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Helping Teen Girls Handle Peer Pressure

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Every day the teen girl in your life faces many decisions. Some are as simple as deciding what to wear and how she will blend in with her peers at school; others may ultimately be choices between life and death. Most girls face immense pressure to fit in and to be accepted by the crowd. As a parent in the sidelines it is painful and hard to watch. The good news is, whether you have a great relationship with her or not, you can help.

As you read the tips, keep in mind that many of these suggestions aren’t based on having a deep discussion. At the same time, if you want to be able to talk with her more, try to find common ground. Don’t just jump into a discussion about her friends. Maybe you both love music, or fashion, or getting outdoors, start there. Sometimes, it’s easier to build on a relationship by doing first instead of talking. Offer to take her to her favorite restaurant, go climbing together, or do something she loves. Just remember that during the teen years it’s common to for parents to have hot and cold relationships with their teens and you can still use these six tips to help her alleviate the stress of peer pressure.

How does she handle peer pressure now?

Start by asking yourself these important questions. Can she think for herself? Can she slow herself down enough to think clearly? Can she disagree with her friends and be ok with it? Can she listen to her gut? This will help you sort out where you can be of most help.

Remember she’s watching you.

She is never going to tell you she’s watching, but she is. She watches your conversations, reactions, and relationships. Maybe you had a difficult decision to make at work and were the only one who disagreed with the team, but you said so. Let her know and talk about what you did and how it was resolved. Your example will teach more than you can ever tell her.

Teach her how to think for herself.

Let her have responsibility and be involved in decision-making. It also means she learns to listen to and follow her gut. Start with simple things like deciding which movie to go to or how to spend her weekend. When she has a tough decision, like choosing between two favorite activities, help her think it through without giving her the answer.

Watch for changes in behavior.

Pay closer attention to what is going on in her life and who she is hanging out with. If you see any major changes in her behavior from sleeping, dressing, eating, or how much time she spends at home, these could be a sign that she is dealing with a lot of peer pressure or other issue and needs help.

Be a good listener.

The last thing she wants you to do is tell her how to solve her problems. Listen to her and let her know you’re there for her. Try asking open-ended questions like what would be the benefits or the cons or making that choice? Who would it impact the most? What is your gut telling you to do? If you show her you can listen more than talk, she’ll be sure to come back next time she needs to talk.

Laying Down the Law.

Safety always comes first. It’s not always easy to lay down the law and follow through on consequences. If her peers are negatively impacting her and you are fearful for her, don’t be afraid to set the rules and stick to them.

Your daughter needs you. The peer pressure teens face daily, weighs heavily on their shoulders and feels impossible to deal with at times, but having you on her side will make all the difference.

Carrie Silver-Stock, MSW, LCSW author of the forthcoming book, “The Powder Box Secrets: 7 Tips to Help Teen Girls Achieve Success,” has dedicated her life to helping young people for over fifteen years. Carrie launched because she believes in empowering teen girls and helping them find their passions and discover their talents.

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