Teen girls are at an exciting time in their lives. They're growing physically, mentally, and emotionally, while developing the identities, values, and beliefs that will carry them into their adult lives. It can also be a confusing time, as they try to come to terms with physical and emotional changes.
Teen Girls' Changing Relationships
As teen girls work to forge their own identities, they begin to pull away from their families and rely more on friends for support. This can lead to problems with parents as teens rebel against authority and push for more independence. Deal with this potential problem by considering:
- While it's natural to want more freedom as a teenager, teens should recognize that your parents have the final say in decisions concerning your well-being.
- If you have a concern, try talking it out with your parents in a calm and rational manner.
- It's much better to engage in a reasonable debate about why your curfew should be later than 11 p.m. than it is to come home at midnight and get grounded.
Teens often define themselves by the type of friends they have, the activities in which they participate, and the clothes they wear.
- Teens sometimes find themselves drifting apart from friends they've had for years, and joining new groups.
- This is natural, although teens should take care not to leave old friends behind in a cruel manner.
- Teen girls should also make sure any new friendships are positive ones, and that new groups of friends aren't engaging in destructive or mean-spirited behaviors.
A part of teen development is becoming interested in romantic relationships.
- While young love can be exciting, it also brings potential problems. It can be easy to become too immersed in a relationship, neglecting school, friends, and family in favor of your new love.
- There may be increased pressure to have sex. The end of a relationship can be highly emotional and painful.
- These potential problems can be overcome by maintaining a healthy balance in any relationship, staying true to your morals, keeping your feelings in perspective, and talking to friends and trusted adults if you have problems.
In girls, puberty consists of the following changes:
- Breast development
- Growth of pubic hair
- Changes in body shape, including widening hips
- Onset of menstruation
- Increased body odor
- Increased production of skin oils, often causing acne
Some girls actually experience puberty during the preteen years, while others are 14 or 15 before they get their first period. Every girl is unique, and there is no "right" timeline for a teen body to develop.
With so many changes occurring, teen girls may feel uncomfortable with their new bodies. Media images can also negatively influence a teen girl's body image. Ultra-thin celebrities and airbrushed models create an impossible ideal.
Teen girls can take control of their own body image and learn to appreciate the advantages of growing up. They should learn to not compare themselves to others and to ignore the negative media images. They may also take small steps to improve their appearance, like using an acne medication or playing sports to get more exercise and keep off extra pounds. Sometimes, feeling more secure is a matter of finding the right clothing to highlight a developing body. Extreme feelings of low self-worth can lead to depression, self-destructive behavior and eating disorders. Talk to a trusted adult or seek counseling if you persistently feel sad, you're engaging in damaging behaviors like throwing up after each meal, or you're having thoughts of death and suicide.
Embracing the Best Time of Your Life
The teen years should be a positive time; none should needs to have to face these problems alone.