Recently I was interviewed by a 16-year-old girl for a teen blog on the topic of self-esteem. Below is part of that interview.
How can a girl be a good friend to her peers who seem to have personal struggles?
Having a close friend, a “best friend” or a group of friends that you can talk to openly is incredibly important for every girl. Sometimes there are things you just want to talk to a friend about. If a peer is dealing with a struggle and she comes to you/confides in you, that’s very important. It means that she feels safe with you and trust you as a friend. First and foremost, just being there to listen is always appreciated. Don’t think that you have to have all the answers. Just talking about something that maybe you have struggled with as well helps her feel not so alone in her situation. However, if your friend is struggling with something that could be damaging to herself, you can be supportive and listen, but you may need some input or guidance from an adult. That is a lot of responsibility for you to take on and you may need to talk to someone who has more experience in that area. A few suggestions would be: You can go with her and talk to your school counselor or you could go with her and talk to a family member. Bottom line, letting her know that you’re there for her whether you have all the answers or not is probably the most important thing.
How does a girl’s self-esteem in high school affect what happens to her later on?
The high school years are a critical time in a teen’s life. This is the time that developmental psychologists call “identity vs. role confusion.” Which just means, you are trying to figure out what you like , independent of your friends and family, and you are trying to decide who you want to become. So much is going on with a girl at this age mentally, physically and emotionally. Being comfortable with who you are is key. Having a positive relationship with your parents and having a group of girlfriends who you can trust is also important. If issues or challenges aren’t worked out during this phase in your life, chances are a girl will continue to deal with the same issues and struggles into college. Don’t keep things inside. Tell others how you feel. The #1 mistake I see from teens is not telling their parents when they are dealing with a big issue. Trust me, if you are dealing with something that you see as a struggle, your parents want to know about it and want to help you.