Today I want to discuss the top three conversations I believe every parent of a teen daughter needs to have to prepare her for a successful and stress-free new school year.
Obviously, after the year and a half of virtual/hybrid learning students have endured, there are countless conversations you can and should have with your daughter to make sure she’s adjusting well. (The more the merrier if you ask me).
But these are three that routinely come up with girls in the classroom, that I think would have a far greater impact on your daughter if initiated by you at home.
“I expect you to do your best, not be ‘the best.'”
One of the complaints I continue to hear from teen girls, particularly 8th graders, is that they’re under constant pressure to be perfect.
Whether it’s with their grades, sports, or the people they’re dating or friends, many girls today are overwhelmed by the pressure to perform.
It must feel like a full-time job trying to earn the approval of teachers, coaches, significant others, and parents.
I’ll be the first to admit that I spend a lot of time talking to teens about having a vision and goals for their lives and taking their education seriously.
And I believe it’s important to encourage young people to raise their standards and not settle for mediocrity.
However, I’m afraid in our zeal to challenge them to pursue excellence, there are times when we pressure them to chase perfection instead.
And that’s not fair. It’s stressful!
As parents and concerned adults, our job is to help teens shoulder their burdens. Not add to them.
With all that your daughter will have on her plate this school year, let home be the one place where she doesn’t experience stress. She needs you to be her safe place.
“Your teen years are only the first leg of your journey. Not the entire race.”
I’ve spoken before about teen brain development and how the brain is not fully developed until the early to mid-twenties. This impacts teens’ decision-making when it comes to knowing right from wrong.
It also limits their ability to see the big picture. As a result, teens tend to view their life at this stage as the total sum of their experience rather than the tiny fraction it really is.
Your daughter needs help seeing the temporary nature of this period of her life. Encourage her not to take situations that come up now too seriously, like disagreements with friends or even break-ups.
Remind her that the person she’s currently dating or whomever she dates as a teen will likely become her future ex. And that’s okay!
And finally, share with your daughter why it’s important that she not make decisions to please or impress other people. The likelihood of her remaining friends with them or still dating them five to ten years from now is slim.
Not to mention, those aren’t healthy relationships worthy of her time and energy anyway.
“You are so much more than your looks!”
There’s nothing new about teen girls feeling insecure about how they look. Or feeling pressure to dress a certain way.
But what is new is social media.
While many of us dealt with body image insecurities as teens, we weren’t comparing ourselves to other girls we didn’t even know. Or to photoshopped celebrities or influencers.
And that’s what you need to point out to your daughter.
Let her know that her favorite personalities whose beauty she admires and/or seeks to imitate, don’t even look like the pictures they’re posting on social media. They had help!
It breaks my heart that as a society we have gone backwards with this issue of body image insecurity. And I whole-heartedly believe social media is to blame.
Just look at our obsession with taking and posting selfies, and using filters to perfect our pics. What are we teaching our girls??
It’s no wonder so many of them have low self-esteem. And a girl with low self-esteem can be spotted a mile away by the type of guy I refer to as the “Player” in my book 7 Secrets Guys Will Never Tell You.
He’s the guy who preys on girls with low self-esteem due to poor body image. And he knows that all he needs to do is build her up by complimenting her looks. Then he has her hooked.
Don’t believe me?
“The first guy that ever made me feel pretty ended up being the guy I lost my virginity to. I was 15, and even worse, he was my best friend’s boyfriend. I had 4 more sexual partners, and then I found out that I had Chlamydia. Thank goodness it was curable.” ~High School Girl
This is not the road you want your daughter to follow. This school year or ever! So be purposeful in pointing out ALL the ways your daughter is more than her looks.
The more time you spend building up her self-esteem, the less likely some “Player” will swoop in and do it for you.
What are some other conversations you’ve already had with your daughter to help prepare her for this new school year?
Please share by replying to this email. I would love to hear the highlights.
And if you’d like more tips to help empower your daughter to tune out the Players at her school, go here to grab her copy of 7 Secrets Guys Will Never Tell You: A Teen Girl’s Guide on Love, Sex & Relationships.
P.S. Don’t allow all the talk about the pandemic overshadow the need to have these three conversations with your daughter. While so much of the #Back2School focus this year is on taking precautions for her physical safety, her emotional and social well-being are just as important and deserving of equal consideration. Making my book, 7 Secrets Guys Will Never Tell You, as relevant and resourceful for teen girls today as it was pre-pandemic. If you haven’t already ordered your daughter a copy, now’s a great time!
P.P.S. Please share this post with your friends and family who have teen daughters returning #Back2School.