Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Building Resiliency in Female Adolescents

by Dyan Eybergen RN, ACPI

Adolescence is a time of extreme negotiation and friendships among teenage girls is probably at the crux. Female adolescents often have a difficult time finding a self identity in which they are comfortable with and get caught up in the concerns of how they feel other people see them. While navigating the often torrential adolescent plain it is imperative parents remain a supportive influence keeping the balance of their daughter’s self esteem in check. 
Here are some sure ways to help your daughter’s reach self actualization: 

1.   Ask them important questions that will help in assessing their own feelings, ‘How do you feel when you’re in the presence of those people? Does hanging around with that group make you feel good about yourself as a person, or are you always striving to be someone else? Are you always striving to please that group?’ When children identify feelings for themselves they are more apt to make choices that render good feelings than bad.

2.   Positive self-talk is one of the skills that parents can also help foster. Parents can encourage their children to self-reflect and practice positive affirmations. Parents often will default to saying things like: ‘I am so proud of you’, or ‘You did such a fabulous job,’ so often it’s more important to say to the child, ‘How do you feel about that? You should be so pleased with yourself. How do you think you did in that situation?’ Getting them to self-reflect and self-assess provides them the opportunity to accurately measure their own efforts. 

3.    If a child is being teased or ostracized because of an activity or hobby they enjoy that is deemed “not cool” by their peers in school, a class or club outside of school can be an excellent way to find friends with the same interest. The more support they have from family and like-minded friends, the more they’re buffered against any insults. People who engage in what they are passionate about is a resiliency skill in itself. 

4.   Create a compliment jar! Ask them to remember any time anyone has ever given them a compliment, write it down, and put it in the jar. Parents can contribute as well adding any compliments they’ve received about their daughter. When they are really feeling bad about themselves and labeling themselves, ‘I’m a loser, nobody wants to hang out with me’, or whatever, – get them to go to their compliment jar. Sometimes just seeing it in black and white and reflecting on when someone has said something kind or nice about them can be really helpful to boost that self-esteem.





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