A young girl has several challenges to face, including the time when her body is growing and developing. As a parent you may struggle watching your daughter criticize her self image and compare herself to her friends. As a young girl grows and develops she will come into new emotions that lead to depression and anger if they are not properly understood. If your daughter matures quickly from the rest of her friends, she may feel awkward and become shy and reclusive. The same goes for the young girl who tends to be the “late bloomer”.
The best thing you can do for your teenage daughter is provide her with a trustworthy role model. Young girls need a mentor who will not judge them or condemn them. As a parent you can point them to a close friend, grandmother, sister, or aunt who can be this person. The reason for providing your daughter with a mentor is simply to help her talk about the dangers she is facing. Quite often young girls will not talk to their parents about some of the dangers they face.
Here are some common problems that have been noticed among teenage girls. “My mother doesn’t care about me”. Unfortunately many teenage girls will go through a time when their mother-daughter relationship is challenged. If you are busy with other activities and you don’t take the time to listen to your daughter, you may have this struggle. Young girls need emotional support from their mothers; this support is critical as they grow and develop and face daily challenges.
Unfortunately, twenty nine percent of young girls suffer from depression and have thoughts of suicide. The suicide rate is highest among teen age girls and elderly people. Girls suffer from depression more than boys do. During this time in their life they are exposed to new hormones and a changing body that they do not understand. As a parent you need to be there for them, listen to them and recognize the symptoms of depression.
Another challenge teenage girls face is abuse. Sadly studies have shown that thirty two percent of girls have been physically or sexually abused by their father, relative, husband or boyfriend. Most abuse cases occur within the walls of your own home and the abuse generally occurs more than once. The young girls are left with feelings of shame, self-hatred, and guilt after the abuse occurs.
There are other challenges that teenage girls face like smoking, drinking, and sex. All of the above problems are usually hidden from the parents and your daughter will not talk to you about them. This is why providing your daughter with a mentor is so important. She should feel comfortable when talking to the mentor about these problems. The mentor should be understanding and able to help her with her feelings of self doubt, fear, shame, guilt, embarrassment, and self hatred. While many parents feel having a mentor for their daughter to confide in loses their credibility in their child’s eyes, it will benefit the child.
Your daughter will still look up to you if you are setting a proper example. The mentor is simply an extra “arm” to help her through the troubling times that she won’t discuss with you.
As a parent it is important for you to be patient with your teenage daughter. It takes girls a long time to open up to their parents about their struggles. Many times they do not want advice from their parents; they simply want to “vent” their issues to someone else. Encourage your daughter to use her talents. If you notice she is struggling in school, make some extra time to sit down with her and help her with her homework. Building your daughter’s self esteem is one of the best things you can do to help her during this challenging time in her life.