrote a companion article, “How Being a Boy Mom is Harder.”

  • Exasperated

    My ten year old daughter was pushed on the stairs at school. She lost her balance but she was able to withstand this ramming from the side by a male classmate. The same male classmate touched her and her friend inappropriately from behind when he was standing in the lunch line at school waiting to be dismissed. I am sure you can fill in the blanks about where and how she was touched. That was the last day at that school. Only one teacher, a fifth grade teacher she knew from the school store, asked her how she was doing. For the two fourth grade teacher, they never asked how she was doing. I asked one of the fourth grade teachers to turn in her library books on the day I withdrew her formally from that school. Ten days later, I receive a bill from the school for $30 for the library book the teacher has. More e-mails to all involved, he says he just returned it a few minutes ago. My daughter was blocked from going back to her desk by a girl on one side and a male student on the other side of her desk. She started to cry and a substitute teacher was in. We were blindsided by boys bullying girls. One of the students is one a football team which my daughter cheers for,…

    Every bit of this is true with no exaggerations……

    When I spoke privately to the school principal, I was withdrawing her because that touching was so close to sexual abuse I just had to state it. My daughter waited
    outside in the lobby while I spoke with her. The look on her face was outrage and shock. I am normally quiet but friendly. I do try to stay positive. I scared her saying that.

    The other student who was touched inappropriately still attends that school.

  • somegirl

    My daughter is 7, and she’s already picky about what she wears. I swear, she’s 7 going on 17…. not even kidding lol