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Helping Teenage Girls be True to Themselves  

by | Jun 27, 2024 | Parenting, Teenagers | 0 comments

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”  ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Pressures from school, peers, and social media make it extremely challenging for girls to stay true to themselves. At school, teenage girls receive the message that in order to be successful, they need to be high-achieving and self-directed. Peers can send mixed messages ranging from “we like you as you are” to “don’t be too different” to “you’re trying too hard.”  Social media adds to the challenge.   Platforms like Instagram and TikTok send girls constant messages about what they should want and who they should strive to be.  Adding to that, teenage girls are in a natural stage of self-discovery, asking themselves Who am I? What’s important to me? And, Who do ‘they’ want me to be?   

 

In the search for their individuality, teenage girls can end up confused, and fearful.  Fear can drive girls away from connecting with their true selves. 

 

  • Fear of not being successful.
  • Fear of not being liked.
  • Fear of not fitting in.
  • Fear of being judged.

 

In my teen and young adult life coaching sessions, I challenge my clients to confront these fears and understand what it means to be true to be authentic.  It starts with self-awareness: getting to know their strengths, values, passions, and limitations.   They learn the importance of embracing their individuality so they can live life according to their core values and personal goals, rather than those proposed by friends or propagated by social media influencers.  They learn how to reframe their fears and step into confidence so their true self can shine.  Before long, they realize that when they are true to themselves, they experience stronger, more authentic connections with others. Instead of seeing their differences as awkward or strange, they understand how their unique values, talents, and interests can actually help them stay strong in a world that often tries to mold them into something they are not.  

 

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Here are a few tips for how you can help your daughter step into her true self and shine! 

 

  • Encourage her to be true to herself and support her in exploring new things, whether it’s a new sport or a new fashion trend. 
  • Honor her thoughts and feelings. When your daughter shares what she thinks, validate it and thank her for sharing.  
  • Celebrate what makes her stand out.  Offer your respect and admiration for her inner qualities and unique talents. 
  • Talk about people-pleasing to be kind and people-pleasing to be liked.  Help your daughter understand the differences between being a genuinely kind and thoughtful person versus doing things for someone in hopes of gaining their approval. 
  • For creative girls, create a Just Like Me Jar, using a mason jar and different colored glitter. First, share what you like and appreciate most about each other, then what you like and appreciate most about yourself.  Choose a shade of glitter to represent each personal strength, value, or talent. As you add each shade of glitter to the jar, express gratitude!  Add water to the jar so the glittery colors mix and create a beautiful representation of Self.  The jar becomes a concrete representation of their qualities and serves as a sparkly reminder to always shine! 

 

Keep the conversation going.  Adolescence is a time of great growth and change. Constantly calibrate to meet your daughter where she is and acknowledge the person she is becoming.  Be intentional about encouraging her to be authentic and led by her deepest values and goals. 

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