Mama, your little princess is slowly turning into a young woman! Shaken up by hormonal changes and peer pressure, one day your teenage girl is a Goth queen burning fluffy unicorns, and the next she is all in pink and glitter gossiping on the phone.
It's not a secret that puberty marks the end of childhood. While juggling school life, parties, and family responsibilities, adolescents are learning to establish their own identity. Due to social pressure and gender-based stereotypes, though, some girls might lose their self-esteem. Is it in their messy bags? Or under their oily skin? Maybe it's in between the sanitary pads!
Well, moms can help. Although fathers play a crucial role in child development, there are some things only moms can teach their kids. Cooking, knitting, cleaning... Wait! While household chores can help children build a sense of accomplishment, we are talking about boss lessons any young woman needs to master. And although people tend to criticize women for being bossy, it’s time to teach our girls that being a strong and independent woman has nothing to do with being bossy.
So, here are 20 boss lessons all moms need to be teaching their teenage girls. It’s time to rock puberty like a boss, girl!
20 Puberty: Every Woman Is Unique
Aww, puberty! Pimples, body hair, and hormones – so many physical and emotional changes will happen when puberty begins. Mama, you should help your teenage girl embrace all those changes and fall in love with the young woman she's becoming!
Most of all, girls should stop comparing their bodies. They should understand that every person is unique. For some girls, puberty can start at 8, for others at 14. It’s interesting to mention that girls today are going through puberty earlier than ever, which accelerates the occurrence of menarche (the first menstruation).
19 Women’s Rights: Your Voice Matters
We teach girls to be kind, polite, and sweet. In fact, research in the field of language and gender has revealed that women tend to use softer and subtler ways to express themselves. The evolutionary history of language explains this weird phenomenon with the fact that, still, in some societies women are still expected to listen to the man in the house.
Therefore, mama, you have to teach your teen girl that women's voices matter. From Rosa Park to Susan B. Anthony, women fought throughout the centuries to help girls today – and all of us - express their dreams, opinions, and human rights.
18 Equality: Men Vs Women… No! Men And Women
Gender labeling occurs already in the womb. While there’s a whole spectrum of colors, parents choose either pink or blue. We teach girls to help Mom and boys to watch football with Dad. Girls play with Barbie dolls, boys play with robots. It’s like men and women are different species who can’t play and interact together.
Therefore, all mothers have the tough task to teach their teens that gender is just a social construct. Apart from the obvious biological differences, women and men are equal, and it’s people’s upbringing that adds fuel to the fire.
17 Education: Education Is Bitter But The Fruit Is Sweet
In a world where many girls have no access to education, teaching kids to love learning is vital. Data shows that 28 million girls have no access to education. While it’s true that girls and boys learn differently, teachers and parents should encourage kids to focus on their dreams instead of their grades. Bridging the gender gap in STEM, in particular, becomes crucial.
Yet, many people believe that men are smarter and undervalue the fact that girls outperform boys. As Microsoft engineer Sheehan said, "I used to go to her schools, for the parent-for-the-day activities, and I remember math teachers praising the boys."
16 Relationships: Learn To Fall In Love
Hormones, social pressure, and body changes in one - falling in love during puberty is like a ticking bomb. Although not many relationships last after high school, a girl’s first love is magical and tragic all at the same time. Therefore, mama, teach your teen daughter to love herself first. When a person loves their body and soul, they can share this love with the rest of the world and overcome their broken heart.
Interestingly, dads play a crucial role. Psychologists reveal that girls get cues from the male figures in their childhood. So, dad, even if you’re divorced or solo, now it's your turn - tell your teen daughter how much you love her.
15 Confidence: Girl Power
Social pressure and gender roles influence our lives… and crush our hopes. Girls are programmed to believe that becoming a pilot is just a dream. In fact, psychologists reveal that kids start to comply with gender roles before 30 months and form gender-based prejudices already in kindergarten. Many girls lose confidence in their abilities in school and convince themselves that, as I overheard recently, "Boys always win."
Mothers have to teach their teens that gender is just a social construct. Our biological differences just make the world a better place. Raise a confident daughter and let her change her future!
14 Work: Rich Man’s World
We talk about diversity and equality but the truth is that men and women are not treated equally. The gender wage gap is a clear example of double standards and unfair policies. No, our Western society does not make an exception. In fact, in the US, a female worker gets 79% of what a male employee in the same position does.
Mothers should help girls embrace their abilities and knowledge. Getting a summer job, for instance, is a wonderful way to help older children learn how to negotiate and become independent. What's more, financial independence can boost a teen’s self-esteem.
13 Changes: Health Comes First
Photoshopped pictures on Instagram, magazines that bombard us with images of beautiful women, silly ads of make-up and mini skirts, and other content that creates unrealistic dreams – being a teen girl in today’s modern world is tough. A girl’s confidence can be crushed by social pressure.
That’s why, mama, you should be teaching your teen girl to love her own body, talents, beauty, and unique personality traits. Dance with your girl and show her that her body is amazing. Make her understand that a pimple doesn’t make her any less beautiful. Help her stay healthy and active. Talk about eating healthy foods. After all, health always comes first.
12 Emotional Well-Being: Be Happy
Emotional well-being is vital. Since body and mind go hand in hand, we should help our kids stay positive and healthy. Sadly, there’s a well-being gap between boys and girls. Experts reveal that due to social and family pressure, teen girls exhibit high levels of anxiety, sadness, and fatigue. It’s a fact, though: when girls outperform boys, families, friends, and teachers keep underestimating their success. It’s not a big deal, people say, girls are simply more organized.
So, mama, your girl needs your support. Do not be scared to talk about problems, negative thoughts, and counseling if needed.
