A pre-teen girl is at a unique moment in her life.
The spark that is her potential grows more intense, yet she’ll have to fight against gender norms that threaten to diminish it.
Those expectations might convince her to sacrifice ambition for popularity, or shame her for rejecting feminine beauty standards. There are countless ways she’ll feel pressured to hide or change her authentic self.
Most adolescent children, regardless of gender, feel that tension, but girls often face distinct challenges. Research shows, for example, their self-esteem plummets compared to boys.
“Girls are at their fiercest and most authentic prior to puberty,”says Rachel Simmons, author of three books on girlhood and cofounder of Girls Leadership, a national nonprofit that provides training, education and workshops to girls and the adults who support them.
Parents can prepare their daughters for the trials of being a teenage girl by teaching them vital skills early on. These include honest communication, assertive behavior, self-compassion and developing a positive relationship with their body. Read more