Adolescence is a time of great self-discovery, when girls ages 11-15 begin to establish their personal self-image. This concept of how they view themselves – as well as how they think others view them – can affect their personality, school performance and overall mood.
Studies show that many girls have lower self-esteem than boys of the same age. This may be caused in part by physical changes girls experience during puberty – such as the beginning of menstruation, increased body fat and facial acne – which can lead to dissatisfaction with their bodies.
But by supporting and encouraging your daughter, you can help her grow into a strong, healthy, self-confident young woman. Here are some tips that may help:
- Give your daughter the freedom to explore her interests without conforming to gender expectations.
- Take your daughter to work, so that she can see the importance and contribution of women in the community.
- Ask your daughter about her day – school, extracurricular activities and friends – to ensure she feels valued.
- Listen to your daughter. Make sure she knows she can ask questions, air complaints and talk about anything going on in her life.
- Be aware that girls receive conflicting messages about how they should look and act from school, television, magazines and peers. Help your daughter responsibly manage these social expectations.
Your child's doctor can also help you navigate these years with your daughter. Find a doctor »