How can I help my daughter believe in herself?
Written by Julie Lodrick on 26/04/2012
Q. My 13 year old daughter doesn’t seem to be interested in anything except her friends and her blackberry. But this isn’t making her happy. She is in constant contact with her friends who she feels are the pretty, thin, gorgeous ones and she’s the geeky friend. Actually she’s beautiful, taller and therefore bigger than her friends but she won’t hear it from me. She feels worthless because of it, doesn’t do her homework, can’t be bothered to do anything but is miserable. I’m frustrated because she is clever, beautiful and talented and I feel she’s wasting her youth being miserable and demotivated. I can’t get through to her. How can I help her?
A. Your daughter is going through a very common experience for her age – a lack of self-confidence plus a desire to be accepted into a group of girls which she perceives to be the “in crowd”. It’s very natural that she won’t take your word that she is clever, beautiful and talented – after all you are her mother so are bound to be biased! Try enlisting other relations or friends who will give her additional reassurance and compliments.
Despite her current friendship issues you should insist on her keeping up to date with her homework – explain that getting into trouble with her teachers is only likely to add to her unhappiness.
Although your daughter says she is not interested in anything, she would feel much happier and more confident in herself if she were able to find something that captured her interest and that she was good at. Talk through some options with her and if possible, look for activities that are outside school so that she can extend her friendship group with a new set of people. It may be that you will have to kick-start the process by doing something together, or as a family, to give her the start she needs to do something new on her own. Inevitably, social contact for young people is through a BlackBerry or iphone. However, once your daughter extends her circle of friends, she will enjoy more affirming contact via messaging as she will have a shared interest to focus on. Feeling positive about the new things she is doing will also help her feel happy with herself as she is.
Add my comment…
Nobody has posted any comments yet, why not be the first?