"For me, Rosh Hodesh is about being with girls with the same values that I can trust and hang out with, no pressure.”
- 14-year-old participant
Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!
is the first Jewish program to pro-actively address two well-documented trends:
- many girls drop out of Jewish programming after bat mitzvah
- girls’ self-esteem plummets as they enter adolescence.
draws on Jewish teachings and traditions to keep girls healthy and whole—despite the aspects of popular culture that encourage risky behaviors:
What You Can Do
- 30% of 9-year-old girls are afraid of being fat
- almost 5% of young women have eating disorders
- close to 20% of 9th grade girls—and 51% of 12th grade girls—are sexually active
- 23% of 9th grade girls binge drink
- almost 25% of sexually active 9th-grade girls had used alcohol or drugs during their last sexual intercourse.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently warned that ads contribute to children’s obesity, cigarette and alcohol use.
Their advice: teach children to become critical media consumers, as we do in Rosh Hodesh
Make opportunities for conversation—watch TV and listen to music with your daughter (and son!). Ask questions, encourage critical thinking—and yet when appropriate be sure to respect and even celebrate their taste.
Here’s how to explode the stereotypes aimed at girls and rethink what it means to feel good:
- Identify negative stereotypes of girls (such as overly sweet or thin) on television programs, movies, and in ads.
- Offer alternative ideals (such as curious or athletic) and engage your daughter in related activities she enjoys. For example, go for a hike in nature as well as a walk in the mall.
- Show your daughter that people are complex. The media often portray characters as one-dimensional “good or bad,” “hot or not.” Reveal different sides of yourself and help your daughter see others as multi-dimensional.
- Your kids need your opinions and want them. Even if they seem to shrug you off, they are listening and they need your perspective. Of course, you'll want to be respectful: asking questions is more effective than preaching!