In the six years since Stranger Things premiered on Netflix, fans have watched the kids from Hawkins grow from children to fully-fledged high school students. And while Vecna, the Mind Flayer, and other monsters on the series are thankfully just products of the Duffer Brothers’ imagination, the girls on the show seem so real. Here are five amazing truths the show teaches us not just about girls in the 1980s, but about today’s girls too.
Friendships aren’t just for fun.
Friendships on Stranger Things aren’t a sidenote—they’re at the core of the story. In fact, knowing she has her friends’ love and support literally saves Max’s life. And in today’s world, where roughly one in four girls aged 13–18 suffer from anxiety and suicide among teen girls has risen by 50 percent, there’s no doubt that strong friendships are vital in girls’ lives and should be prioritized. Get to know your girls’ besties and do what you can to help her see them in person when possible. Consider letting her host a movie night at your house once a week or signing her up for an after-school group with other kids her age. Forever friendship can help your girl grow stronger, have more confidence, and be more resilient through her life.
Even the strongest girls need to recharge.
If being strong and resilient eventually takes its toll on Eleven, a girl with superhuman powers—imagine how worn out an average girl might feel navigating today’s high-pressure world. That’s why it’s important to check in with your girl and teach her that no one can be at the top of their game all the time. Making sure she has time to rest, recharge, and even get goofy with her friends can give her a bit of space to breathe and help her stay healthy both physically and mentally.
There’s more going on than meets the eye.
When her friends are in danger, Nancy is the first one to (literally) dive in and help—no matter how dire the situation. Some might mistake her courage for fearlessness, but that’s only because Nancy does a good job of hiding her deep worries and fears from those closest to her. Many girls feel the pressure to be perfect and resist sharing what they think of as “bad” feelings or thoughts with others. Bottling up sadness, anxieties, or fears is unhealthy and almost always makes things worse. Discussing your own disappointments, setbacks, and losses with your girl can teach her that these feelings are a normal part of life, and that talking them through can help.
They're not all boy crazy.
In season three, Steve gets a surprise when he realizes his latest crush (and Scoops Ahoy coworker), Robin, isn’t just not into him … she’s not into guys at all. This revelation actually brings them closer as friends, making them one of the most beloved duos of the series. As of 2019, nearly 12 percent of high school kids identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community—and studies show that nearly half of LGBTQ youth considered suicide in 2021. LGBTQ+ kids need more of the kind of unconditional love and support Robin gets from her friends on the show.
Never underestimate them.
Erica may get less screen time than the other Stranger Things kids, but she doesn’t need much to make a huge impact. Time and time again, Lucas’s little sister proves that she can both love My Little Pony and be a boss. From reminding the others they’d be lost without her to declaring “You can’t spell America without Erica,” her swagger and confidence are plainly inspiring. Help your girl know her worth by reminding her of her strengths and celebrating all the ways in which she shines.
Girls are feeling anxious and suicide rates are climbing. How you can help.