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For parents of teenage girls, a great resolution can be to help them articulate what they really want. It may come as a surprise, but very few teenagers, especially teenage girls, practice answering this question at this stage of their life. We at Healthy Chats recently read this article by Hadley Freeman at The Guardian and were inspired by her mentioning of this question and it’s significance to teen girls. We felt so strongly about it, our mission for January is to help you help your daughter practice answering this question in different scenarios – it can be one of the biggest and most important life skills she’ll ever learn. Here are a few ordinary circumstances where asking your daughter what she really wants can make a difference:
Ask: “Do you like that dress or are you only wearing that because other girls at school are wearing something similar? What do you want to wear?
Ask: “I’m sorry Veronica is being weird toward you in class, but do you even care, seeing as you never liked her too much anyway? Is she the friend you want?”
This one is especially tricky – girls often feel obligated to say ‘yes’ even when they don’t want to, and learning to say no to members of the opposite sex is, needless to say, essential.
Ask: “That’s great that Josh asked you out, but do you actually like him, or did you say yes only because he asked? Do you feel comfortable saying no?”
This type of dialogue is subtle and not easy to master, but prompting your daughter with questions like these can gently suggest a shift in her thinking that will only benefit her in the long run. Helping her focus on what she truly wants is not only a good strategy for avoiding unpleasant scenarios, but a more direct path to happiness and good choices.
To your happy 2013, with lots of Healthy Chats, of course!
-Dr. de Freitas
Founder of Healthy Chats, Dr. Chrystal de Freitas is a pediatrician, author and mother of three children who has a special interest in health education. She completed her pediatric training at the University of Washington, in Seattle, WA, and has been in private practice for 22 years. She practiced with North County Health Services in Encinitas, for 6 years. In 2004, Dr. de Freitas opened her solo private practice of pediatrics, Carmel Valley Pediatrics in San Diego, CA.