Why Teen Girls Struggle to Communicate with Confidence
There are reasons why teen girls struggle to communicate with confidence. Teen girls today are faced with more pressure than ever before. Not only do they have to juggle academic pressures, home life and friends, but add in the digital world and life gets messy. Communicating with confidence in these tricky situations is incredibly difficult for teen girls.
The Challenges Teen Girls Face in Communicating with Confidence
There is no Google search or class at school that teaches teen girls exactly how to handle the drama that comes with being a teenager in today’s world. If you're a parent or an adult who works with teen girls, it's likely you didn't have the same pressures as she does, so it can be hard to relate. Girls don't always seek help which makes it even more of a challenge to help her feel confident, especially in communicating with others.
If teen girls don't learn how to speak up and say things assertively in their teen years they are bound to have difficulty as adults. This impacts their self-esteem and confidence as they hold their emotions in. When girls can learn to speak up and express themselves their lives can change significantly. They are braver, more sure of themselves, they feel confident asking for help and have good boundaries as well as self-respect.
Teen Girls Face Tricky Situations That Affect Communicating with Confidence
What advice do you give to teen girls who are struggling with cyber bullying or friends who won't text them back? How about if their crush is pressuring them to send scandalous pictures or is threatening to tell their secrets to all of their friends online. Parents and professionals often find themselves overwhelmed, too. Their advice just doesn't fit the situation anymore.
As a psychotherapist, I want teen girls to have the skills to navigate social situations (yes this means online too) with ease and confidence. They just don't have the skills clearly laid out for them. That's why I wrote my new book, see link below. This book provides teen girls with scripts and tools to communicate and express themselves with confidence.
Why Teen Girls Struggle with Communicating with Confidence
Adolescence is a time when her brain and body are morphing into her adult self. These changes, which she has no control over, can be pretty uncomfortable and sometimes even scary. Feeling like her body is changing (sometimes overnight) and that she has more intense emotions can be really awkward. I tell teens:
- Your brain is growing and firing new connections rapidly, which means you’re able to absorb more information at a faster rate than before.
- Parts of your brain aren’t completely developed yet which may make you more sensitive or emotional. Along with hormonal changes, science shows this combination may give rise to newly intense experiences of rage, anxiety, fear, aggression (at others and yourself), excitement, and sexual attraction.
- Your body is adjusting to hormonal changes on a daily basis, and these adjustments affect you all the time, not just when you’re feeling the effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Hormones can have a big (and unpredictable) effect on your mood, making you happy one minute and sad or angry the next.
New experiences mixed with mood changes make communicating with confidence for teen girls difficult. This is the time girls are defining who they are and becoming more independent, while, at the same time, finding ways to fit in and be accepted. Add in popularity contests, parties, friends and unpredictable schedules, to their biological changes and many teen girls wish they were back in preschool rather that prepping for college. It makes communicating with confidence hard. Keep in mind:
- Acceptance by peers is extremely important, but fitting in doesn't happen easily. Being a teen means struggling with identity and self-image, as well as trying to appease friends. It can be very hard to feel confident to speak your mind when they really care about what others will say or think. They need more skills to pick friends that won't weigh them down and who will accept them for who they are.
- Technology overload can be a huge stressor. Gadgets and social media make it easy to stay connected but many teens don't have the power to manage them without getting sucked in. Plus, miscommunication happens all the time.
- They are under a lot of pressure. Not to mention, they're exposed to the alluring world of hooking up, having sex, and experimenting with drugs and alcohol. They don't know how to say yes or no without feeling overwhelmed, or anxious. And if you think about it, did you know what to say or do at her age?
All these experiences affect teen girls and impact their confidence to communicate tremendously. Teaching teen girls about their biological and environmental changes is validating and will help her feel more confident when communicating to others. Teach them how to write "scripts" for successful outcomes when talking to others to help her feel prepared and empowered when speaking her mind.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
Roberts, E. (2015, May 22). Why Teen Girls Struggle to Communicate with Confidence, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, January 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2015/05/why-teen-girls-struggle-to-communicate-with-confidence