If you are raising a teenage daughter, there are plenty of things that you can teach her. Listen, I went through my Rolodex of thoughts about what has helped teen daughters and more specifically, what I have seen moms do that empower their daughters. I have lots of thoughts. I have sorted through my own history of being both a teen and a mother to a teen daughter and have gathered some of these ideas from my own personal history as well.
Look, it is no easy job to raise a teen daughter who feels good about herself and is immune from depression, eating disorders and anxiety. There are no vaccines currently available to inoculate your daughters from issues that sadly, target them way too frequently. Nonetheless, I can provide you with a bit of a guide to both empower your teen daughter and help her travel through her teen years and life in a less bumpy fashion. My goal is always to help provide paved roads that are easier to pass through.
1. The first thing that you must provide your daughter with are some personal mantras that she can say to herself in moments of stress and confusion. These mantras will help provide her with a personal compass that will guide her and serve her well.
Here are some of my favorites that will help keep your daughters grounded:
a. "Remember who you are."
b. "In most situations you are not the object of scrutiny, so be less self-conscious."
c. "Kindness is the best form of communication."
d. "Make a decision from a place of power, not from pressure."
2. You absolutely must teach your daughter about the importance of the right types of friendships. Talk to your teen daughter about the importance of having at least one confidante, that is, a friend who gets her, understands her and who knows when she is down even when she is smiling. Having one or two confidantes is way more beneficial than having ten friends who barely know you. While you are teaching your daughter about the importance of having confidantes, you must also teach her about the importance of being a good, reliable and attuned friend.
3. Respect your daughter's temperament. If she is not a particularly outgoing type, then do not make her feel badly about that. If she is sociable type, then respect that and teach her the importance of taking some alone time. Help her find her passions whether they involve group or individual activities.
4. Teach your daughters how to replenish themselves, how to get reinvigorated and how to take good care of themselves. Too many teen girls and adult women, for that matter, attend to the needs of others and neglect their own. This, as we know, results in both emotional and physical fatigue and makes our girls vulnerable to all sorts of problems. Try very hard to focus on this very important goal.
5. Your daughters need to know that they don't need to be liked by everyone. This is both an impossible and unrealistic task. Besides, have you ever met anyone with an interesting personality who is liked by everyone? Probably not. Your teen daughters should expect to be disliked by some, ignored by others and treated with indifference by yet others. This is an inevitable part of life and they will be able to negotiate social relationships more easily if they know what is realistic.
Good luck. Your task is not an easy one, but is certainly worthwhile.