As a parent you may pride yourself on raising upstanding teens but make sure you're keeping the lines of communication open and not uni-directional. Sometimes parents ask themselves, "What could she possibly know about life that I don't know better?" But a 1989 experience simply is not the same as a 2017 experience. Hello, social media. Most young women want to have a good relationship with their parents. Here are 5 things she wishes you knew:
1. She needs down time
Parents often forget the pressures that are on teens to perform--academically, athletically. Well, it really begins to pile on for those who have younger siblings to take car of while you're working or getting your down time. Some time to do the things that help her to unwind is just as important and quite healthy.
Girls spend 40% more time on chores than boys.
2. She wants you to be her biggest cheerleader
How about the commercial of the dad who is at his daughter’s dance recital watching a football game on his phone? It's not a good look. Too often society raves about the accomplishments of young men while expecting young women to to the same without much recognition. So, when it comes to the home base, she is counting on her parents to be her biggest fans. Make a concerted effort to acknowledge her wins, big and small. It will teach her to celebrate herself. Even though she may act like your congratulatory remarks and ice cream treats are no big deal, trust...it is...and she will be beaming. Memories and relationship are everything.
Researchers suggests that teachers unintentionally give more classroom attention and more self-esteem building encouragement to boys than to girls over the course of the school day.
3. She is not a perfect angel or princess
Parents often forget how rapidly teen girls change their looks, interests, friends and identity. Girls often say they wish their parents would take a continued interest-in their lives beyond just their grades. If they did, they would recognize that their interests are continually changing. They also yearn for trust. When parents treat them like they are going to break the rules, they often do. While they won't always be perfect angels, you should put some faith in them and provide an opportunity for them to meet the challenge.
4. The reality is times have changed
Periods, boyfriends, shaving armpits...Snapchat? Yeah, that's right. You didn't have to deal with social media on top of all the other things young women have to deal with. They know you had to walk 2 miles in the snow to school; that you only went out to eat one a year and that you couldn't wear red lipstick until you were 21. But in the age of social media, none of your "the way it was done in 1985" speech is going to resonate because it is no longer relevant to the lives of young women today. Instead, ask your daughter about her interests and the story behind those interests. Spend time with her to learn about her life outside the walls of your home.
5. She wants to be challenged
Women become leaders by internalizing a leadership identity and developing a sense of purpose. To accomplish this, they need mentors. Their first mentor is you, the parent. So, start now. Challenge her to aspire to do whatever she wants to do by taking an interest and holding her accountable to what she says she wants to do. Encourage her to seek opportunities, experimentation and challenging assignments. Then, guide, affirm and encourage her as she charters new territory or is in the discomfort zone. Being stretched is all par for the course.
This book, Blah to Fierce Girls, was written to help young women move with confidence and unapologetic fierce. Doing so will allow teen girls to get in touch with their uniqueness, explore their interests and take on new challenges.
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Shekina M. Moore, Ed.D. is an educator and gender & social justice advocate. She is the Founder and CEO of B2F Girls Worldwide, a gender empowerment incubator that produces advocacy initiatives, campaigns and events. She has spoken out against gender oppression and disempowerment since 1992, penning her first published article, "Blocking Out the Gender Gap", while a high school student. This article garnered the attention of the National Press for Women. She is also the author of Beautiful, Big-boned and Brown, Blah to Fierce and co-author of When Dark Chocolate is Bittersweet: Controversy Within A Culture.