11 Teen Identity: The Search For Identity
The search for identity is a challenging process. It’s a journey of exploration of different selves and personas, aka social masks. One of the most important tasks during adolescence is to develop a consistent identity. Sadly, research conducted by the AAOUW shows that "a girl’s self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than a boy’s does." Lack of self-esteem becomes a huge obstacle. Dr. Radin told parents.com, "But if they already have a strong sense of self, they have a much easier time navigating adolescence."
Help your teen daughter become a confident and independent individual, boost her self-esteem, and let her build a strong personality.
10 School Life: Grades For Life
Years of laughter, drama, gossip, tests, and parties - school life is like a roller coaster of emotions. We all have our social roles, and teens do not make an expectation. The popular girl, the nerd, and so on and on.
One of the biggest challenges kids face is bullying. Sadly, as author Dr. Radin says, "Bullying doesn't stop after childhood. So-called 'mean girls' grow up, and how you treat other people - or talk about them - is a good predictor for how your daughter will too." Mama, teach your teen daughter that everyone is precious and people’s opinions can’t change the fact she is just perfect!
9 Cultural differences: Pop Your Bubble
Although we are living in a multicultural society, prejudices and racial comments still exist. Sometimes films, shows, and the news just aggravate the problem. Author Ziba Kashef told babycenter.com, "The media too often transmits stereotypes and distortions regarding race. While school-age kids understand that TV is not reality, they easily pick up on subtle messages about race and culture, so step in to challenge any racial stereotypes you see. If a news story about a racially charged incident comes on, take it as a "teaching moment" to discuss tolerance." The division Us-vs.-Them can lead to fatal outcomes.
Teaching kids to respect differences is important. After all, accents, names, and color do not matter.
8 Self-defense: Girls On Guard
Teaching girls self-defense is important. It’s not only about safety but health, independence, and self-confidence. There are numerous techniques one can choose from. Martial arts, Aikido (which doesn’t require lots of physical strength), Kung Fu, Classic Karate, and so on and on. Note that according to nitinbang.com, 11 is a wonderful age to start proper training. Also, help your teen girl become aware of her physical strengths and weaknesses.
When it comes to physical differences, children and parents should be able to talk about physical disadvantages. Avoid labeling and judging people and explain to your teen daughter that everyone is unique.
7 Social Media: Give Yourself A Like
Our tech-driven society is like a buzzing platform of constant notifications, beeps, and likes. Our Smartphones have become our best companions, and social media channels occupy people’s thoughts more than anything else. Checking your phone first thing in the morning sounds familiar, right?
Mothers have to teach their teen daughters that social media connects people but leads to social anxiety, privacy risks, and addictive behavior. For instance, research shows that Instagram and Snapchat are the worst media channels as they create feelings of inadequacy. Teens may even face cyberbullying. Did you know that young actress Millie Bobby Brown deactivated her Twitter account after becoming a target of online trolls?
6 Fun: Make The Best Of Your Teen Years
Although the Internet world has become the ultimate source of entertainment, teens have to explore the outside world, have fun, and stay active. Parents should let their teens discover their own passions. Give your teen daughter a range of activities and options and let her choose, mama. Let her grow up!
As Dr. Silverman said, "Some girls have obvious gifts, but others (like, say, the child who isn't so coordinated in a family of natural athletes) need help drawing them out. I once worked with a soccer-player mom whose daughter had no interest in the sport, but she loved swimming and flourished once her mom put her on the swim team."
5 Social Development In Puberty
Puberty comes with lots of physical and emotional changes. Social development also challenges teens. Children need to find their own identity and become independent young adults.
Interactions are complex, friends come and go. Mothers have to teach their teens to respect other people, resolve conflicts, and express their hidden emotions. As author Rosalind Wiseman says, "But girls learn very early to take care of other peoples' emotions first. They think they are always supposed to feel happy and excited, and they push down so-called 'bad' feelings like jealousy, anger, or insecurity."
4 Activism: Changing The World
We all know that our kids are our future. In fact, youth activism has always been a moving force. Hippies, environmentalists, and scholars, young people often identify themselves with a group or a cause. Modern teen girls, in particular, have the unique chance to express themselves, shape the future, and fight censorship. Girls have the rights and opportunities to fight for a better future.
All moms should let their teens make mistakes, which will boost her self-confidence. Girls should learn about powerful female leaders, activists, and scientists. Most of all, young women should understand that happiness is something they create – not Prince Charming.
3 Hormones: Everyone Survives Them
Hormonal changes can be messy. Interestingly, according to kidshealth.org, a gonadotropin-releasing hormone, or GnRH, is the main hormone that initiates puberty. Estrogen, on the other hand, is extremely important in female development. It prepares the body to mature.
When it comes to body image, mothers play a crucial role. Research shows that the way a girl regards her appearance is influenced by how her mom feels about her own body and looks. Therefore, love your body, mama, and help your teen love her own Self.
2 Self-Forgiveness: Become One With The Universe
Puberty becomes a weird maze of struggles, beliefs, love, emotions, and insecurities. Due to hormonal changes and body issues, teen girls may experience high levels of guilt. Let's not forget that social taboos, such as the period taboo, add more emotional pain.
As teens are still learning to regulate their emotions and express their feelings, teaching self-forgiveness is vital. Self-forgiveness and self-love can help teens become mature and caring human beings.
1 We Are One: Mama’s Girl
Being a mother is not easy. Pregnancy, birth, exhaustion, and responsibilities. Most of all, moms have to be good role models. In fact, stats show that 63% of girls report that their mom is their role model. Many girls go to Mom for advice. As Dr. Silverman says, "Gradeschoolers may get into the mix with their friends during the day, but their mother is the safe haven." Mothers should give love and encourage independence all at the same time.
Therefore, mama, show your young girl she can rock her puberty like a boss. You two are a great duo!