Remember how it feels like to be an awkward teenager? Your body’s changing, your hormones are out of whack, and you feel weird and ugly just when the pressure to be cool, beautiful and popular is at its peak.
Your child is going through this right now. She feels insecure and unsure, and though she behaves like she doesn’t need you or even want anything to do with you, she actually craves your assurance and guidance. Here’s how to help her develop her confidence.
Help her deal with breakouts
Yes, she’s vain and worried about pimples. Instead of scolding her for her vanity or giving her some mommy advice like ‘beauty is only skin deep’ what she needs now is a little woman-to-woman help on skincare. Turn it into a mother daughter bonding session. Take her to a dermatologist, and walk her through the ins and outs of a daily skincare regimen. For example, she may be tempted to pop a zit or scrub her face raw, but you need to tell her that this will only irritate skin and worsen breakouts.
Help her find and appreciate her own beauty
She’s obsessed with looking like her favorite celebrity or the popular girl in school, but you can help her realize that she is beautiful in her own way. Don’t say it, do it. Bring her to a good salon to get a cut that flatters her facial features. Help her find clothes for her body shape and point out that celebs all have their own kinds of beauty and just have a stylist that know how to highlight the best and hide the rest.
Talk to her about relationships
While it’s important to set dating rules it’s even more important to arm her with a sense of self respect. If she feels bad about herself she will fall for anything a guy tells her, just because she craves the attention and assurance. (read about scary teen dating trends.) You can help prevent that situation by assuring her of your own unconditional love, but do give her boy advice too—by sharing your own experiences and your own hard-earned lessons on love. She may pretend that she doesn’t listen but she is, and will think about what you say when she’s alone.
Help her find something to be proud of
One of the best ways for her to feel confident is to help her find and appreciate her talents and skills. Encourage her to try different activities (where she’ll also find people who share her passions). Give her a sense of purpose by encouraging her to use her gifts to help the community by volunteering.
Introduce her to role models
High school gives such a small view of the world, where the popular kids are the gods and goddesses and the celebrities set all the rules. Show her that there’s more to being happy and successful than fitting in or following the fad. Talk about women who’ve made a difference in the world. Introduce her to people in your own circle who are successful in their own fields.
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