Teenage girls go through a lot of shit. Don’t you remember? Their bodies are developing and changing. Their hormones are on high alert 24/7. They are a child-adult hybrid. The in between is a difficult and confusing time…for you and your daughter. Image becomes important like never before, as they grow acutely aware of how they look, dress, and smell. Teenage girls desperately want to fit in. Any differences between her and her classmates will put her on a list that might as well be “I have the plague”.
You can help your daughter to gain confidence as she matures into a young woman. Make this transition as easy for her as possible. Build her confidence and pride in who she is now. And encourage the woman she will become.
Identify Her Anxieties
All teenagers go through periods where they get embarrassed easily. And, yes, you will be a primary source of this embarrassment! Your daughter is filled with complex emotions that don’t always make sense to you and other adults. If you believe she is suffering from low self-esteem, try to identify the cause. Is she being bullied? Is there a boyfriend/girlfriend on the scene? Is she overweight or underweight? Does she have acne? Is she struggling in school? You can expect your daughter to feel overly critical of herself and her performance in general. She is a teenager, after all. Your awareness of what is normal and what is not is crucial at this time in her life. If you think she may need professional help such as a counselor, mentor, or tutor, don’t hesitate to seek it out.
Encourage Her Hobbies
What does your daughter enjoy doing? Help her to focus on one or two things that she’s especially good at. These may be creative, athletic, or academic in nature . Involve the entire family in your daughter’s interests. Give her a platform to shine, where she feels special and appreciated. Confidence will increase as she applies her gifts and talents and gets attention for them. Also, allow her the freedom to choose her own interests. Just because you like something, doesn’t mean she does. Let her find her own stimuli and watch her confidence grow.
Guide Her Diet
Young girls are confronted by unrealistic body images of celebrities on a daily basis. Exposure to media role models causes girls to obsess about their weight and beauty, and even doubt their own self worth. Emphasize to your daughter the importance of being healthy, figuring out their ideal weight, and how to eat and hydrate properly. Though your teen will develop her own ideas about what kinds of foods she likes and will eat, she still learns from examples. Teach her by living a healthful lifestyle. Involve her in the weekly shopping and daily cooking. Let her see you plan and make better food choices. Educate her about the importance of eating well for health and well-being. This training will stay with her for the rest of her life.
Get Her Active
Does your daughter sit for hours watching TV or playing computer games? Or lay in bed until lunchtime? Teenagers can be notoriously idle if they are not involved in organized sports or activities that they enjoy. Encourage your daughter to get active by, again, showing her an example of physical fitness. Arrange family walks and outdoor activities she can participate in. Book active holidays, such as a skiing or a hiking trip. Research local sports clubs and gyms to see if they offer classes, team sports, or fitness training. Encourage her to ride her bike or walk to school or local places of interest. Make exercise fun; she’s more likely to participate if she views it this way.
Look After Her Skin
Your daughter’s skin may be bearing the brunt of raging teenage hormones! Blemishes are a common side-effect of adolescence, but, fortunately, she should grow out of it shortly. A few zits here and there are par for the course, but acne is another matter entirely. Acne can leave scars that last a lifetime. Unsightly red spots are a confidence deflating condition for girls and boys alike. Prolonged outbreaks will erase her confidence and make her uncomfortable with her appearance. There are lots of skin care products on the market. However, comedogenic oils can aggravate the condition further. Find out which skincare products contain this reactive ingredient and avoid them at all costs. Seek professional advice to tackle aggressive acne.
It’s a challenge for moms to keep up with the latest trends. Buy fashion magazines to stay up on the trends that she is trying to mimic. Take her shopping and let her show you what she likes. Learn to compromise! Her taste may not match your own. Give her the freedom to express herself through her dress. Image is all-important for teenage girls. Don’t be too ridged about her dress. Let her find her way.
Talk to Her Everyday
Always, always keep the lines of communication with your daughter wide open. She may be reluctant to share something or be hiding something that is causing her anxiety. Unhappiness. Worry. Stress. A sudden loss of confidence may have a secret at the core. The closer you are, the more likely she is to open up to you. Gentleness and active listening is the best place to start if you really want to know what’s going on with her. She just may need to know you are there and hear you say that everything will be OK. And, also, don’t be overly anxious to solve her problems or “fix” things. Just hear her. She will ask for help when she needs it.
Encourage A Positive Mental Attitude
Increase your daughter’s confidence by praising her when she does well no matter how small the achievement. Your pride and acceptance of her just the way she is makes her feel proud of herself. Never compare her to a sibling or friend. She is her own person. And she has her own goals and dreams. Self love and acceptance is also something that kids learn by example. If you are always going around saying “I’m fat” or “I’m so stupid”, she will follow your example. Understand what is important to her. It should be important to you, too.
Give Her Some Control
As a parent, it’s only natural you want to protect your daughter. But you can’t shield her from everything life throws at her. Give her some control over her own decisions, as you see fit and according to how mature she is. Set clear boundaries while providing room for her to grow. Treat her like a young adult and she’ll behave like one. Give her some chores and responsibilities. Make her accountable for tidying her room or taking the dog out for a walk. When she complies, compliment her achievement and reward her. Life is hard. Bad decisions and disappointments are all part of growing up. Allow her to make mistakes, so she can learn from them.
The teenage years are a challenging time for moms and teens alike. Re-connect with your daughter and be there for her when she needs you. As a parent, that’s all you can do.