I remember being a teenager. Although I enjoyed those years, it came with many growing pains. I remember in Middle school girls were sexually active and had real relationships. In high school, I remember losing an entire group of friends (5 girls) because I did not jump in a fight and in turn I left with my cousin instead. (Let me tell you, as a girl who had just lost her cousin to cancer and being an only child, it sucked losing a group of friends.) I remember the pressures of dating and being in a “relationship,” that landed me as a teen mom. I ultimately remember seeing girls have a yearning to be liked by others. Being a teenage girl is pretty complex. More currently, as our society witness the case surrounding R.Kelly, I remember it being “cool” to have a boyfriend that was not in High School. Having an “older man” with a car somehow validated you being a girl that was “mature and cool.” It landed many girls in the arms of preditors and our boys...turned men as the culprit of predatory behavior. SAD.
As we climb the ladder of the digital age, being a teenage girl is full of more than we experienced. Being liked socially among friend groups is reliant on the amount of likes and followers sustained on social media. Public humiliation feels global and is no longer contained by the walls of the school building rather, it's a communal exploitation fest...scandal maybe. The ability for girls to think for themselves independently is overshadowed by a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out) when they open Snapchat. Basically, internal frustrations are taking the main stage to teen girls lives publically and the ability to cope in an age that thrives on googling the questions of life have become the blueprint to living life. I mean, to keep it real, here I am, a married mom of five and still trying to figure out why people don't like my instagrams posts. Especially, after submitting my social media analytics and being rejected by a mom organization/company telling me “...you, unfortunately, don’t fit our criteria…”
All hope is not lost though. While teen girls will be just that, they must have the ability to navigate through the growing pains of coming into adulthood. This is the part of parenting that is difficult. Let me tell you, it's a race against what you tell them, what their friends tell them, what Google tells them and what they tell themselves. IT'S HARD.
We have to talk more explicitly with our girls. We can’t allow all questions to be answered by Alexa, Siri or Google. . “...when you are not available for your children, you make them available for other people. (I’m A Mom: Now What?).” We have to work harder as parents to meet them where they are and talk. I believe my generation is doing a lot of talking to their children because we have to debunk so many lies, and explain so many heart wrenching truths. More importantly, if we see our girls are suffering, implementing therapy from an outside source should not be avoided. Sometimes, an outside source is just the liaison we need. Let’s work together as moms and support one another during our journey in parenting teenage girls. We have to form an alliance and provide one another with support. As mothers we too can get caught up in the social media game and look to brag without serving as a resource. We can't leave teachers, school social workers and deans to figure it all out either.
Being a teenage girl is complex and so is parenting them. We have to be open to topics that seem tabu and work closely with out girls to keep them full of purpose, affirmed and inspired. This is not easy (BELIEVE ME!). My Motherhood hotline is always available. Send me a text and let's work together mama! 561-THE-MRS2
Here is a checklist of topics to discuss:
Dating & Relationships
Social Media Responsibility