Chances are, your daughter is way more up on the trends than you are—who can keep up, right? But when it comes to certain trends, like those that could affect your daughter and her well-being, you truly can’t afford to let yourself fall behind.
Yes, there are plenty of solidly great trends going on with girls today—their high school graduation rates are up, they’re volunteering more, and are less likely to smoke or drink alcohol than girls even just a few years ago. Still, the Girl Scout Research Institute has found plenty of troubling trends that you might not know about. For instance, feelings of low self-worth, obesity, and recreational use of marijuana are on the rise among American girls. Although none of these are things we’d like to think of our own daughters grappling with, it’s easy to imagine why so many girls in this high-pressure world are struggling—and why they might feel they don’t measure up and turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms in an attempt to deal.
You might be reading this and thinking, “Not my girl!” and if that’s the case? Wonderful. We want to help you keep it that way. Here are seven simple things you can do to help keep your daughter from falling prey to any of these three unfortunate trends:
- Encourage active hobbies and habits. Getting moving physically doesn’t just keep your body in shape, it has also been proven to lift your mood and give you extra confidence. Challenge her to a game of hoops or even just go for a walk with your girl. It’ll deepen your bond and give you both a healthy boost.
- Help her get involved in community service or her local government. Taking action builds girls’ sense of self and gives them a feeling of control in a sometimes chaotic world.
- Teach and model healthy ways of dealing with life’s stresses, rather than letting them all bottle up. Journaling, yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are all helpful.
- Discuss not just the good parts of her day, but the upsetting parts, too. She needs to know that feelings of disappointment, anger, sadness or worry aren’t “bad,” and that you’re there to help her through the tough times.
- Be fully present when talking with your girl. Phones away, TV off. She needs to know you’re really seeing her and hearing what she has to say.
- Celebrate her unique style and spirit—even if it doesn’t exactly mirror your own! Having confidence in who she is will help her stay strong in the face of peer pressure.
- Praise her resilience, courage, curiosity, leadership, and willingness to try new things—and consider signing her up with an organization like Girl Scouts where those qualities will be developed even further.