As a mom of two boys and one girl, although strive to raise them all equally, the truth is boys and girls deal with completely different challenges through each stage of their lives. Imonni is about to turn 10 and in our home, we are no longer talking about baby dolls; our conversations include Fortnite, boys and kissing scenes on Netflix, to name a few. So this week I thought I would share with you 7 Common Issues Teen Girls Face and How to Help.
If any of you moms can think back far enough, you might remember how challenging it was to be a teen girl. There were so many things to think about. From dealing with bullies to coping with changes during puberty to planning ahead for the future, the teen years can be a struggle. The good news is that as a parent, you can do things to help your daughter navigate these common issues and be there as support when they need it the most.
Body image is how you feel about your body and how it looks. It’s important to be healthy and not judge yourself by your weight. Moms who constantly talk about their own body issues in front of their daughters are more likely to have daughters who do the same to themselves. It’s important to frame your body in positive ways so that your girls learn to love their own bodies no matter how big or small it is.
Teens are likely to start getting involved in romantic relationships. Teach your girls how to set healthy boundaries and how to identify red flags in relationships. Being pressured, manipulated, or forced into doing things that make them uncomfortable should be cause for concern. Make it clear that you won’t punish them when they come to you for advice and insight.
Stress is a leading cause of anxiety in young women, and the pressures that come with being a teen can be overwhelming. Stress can stem from school and work, as well as family or friends. The many responsibilities you have may cause you to feel overwhelmed, especially if they’re not balanced by enough downtime. You might also experience stress as a result of pressure to succeed in academics and extracurricular activities. While stress isn’t necessarily bad on its own, it’s important to teach teen girls how to manage their stress in healthy ways, including learning to say no when needed.
Academic and Career Planning
As your teen daughter continues to grow, she will begin to think about her future. Your support is crucial at this time in her life as she makes plans for college and her career. Help identify your daughter’s interests by asking open-ended questions like “What do you like to do?” and “Tell me about a fun activity.” You can also help by suggesting books that feature real women who have had exciting careers. Encourage your teen daughter to set goals so that she has a clear picture of where she wants her future education or career path to go.
To put it simply, peer pressure is the process by which people conform to the norms, values, and behaviors of their group. It can be positive or negative and often leads to a change in attitude or behavior. Some peer pressure may lead to substance abuse or unhealthy relationships. Young women should be taught how to identify behavior like this and how to form connections with people who will not force them to conform or be shunned. If your teen has already fallen prey to peer pressure and struggles with addiction, it’s important to get them the help they need. There is treatment for teen girls that can help them with drug or alcohol addiction as well as any underlying emotional mental health struggles they have.
Depression, Anxiety, and Other Mental Health Concerns
As a teen, it’s normal to feel sad, anxious, or frustrated from time to time. But if you’re feeling these emotions more often than not and they’re affecting your ability to function in your daily life, then you may have depression or another mental health concern. The same is true for anxiety—if you’re constantly worrying about things that don’t affect you or your life, chances are high that it’s something bigger than just having a rough day. Help your teen by paying attention to things like their motivation, sleep patterns, appetite changes, and behavioral changes that are out of the ordinary. It’s okay to get them help and treatment, and the sooner the better.
The term bullying can mean different things to different people, but the most common definition is repeated aggression or harassment by one or more individuals. Bullying may happen in person or online, and it can take many forms, including verbal abuse, emotional abuse, social exclusion, or physical aggression. While being called a name every once in a while is common, girls who are constantly verbally abused by peers may experience depression or anxiety that can become severe. Pay attention to what’s happening and take your daughter’s concerns seriously. If you remember what it was like being a teen, you’ll know that some of these bullies can be relentless.