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Does Your Teenage Daughter Have a Fear of Growing Up?

by | Jun 24, 2024 | Teenagers | 0 comments

In my life coaching sessions, teenage girls often express their fear of growing up: 

 

“I don’t think I’m ready to be an adult.”

“It feels like time is going so fast.” 

“What if I can’t find a good job?” 

“There’s just so much pressure to have everything figured out!” 

 

For many teens, the transition to adulthood is accompanied by a sense of worry and loss. They question their ability to take on responsibilities like paying bills, managing a family, and even having babies, and they worry that it’s all approaching so fast.  At the same time, they sense an expectation to have their future plans figured out right now.  These fears are often accompanied by a sense of grief at the loss of childhood.  

 

A lot of teens don’t want to admit their fear of growing up and worry about the future. Without opening up, they can start to feel alone and unsupported, even if they are surrounded by people who care. 

 

Of course, growing up is inevitable and if you want your teenage daughter to feel prepared and capable, it’s important to set the stage early.  Start allowing more freedom and responsibility while she is still under your roof.  Talk about how to make decisions: beginning with the end in mind and connecting with her values and desired outcomes.  Keep the lines of communication open so she can learn from her mistakes and further develop responsibility.  Use the following parenting practices to help your daughter process and reframe her fear of growing up.

 

Dig into the fear. 

Ask: What part of growing up is most scary? 

As she shares, help her see that she has time, support, and the power of choice. Encourage her to tap into her strengths and support system to overcome any fears.   For example, if she’s afraid she won’t be successful, talk about what success means to her.  Identify the strengths and wisdom she has that can help her achieve the success she describes.  Ask her what support she might need. And finally, talk about the small steps she can take that will move her toward her ultimate goals.  

 

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Build perspective. 

Ask: What’s good about being an adult? What are you looking forward to? 

It’s common for teens to get hyper focused on their fears and worries. Consequently, they lose sight of the positive aspects of adulthood and the opportunities they will have in this stage of their life.  Open ended questions will broaden her perspective and help her get in touch with feelings of excitement, hope, and optimism. 

 

Cultivate trust. 

Ask: How have you changed in the last year/few years? What do you now know that you didn’t know before? How can that wisdom help you in adult life? 

Trust is the opposite of fear and can develop when teens reflect on their wisdom and growth.  With support, your daughter can make connections between her past experiences and the new awareness, knowledge, and capabilities she’s developed as a result.  You can help her understand that past experiences have prepared her for what’s next.  This will help her develop trust in herself so she can release any worry about being “ready.” 

 

Encourage support.

Ask: What support will you need? Who can you turn to when you need help? 

Many teens feel that being an adult means doing everything on their own.  They worry that asking for help or depending on a support system may be deemed weak.  Encourage your teen to reframe that belief and see that asking for help is an act of strength.  Remind her that she doesn’t have to “adult” all alone. Talk about who is in her corner and how she can set herself up for success, with a supportive environment and community.  

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