HOW PARENTS CAN BREAK THE BARRIERS WITH THEIR TEEN DAUGHTERS: USING THE LANGUAGE OF EMPOWERMENT
“That’s an interesting look.”
“Are you going out in that?”
“I was a Size 00 when I was your age.”
The comments parents make to their daughters matter. Oftentimes, the barrier of communication between parents and their teenage daughters is built on both sides. Mothers making offhand comments about their daughter’s outfits, hair or any other aspect of her physical appearance helps support the creation of the all-too-common walls between teens and the women they should be looking to as role models. The same goes for fathers, who oftentimes don’t know how the crack the teenage-girl code. There needs to be a better way to create an environment of open, honest and supportive communication between parents and teen daughters, that will give our growing girls the confidence to be comfortable in the skins they’re in.
The answer, says author and educator Naomi Katz, is to encourage young women to utilize language of empowerment. In her new book, BEAUTIFUL: Being an Empowered Young Woman (iBooks; March 8, 2016), Katz tells teen girls that it’s okay to celebrate the beauty within themselves and their peers. Touching on pertinent topics like social media, sexuality, peer pressure and even drug use, Katz emphasizes the importance of the words women use to describe themselves and each other in a culture wired to value physical beauty. With over 15 years’ experience working with young women in 4 continents, Katz can help parents learn:
- How to break the chain of insecurities that travels through generations
- Ways to approach their daughters about troubling issues such as sex and substance abuse
- A methodology for truly listening to the needs of teen girls
- Techniques to encourage body positivity during turbulent adolescent years
In an age where 75% of girls with low self-esteem engage in negative activities like bullying, cutting and substance abuse, the importance of a supportive parental structure cannot be stressed enough. Up to 70% of middle school-aged girls are dissatisfied with one to two aspects of their own bodies, with the time between ages 12 and 15 reported to be the worst. The adolescent years are some of the hardest that women have to traverse, and Katz has the verbal tools to help parents make the process of growing up easier for their daughters.
Written in the same vein of Peggy Orenstein’s seminal book, Girls & Sex, Katz hopes to broaden the conversation about the development of our teenage girls. In BEAUTIFUL, communication is key – not only to improving our girls’ sense of self, but for creating a culture of women who support each other.
My thoughts: I wish I had this book when I was a teenager! I dealt with a lot of what the author writes about in this book, the bullying (because I was shy), the body shaming (because I was extremely skinny with a flat chest) and the low self-esteem which was a result of my letting others decide how I felt about myself. I certainly wish I had the coping mechanisms that the author gives on how to think differently, remember your true beauty and worth, and not to let others ‘define’ the way you feel about yourself. You are beautiful!
Buy your copy of Beautiful-Being an Empowered Young Womanon Amazon
*Copy received. All opinions are my own.