Teenage is the most exciting part of one’s life. It comes with the gift of optimism, passion, fun, excitement, and experience of many colors. It was the best moment of my life, and I want my daughter to make the most of her teenage life, too, by allowing her to experience new good things.
With every amazing thing, there will always be surprises and challenges that come with it. Teenage years are also a time where kids experience confusion and changes that may affect their self-esteem.
My teenybopper faced the dilemmas brought by appearance, peer pressure, and menstruation which are very common among teenage girls. If you got a teenager who experienced the same, try the tips below which I find helpful in helping my teenager get over these problems and help her become a responsible, secure, and happy little lady.
- The Looks. The problem with physical appearance tops the list my teenager became very anxious about. Body changes brought by puberty affect the way she perceives herself, plus the pressure brought by social media where girls are showing off their almost perfect skin and figure-perfect bodies.
When your girl experiences the same, make sure that she develops healthy eating and sleep habits. A teenager can easily gain additional pounds from pigging on unhealthy fast foods and sweets. Tell her that beautiful looks are temporary and will fade with time. A fascinating character is far more important. Help boost her self-confidence by investing in your daughter’s skin especially by the time she starts to have pimples and acne.
“Social media, television, and magazines are selling our daughters a distorted view of women. Take time to help your daughter think critically about the unrealistic images they’re presented of models and movie stars,” said Marika Lindholm, PhD.
- Studies. Education is essential and so is getting high marks, but if achieving so is putting too much pressure and causing depression on your teenager, this is not going to be healthy for her.
Assure her that you love her even if she is not at the top of her class. As long as she does her best in studying well and scoring good marks that is enough for you to be proud of her. Not hitting the highest mark does not make her less talented girl or uneducated.
Encourage her to involve herself in other school activities that she finds interesting. It will lessen pressure, and it could be a way of refocusing her energy on things she enjoys.
- Crushes. It is normal for a kid to admire someone of the opposite sex. You just have to watch out for peer pressures when it comes to dating and being in a relationship. When she opens up to you on this matter, be open-minded and educate her well. Let her see that it is okay for you that she is dating but be firm with the limitation especially when it comes to sex. Make it sound interesting when discussing with her the possible consequences of teenage sex so she will listen. It would even be helpful to introduce to her how to be safe and some precautionary measures because you will never know how much control she or the guy has.
“A hard part of crushes is when they are not returned, as is often the case,” said Carl E. Pickhardt, PhD. “This is why parents need to pay attention to the crush relationship, not just discount it and look the other way.”
- Peer Pressure. Teenagers are in quest of friendship. Sometimes, peer pressure pushes them to act in a certain way just to feel a sense of belongingness. It may eventually lead them to misbehave even if they really do not want to. Some who gives in to peer pressure ends up seeing themselves doing vices, trying smoking, drinking, and using illicit substances.
You can prevent this from happening by speaking to your daughter clearly about peer pressure and how it could ruin her. Make it clear to her that there is beauty in being unique, that she does not need to be somebody else or someone who is not herself just to be accepted or get approval.
- Bullying. Dealing with bullies in school and even on social media is one of the issues that bother our teenagers a lot. A teenager who experienced harassment can affect her behavior, self-esteem, and may result in depression.
Teach your daughter early on how to deal with bullies and what she can do in these situations. Build her confidence in facing and standing up against bullies by letting her know that she is not the only one who met such a challenge.
- Menstrual Cycle. This phase of teenage years can be confusing, and she may have a lot of questions about it. Be sure to be there to clear her doubts and answer her queries. Educate her that it is something that naturally happens to every girl. Educate her on how to use pads and tampons and the importance of always having in her bag extra undies and napkins. Raise her awareness of some premenstrual symptoms like cramps, headaches, others even experience slight fever and have her keep medicines with her at all times in the case. Train her how to track her monthly period for health reasons.
- Depression. Peer pressure, menstruation, crushes, studies, and appearance can all cause your daughter to suffer from depression. When she feels like she is failing you because she did not meet up to your expectations can also be stressing to her. There are many incidents of teenage suicide brought by depression and stress.
Be aware of signs of depression in your daughter. Make sure she is happy, active, and preoccupied with activities she enjoys.
To be sure that you are up-to-date with what is happening in your teenager’s life, always keep open communication. Do not overreact to specific issues that seem shocking to you, and learn how to deal with them calmly.
“As a parent and psychologist, my natural tendency is to want to make things better, to fix it, to give teens positive feedback they need to feel better. But, in doing so, am I really helping at all? Sometimes, well, a lot of the times, the answer is no,” said Liz Matheis, PhD.
Above are just some of the problems I experienced raising a teenager. There are more challenges to parenting a teenager, challenges that can make or break them. Be sure to be there to support them in this journey that they should be enjoying. But if the problem is too overwhelming for you to handle, especially when it is threatening your teenager’s well-being, you can always seek professional help who is in a better position to address the issue.