6 Ways to Empower Your Teen Daughter
The teen years are often a difficult time for both parents and children. Some research suggests that adolescent girls can be more difficult to raise than adolescent boys. Furthermore, some parents might encounter what they interpret as their children losing motivation. However, according to psychologist, Carl Pickhardt, most children are not actually unmotivated. He argues that they simply lack intrinsic motivation; the desire to accomplish things because for personal satisfaction. This inner drive can be stifled when parents focus too much on extrinsic motivation, or external motivating factors.
Times have also changed. As our society starts to shift away from patriarchal ways, we will see more and more women paving their own way to happiness, success and identity on their own terms and breaking free of stereotypes. We need to be prepared to support women and girls in these changes and it's crucial that parents remember to change their approach to their daughters too. Parenting techniques of the past may not work in today's world. Here are a few tips on how to foster motivation, empowerment, confidence and healthy self-esteem in your teen daughter.
1. Ask for her opinion
When teens are coming of age, they begin to increase their awareness about themselves and their thoughts and feelings. Adolescent girls in particular are especially wired for language and communication. As a parent, it's of utmost importance to encourage this. The teen years are often a time of insecurity as many go through periods of physical and emotional changes. You can help to foster self-esteem in your daughter by asking for her opinion. Whether it's about how they feel about certain scenarios or even more trivial matters like what they think about the new piece of furniture you brought into the house. This will encourage them to give voice to how they're feeling and demonstrate that their voice matters. Encouraging open communication within the family can help grow everyone's self esteem and voice. The important thing is that as a parent, you value their opinion and listen, listen, and listen some more.
2. Address the media
Teens, especially teen girls, of this time and age are exposed to so many self-esteem damaging stimuli in the media - whether it's from television, movies, magazines or social media. Much of the content out there is aimed at making girls and women feel inadequate by being reduced to their appearance. It is crucial to address this with your daughter and let them know how the media industry works. It's important that they know how to build their self-esteem through their own ideas, hearts and minds, instead of what they look like. Help cultivate a healthy relationship with their bodies by being a good example. Build them up them by applauding their talents, ideas and good values, not only their looks.
3. Teach boundaries
Many women and girls today are taught to put everyone else's needs before their own. It's a symptom of patriarchal society and many women have learned to give to the point of depleting themselves. Not only does this dynamic set women up for codependent behavior, but it ties your self-worth into how much people approve of you and your actions. Teach your daughters that they should listen to their own feelings and instincts before agreeing to anything. Let them know that they don't have to be liked by everyone, nor will they. Remind them that they don't have to say "yes" to everyone and everything and that they have the right to be themselves. As they grow up to become women, they will then understand that they are in the best position to make decisions for themselves.
4. Nurture her talents and interests
Allowing your daughter to fully be themselves might be the greatest gift that you could give her. Gift her the time and the space to explore what is meaningful and exciting for her. Let her share their joys and passions with you and hold a respectful space for whatever comes up. Whether she is moved by arts, sciences, automobiles or lizards – give them the space to explore. Be mindful not to be gender-specific and project your own thoughts and feelings on their experience. Let your daughter explore the different things that life has to offer, and let her follow her interest and talents without prescribing what you think is best for her. As the first woman captain of a scheduled US airline, I can only imagine how she challenged the stereotype that flying was only for man.
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5. Encourage her to explore past her comfort zone
The key to growth is getting out of your comfort zone and the same goes for your teenage daughter. This is especially important as gender roles continue to blur and you may find your daughter taking interest in things that are more traditionally 'boyish'. Allow her to take risks and follow her passion but don't push her so hard that she loses her passion and drive. It's all about balance. Because children today are being exposed to new activities and hobbies that you might not have experienced as a child, such as rock climbing or hip hop, remember to allow them the space to explore. Allowing them to explore their own passions may actually lead you to grow past your comfort zone – and that's perfectly okay. Your teenage daughter can also be your greatest teacher, remind yourself to open up and learn from your children too.
6. Be the best example
Even if you follow all the tips in this article to a tee, if you don't practice what you preach, none of it will matter. Kids pick up on much more than you think and your behavior and relationship to yourself is primarily what your child will learn from. That's why it's so crucial to be the greatest example of an empowered individual, woman or man. Have confidence in your own personal and professional value. Stand in your power, speak your truth, be kind and compassionate and model healthy relationships in your life. As a mother or father, you are your daughter's greatest example.
Being a parent is no light matter - it is difficult job, especially during your daughter's teenage years. If you allow her the space to cultivate her own passions, interests and self-worth, she will undoubtedly become an empowered and motivated young adult that is ready to contribute to the world. This generation of adolescents is especially significant in that they are growing up in a changing world where stereotypes and limitations of women are starting to lift. Apart from providing them the tools and space to grow more fully into themselves, being the best example for your growing daughter is one of the biggest gifts you can give her.
As our world becomes more connected and we break down cultural and gender barriers, women navigating this new terrain can come across growing pains. Income realizes that #TimesHaveChanged for today's women, and that insurance should evolve to support the changing needs of women.
This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as financial advice. The precise terms, conditions and exclusions of any Income products mentioned are specified in their respective policy contracts. For customised advice to suit your specific needs, consult an Income insurance advisor. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
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