Posted: 14 February 2019
In this digital age, teenagers are struggling with more issues than ever before. Cyberbullying, for instance, affects more than half of teens and young people. Another problem is social media, which sets unrealistic standards of beauty.
Considering these facts, it’s no wonder why so many teens suffer from eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Some reach for drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their feelings. Others quit school, run away from home, or end up making a series of bad choices that have lifelong consequences.
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure your teen girl trusts herself and has a healthy attitude toward food, exercise, relationships, and life in general. Be prepared to listen to her, understand what she needs, and help her get through these difficult years.
Not sure where to start? Here are some handy tips for parenting a teen girl!
Instill Self-Love in Your Child
About 80 percent of American women are unhappy with their physical appearance. The same goes for up to 78 percent of teen girls. In fact, it’s estimated that 40 to 70 percent of middle school girls dislike one or more parts of their bodies.
Teens are easily influenced by the images promoted in the media. If someone makes a rude remark about their weight or overall appearance, they may begin to starve themselves or take diet pills.
Bullying and eating disorders go hand in hand. That’s why it’s important that you instill self-love in your child. Keep telling her that she’s beautiful just the way she is.
Talk Less and Listen More
Does your teen girl refuse to do what you ask? Is she constantly crying, screaming, or slamming doors? Perhaps she’s sneaking out of the house or engaging in risky behaviors.
Like it or not, these issues are common among adolescents. Most times, they’re a normal part of teenage growth and development. The best thing you can do is to identify the underlying cause of your child’s behavior, whether it’s low self-esteem, bullying, or a broken heart.
Talk with your daughter and listen to what she has to say. Keep an open mind and refrain from making assumptions or judging her. Just because she’s dating a boy, it doesn’t mean they’re intimate, for example. Or if they are, make sure you don’t judge her or make her feel ashamed.
Sure, you don’t have to agree with everything, but give her a chance to talk and explain her behavior. Remain calm and let her know that you’re there to help in case she ever needs it.
Make your expectations clear to all family members, including your teen girl. Set rules that align with your values.
For example, if you want your daughter to get good grades in school, let her know that she can dye her hair or go out on Friday evenings as long as her grades are in the A/B range.
Consider telling your child that you expect her to be responsible, act respectfully, and ask for permission before going out. If you want her to be home early, let her know that the doors will close after 10 PM, for instance.
Be Smart About Parenting a Teen
Few things are more stressful and challenging than parenting a teen. Try to keep things simple and pick your battles. You may not be able to stop your daughter from dying her hair, but you can ban alcohol and cigarettes in your household.
If you ever make a mistake, apologize and admit that you were wrong. Respect your child’s boundaries and grant some privacy. Don’t always expect the worst.
One way to bond with your teen girl is to plan family movie nights once a week or so. Check out our guide on how to do it on a budget!