Raising Teen Girls

Raising teen girls in today’s environment can be challenging. Despite this generation of adolescents entering puberty earlier and being exposed to more sexual and violent than any generation before them, their emotional development does not necessarily keep up with their physical maturity.

The growth of the brain is an important change during this period and supports girls in developing reasoning, self-control, responsibilities, executive functioning, and social judgement for future success.

Adolescence is also the time that teens may explore and identify their sexuality and sexual orientation. Teen girls may start dating, which increases new risks as they may start to engage in sexual activity. These are some of the many reasons why parent and teen communication is so important during this period.

Parent Communication is Key

Whether or not they are consciously aware of it, teen girls look to their parents as a source of information. Their parents provide models for how they see themselves and how they behave. Having healthy male and female role models is equally important for girls to develop a strong sense of self and healthy self-esteem. Educational conversations with your daughter should include talks about the emotional, ethical, psychological, and spiritual effects on the decisions they make for their future. And most importantly, parents should to listen to and provide a safe place for your daughter to express herself.

Risk-Taking Behavior vs. Rebellious Behavior

I’s important for parents to distinguish between rebellious behavior and risk-taking behavior, which is natural and exploratory. Teens may have to face unintended consequences as a result of their choices, which helps them to learn from mistakes. But, if teens are not allowed to make some of their own decisions, they will look to others to make these decisions for them. Rebelliousness in a teen with poor judgment skills is something to be concerned about.

The older teen girls get, the more they will feel a pressure to explore adult activities and decisions. Culture and tradition can be great sources that help protect teen girls’ self-esteem. Teen girls who’ve had poor role models, troubled childhoods, or who have physical or learning disabilities need extra guidance and encouragement as they are at higher risk for engaging in risky behavior.

Paradox Psych Services is a child and teen therapy center with two Carlsbad locations: Bressi Ranch and Aviara Parkway. Our child therapists at Bressi Ranch are also near San Marcos. We offer an action and goal-oriented approach to child and teen therapy. Additionally, our psychologists and parenting consultant have earned the highest achievable degree in their field. To learn more about our services, contact us today for a free phone consultation.

About Susan Gehrig, PhD

Susan Gehrig, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and founder of Paradox Psychological Services located in Carlsbad. She has a passion for supporting the wellbeing of children and teens. Her expertise is in child mindfulness and self-compassion, cognitive behavioral therapy, and child development. Dr. Gehrig provides psychoeducational testing and therapy services to help build a plan for success. Paradox provides services for families of San Diego North County and greater areas.

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