Sunday, August 29, 2010
Love Your Self Girl
An article from teengrowth.com
Adolescence can be a challenging time for young women. Your reactions to the physical and emotional changes occurring during puberty often depend on how you feel about yourself. If you have a strong self-esteem, you’re less likely to engage in socially unacceptable behaviors. While everyone makes mistakes, if you’re self-confident you will learn from those mistakes and adapt your behavior, rather than repeating the same mistake again.
Despite an emphasis on equality, boys and girls in modern culture still tend to handle self-esteem issues differently. When teenage boys in our society are faced with a period of low self esteem, they continue on with most of their normal activities: they still take that hard math class, try out for the football team and interact socially with their female counterparts. Young women, on the other hand, react differently when faced with this challenge. They often become indifferent, withdrawn, quiet and depressed.
Several large studies have shown girls aged 8 and 9 are confident, assertive and feel good about themselves. This is probably due to the more mature social interactions and skills that females have developed up to this time, especially when compared to their male contemporaries. Surprisingly, these same girls can emerge at the end of adolescence with a poor self-image, a narrowed view of their future, and less confidence about themselves and their abilities.
What controls the development of a healthy self-esteem in teen girls? According to one study, physical appearance was the most important factor. If they are not attractive (by someone else's standards), many girls feel worthless and helpless. Popular culture floods young girls with images of the ideal female figure, personality, and social skills – all of which are mostly inappropriate and unobtainable. The result is not surprising...in order to maintain this ideal of perfection, girls become obsessed with their physical appearance. The extreme reaction in some unfortunate girls is a dependence on diet pills and the development of eating disorders. Young women see movie stars or situation comedy characters as models on which to shape their social interactions. Unfortunately, the behaviors of these "role models" are often biased toward the disrespectful and promiscuous.
Another factor that can lower some teenage girls’ self esteem is the loss of community. We used to live in towns where everyone knew each other. Now 72 percent of Americans don't even know their neighbors. Other changes in our society, such as divorce, drugs, and alcohol, seem to have negatively affected teen girls even more than boys.
It is therefore easy to understand why many teenage girls are more concerned about impressing or pleasing others rather than themselves. If you’re a female and feel like you’re lacking self-esteem, here are a few suggestions:
Talk frequently with an adult you trust. Know that it’s OK to share your feelings, concerns or fears. Talking about things is one of the best ways to explore feelings.
Participate in sports. The physical activity and team support is as helpful for girls as it is for boys.
Volunteer your time for organizations you feel strongly about: for example, a local hospital, a local animal shelter, youth groups, charitable causes, etc.
Try your best to succeed, but don’t get down if you meet challenges along the way. It really is true that we learn more from our failures than our successes, so try to look at everything as a learning opportunity.
Interact with adults (parents, relatives, teachers) and feel confident about it – share in the conversations and maintain eye contact. Adults can often appreciate your strengths even more than your peers can.
Get a part-time job (if you’re old enough, it doesn’t interfere with your school activities and your parents approve). It can be a great way to add to your skills and sense of worth.