5 Important Topics You Need to Discuss with Your Teen Girl
- Jonathan and Erica Catherman Authors
- 2018 3 Oct
“So, what was it really like growing up in the 1900’s?” asks your teen. Once the shock of the question settles, the answers might surprise you both. Sure, those of us who grew up last century didn’t face the tech-driven lifestyle our teens do today. Still, much of what we did experience pre-millennium remains relevant and worth sharing. Topics ranging from boys to bullies and faith to family are all important discussions to have with your teen girl. With limited time and attention, the most critical conversations include matters of her physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Yet, keep in mind that talking is only part of the process. It’s equally important to give her opportunities to practice what you’ve discussed. After all, practice makes better, and you want her to discover and become her very best. Her best includes talking about being capable, confident, fearless, strong, and kind.
1. Talk about Being Capable - She Can Fix It.
Talk to your teen about becoming more capable of doing a multitude of things for herself. The few remaining years she has at home are prime time for her to practice new levels of independence. For instance, if she drives can she handle getting a flat tire? If she spends money, can she balance a personal budget? And of course she eats, so can she prepare a healthy meal for herself? Is she able to fill out a job application, set a doctor’s appointment, clear a clogged drain, or know how to behave during a police stop? Imagine she’s 18 and headed off to college but doesn’t know how a washer and dryer works. Have fun doing loads of laundry when she returns home on a break. Instead, talk about the value of her becoming more independent and how you can help her build self-confidence by practice the life skills she needs to succeed.
2. Talk about Being Confident - She Can Do It.
Confident teens set goals. One way to help your teen build her confidence is to talk about setting and perusing goals. This includes both the kind of goals that are required of her and the those that inspire her. Required goals include have to-do’s like school work, chores, or sports practice. Inspired goals include the want to-do’s that often begin as her hopes and dreams. Both types of goals require real effort on her part to accomplish. Talk about capturing her goals on a timeline that measures where she is now related to where she wants to be in the future. Discuss how long each goal will take and the steps she’ll need to make to see progress. Planning ways to celebrate small successes along the way will keep the two of you connected and help hold her accountable. Her confidence will grow with each goal accomplished and the two of you will see her horizons expand.
3. Talk about Being Fearless - She Can Face It.
Many teens fear making mistakes and the feeling of failure. This can keep a teen girl from trying new things, practicing what inspires her, and from experiencing her greatest potential. Whenever possible talk with your teen about how she was not given a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. Also encourage her to be authentic and of the importance of integrity. Power, love, self-discipline, authenticity, and integrity go hand-in-hand and will help your teen girl be fearless while sticking to what she knows is right and true.
4. Talk about Being Strong - She Can Handle It.
Have you shared with your teen that one of your greatest hopes and prayers is that she will build her life upon a strong foundation? A foundation composed of priorities set in her faith and values. This will require her to grow strong in body, mind, heart, and spirit. Just as her body’s muscles grow stronger with work so her mind, heart, and spirit will strengthen with disciplined practice. Remind her to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Talk about protecting her heart, for everything she will do flows from it. Instill in her the knowledge that a healthy spirit conquers adversity. If this sounds like a heavy load, it is. It’s called life. In life, she will undoubtedly encounter trials of many kinds. But she is maturing into a strong woman. Fearless, confident, and capable of handling whatever comes her way.
5. Talk about Being Kind - She Can Share It.
Kindness includes treating others the same way she wants to be treated. So a conversation about kindness starts with your teen recognizing that kindness towards others comes from kindness towards herself. Talk about the significance of her internal dialog. Does she think and speak well of herself, to herself? If not, why not? How can she practice being more kind to herself? As she grows more capable, confident, fearless, and strong she will think about and treat herself better. Talk about ways you and your teen can show kindness to each other. Time spent together, share encouraging words, forgiving yourself and others, and respecting what is important to people different than you are just a few examples of kindness. Kindness is big yet can be shared in countless little ways.
To get these conversations started with your teen girl consider discussing the following quote from The Girls’ Guide to Conquering Life book. Does she see herself in these words and what opportunities do you provide for her to practice being capable, confident, fearless, strong, and kind?
“I’m strong because I’m fearless. I’m fearless because I’m confident. I’m confident because I am capable of doing what is required of me and what inspires me. My knowledge, my talents, my strengths are all practiced, and practice makes me better. Better at being myself, better at being kind to all, and better at helping others become strong.” – Erica & Jonathan Catherman
Jonathan and Erica Catherman live in North Carolina, where they work together to raise their family, which includes teenagers and a couple of big dogs. They are the authors of The Girls Guide to Conquering Middle School. Learn more at www.TheCathermans.com
Photo credits in order of appearance: ©Unsplash/Bewakoof, ©Unsplash/BryanApen, ©Unsplash/JuanRamos, ©Unsplash/DarranShen, ©Unsplash/TanaleeYoungblood, ©Unsplash/LorenJoseph