The eager desire to balance between conferring enough freedom and maintaining an assertive hold on teenage daughters has led to countless unwanted conflicts and heartaches in most households.
Guiding a girl through her adolescent years is undisputedly a daunting and challenging task for any parents out there.
The eager desire to balance conferring enough freedom and maintaining an assertive hold on teenage daughters has led to countless unwanted conflicts and heartaches in most households.
The common misconception among parents of children soon embarking on their adolescence and/or aspiring parents is that boys are way more of a handful than girls are.
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While it is noteworthy that boys are prone to problems such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) etc., teenage girls are by no means easy to raise. According to psychologist and author Steve Biddulph : “One in five [teenage girls] will experience a serious psychological disorder before reaching adulthood. They are a lot more anxious, they are more likely to self-harm, they are more prone to bullying, they are binge drinking and they are more likely to be at risk of promiscuous sexual behaviour. Girls are more stressed and depressed than they’ve ever been before.”
By now, suffice to say that many parents are scratching their head in despair, not knowing what is the appropriate approach.
Want to do it right?
The following points can provide a useful framework on how to tackle the prospective challenges.
#1 Practical Realisation
During teenage years, girls may develop a false sense of superiority and become overly prideful. This makes even the most minor disagreement between parents and daughters a catalyst for a full-blown argument.
The correct approach is to tackle signs of over-confidence and egotistical traits once they show. Always make sure that your teenage daughter knows her capabilities and set realistic expectations. At the same time, it is pertinent to prevent prideful displays such as thinking that she can achieve something which is obviously beyond her abilities.
However, just as important as it is to make sure that your adolescent daughter remains realistic, a right amount of confidence should be instilled in her. Create an environment where she is not afraid of making mistakes. Encouragement is the key to this. Only through constant encouragement and realistic assessment can your teenage daughter tide through her teens in the most healthy and conducive manner possible.
Once again, it is all about striking the right balance!
#2 Paying Attention
Paying the right amount of attention is an important puzzle piece in raising teenage girls.
Most parents commit the mistake of failing to be silent and listening. This will lead to teenage daughters not being able to find an avenue to vent their frustration.
This tends to be counter-productive as teenage daughters will refuse to communicate with their parents. The consequences of this are serious. Parents will be ignorant of the problems that their teenage girls are facing.
There is no way parents can remedy a problem that they are not even aware of. Of course, paying excessive attention is unwarranted too as it may cause teenage daughters to become overly self-centred individuals.
To be brutally honest, there is no fixed formula for this. Neither is it rocket science! It is simply about understanding your teenage daughter and making sure that due attention is given at the most appropriate moments.
#3 Be Sensitive
Teenage girls are very socially aware. This is certainly not a discovery. In fact, it can be said to be common knowledge.
According to psychologist, Steve Biddulph,“Young girls are socially very aware, very finely tuned to the cues in the world around them, and it’s been easy for advertisers and marketing people to make them feel anxious or unsure about themselves”. Teenage girls will go through a stage whereby there are doubtful about their physical appearance. This may lead to problems as serious as depression and anxiety issues.
Parents should be constantly on the look-out for signs of that and make sure that their teenage daughters are not obsessively affected by superficial factors. Parents should make it a point to instil the mindset that ‘looks are not everything’ in their daughters. On top of that, they should be able to comfortably talk about drastic physical changes during their daughter’s adolescent stage.
Mutual trust and honesty has been and will always be an essential part of a healthy upbringing.
#4 Build Resilience
Parents always have an overwhelming urge to protect their teenage daughters from the slightest harm. However, one important tip is to let loose of the parental grip when appropriate to build a sufficient amount of resilience. Allow your teenage girls to learn from their experiences and develop their independent thinking.
It is important for parents to always know what is going on in their teenage daughters’ lives. However, it is just as pertinent to allow their teenage girls to live through those hardships. Only when it is too much to handle, should parents interfere accordingly.
One last note…
Every teenage girl is different from another.
It is about understanding the unique characteristics of your own teenage daughter. It takes time and patience. Obstacles and conflicts are inevitable. It is a learning process and just like everything else, it gets better with effort and time.
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