The tween and teenage years can be turbulent ones, full of self-doubt and angst. There is a tremendous amount of hormonal, psychological, physical and biological flux. In addition, there is a culture that requires girls to be aggressors, competitors, and pleasers, and at the same time be models of female perfection 100% of the time.
The statistics are staggering: Every hour and a half, a teenager tries to take his/her own life. Many of them are actually cyber-bullied on websites. Statistics also say that 43% of teens are exposed to cyber-bullying. And the scariest part of all is that only 1 in 10 kids tell their parents.
The adult tendency to “look away” or underestimate children’s cruelty to other kids as “kids will be kids” needs to be held in check. Bullying is serious in and of itself -- and bullying kids grow up to be bullying adults. We as parents need to see the signs, step in and act.
We must give our daughters the tools to choose the right relationships and manage conflict. The tools listed below will help to reduce bullying and aggression, and hopefully help to build a tween’s self-confidence as well.
- Don’t be owned by a clique.
- Don’t be reliant on other kids for your happiness.
- Learn to say no in the face of opposition.
- Acting confident is the first step to feeling confident.
- Take control of friendships, and set clear boundaries and limits.
- Talk, talk, talk about bullying. Encourage confrontation and “out” the bully.
Female role models can make a huge difference in the life of young girls. The truth is that if you are a mom, your daughter already has a powerful role model: YOU. Like it or not, she is learning what it means to be female by observing you in your day to day operations. If, as a parent, you are modeling positive interaction, ethical and kind behavior, chances are you will help to raise a daughter with the highest character.