Dr. Carol J. Eagle's Self-Esteem Guide For Mothers of Teenage Daughters

11 - 13 YEAR OLDS
Give her concrete signs of her growing maturity such as letting her begin babysitting, making her responsible for weekly grocery shopping, increasing allowance to include a clothes allowance.

Help her set limits while starting to let her go. She still has to maintain a bedtime, but move it a little later and give her the freedom to spend more time with her friends after school.

Emphasize the two A's - academics and athletics.

Heap her with a lot of loving praise to help her deal with her changing body. This is a difficult time for girls. No matter how pudgy, bumpy, or chubby your daughter may be at this time, her body will continue to change in an unpredictable way. Don't dwell on the body at this age. Help her understand she is in the process of change.

14 - 16 YEAR OLDS
Help her broaden her view of herself and the world. Have conversations with her about where she sees herself fitting in at school, with friends, and her community. Look for activities that support her interests.

Help her develop good values. Welcome conversation about sex, aids, drugs, smoking; issues that warrant your input.

Help her in increasing her autonomy. Enrolling her in activities that support her likes and goals will help to build her confidence and make her more comfortable with making her own decisions.

17 + YEARS
Be specific with her about her future plans.

Let her know increased freedom brings with it some mistakes. Don't criticize her for mistakes she s made with that freedom. Help her learn from them.

Back her up and give her support in her endeavors (even if you have questions about them).

Be available to your daughter for ongoing discussion about her body, her looks, her relationships, her interests, etc. But remember, you are her mother, not her best friend. Indulge in girl talk but know when to give her guidance from your perspective as mom.


Adapted from All That She Can Be, Dr. Carol J. Eagle and Carol Colman, Fireside Press, 1994