So 2020 … it hasn’t exactly been the calmest of years, right? If you have a teenage daughter who is stressing out about the future, then it’s time for both of you to take a deep breath.
I’ve had plenty of insecurities in my own life. A few years ago I left my profession as a speech pathologist to start up Flourish Girl – a preventative mental health program offering online resources for teens and mother-daughter programs.
It was scary because I had no idea if it would be a success. I also started doing some modelling to build my brand, which was terrifying as I’d always had insecurities about my body. However, I’ve now modelling for awesome companies such as Supre, so I’m so glad I took the chance.
Whilst the pandemic, the economy, reduced social interactions and uncertainty are ruling everyone’s lives, here are some tips to help your daughter turn around these particular worries below.
Worry number 1: This pandemic will never end
Just like you, I don’t know when the pandemic will end either. However it’s important you let your daughter know that it’s a valid concern. The best we can do right now is to focus on what we can control. Talking about how the pandemic can actually serve us is a great conversation starter. This could be a good chance for her to learn about herself, her strengths, friends and family. You could even both reflect on what you’ve learnt together which will diffuse the anxiety. As a parent, it’s important to remain positive and calm but also authentic.
Worry number 2: I’ll get a bad ATAR score
Firstly, let your daughter know that her ATAR score doesn’t define her. Yes, it’s good to strive for great marks, but I know many friends who didn’t get into uni or their preferred course the first go, but then ended up making it work. Let her know there are other pathways to her desired course. If she misses out, she can always lean on the services at universities and colleges. They will help her map out a pathway. Also, share stories of times where you didn’t get the marks you wanted or something that can relate to her stress. If COVID-19 challenges have caused her grades to slip she can also talk to her teachers. I wish I’d leaned on my teachers more – it’s part of their job to be there for you!
Worry number 3: I’ll never get a job
Firstly, your daughter should stop catastrophizing that she’ll never get a job and will end up a homeless bag lady. Of course, she’ll get a job and it’ll most likely be one she loves! Why not share what your journey was to getting a job you really wanted. As each year passes tell her to start tuning out what others think and ponder what she’s passionate about. Sometimes qualifications aren’t what employers want to see first. In my first year as a graduated speech pathologist, my old boss mainly hired me because she saw my passion for the work and potential.
Worry number 4: Home life is killing me
Are you both stressing out that you may end up living together forever? Or perhaps your daughter wants to live at home as long as possible to save money but you’re not up for that? When it comes to post-Year 12 plans, your daughter needs to have honest conversations with you about her living arrangements. If she finds home life challenging, she needs to ask herself, why do I find it hard to spend time with my family? What emotions am I feeling? Has there been past experiences that are shaping my current mindset around this? Are our relationships likely to improve once I’m more independent? Allow her to share how she’s feeling and your expectations so you’re on the same page.
Worry number 5: I’ll never get a boyfriend
We hear the “I don’t have a boyfriend” worry time constantly in our school programs. Girls think they need to be in a relationship when they’re in high school to fit in. I can say from experience, that it’s totally okay to not have a boyfriend right now! There are so many things girls can focus on instead such as their dreams and strengths. Love is something you can’t schedule. Let her know the perfect time will come. You could even share the time you met her dad – if that’s appropriate of course!
Worry number 6: I won’t ever look like those girls on Instagram
Here’s a personal revelation – I had small boobs in high school and I still have them! I struggled with this a lot growing up. The thing that helped was realising that my body was uniquely created just for me. It’s not healthy for girls to focus all their energy on trying to change their body – particularly if some areas are difficult to change. If your daughter is looking at ‘perfect bodies’ on Instagram all day, suggest she unfollows those accounts. Knowing your worth comes from who you are and not your looks. People will remember the difference she makes in this world, not how many Insta photo likes she gets.
Worry number 7: My friends don’t really like me
If your daughter is feeling insecure about friendships and hasn’t been able to connect as much due to restrictions, suggest she muster the courage to tell her friends what she’s thinking. The conversation could go, “Hey, I feel a bit nervous to say this, but I’m worried you’ll forget about me because we’re not hanging out all the time”. It’s incredible how much friendships can grow if you’re a little vulnerable. She might find some friends may be feeling the same thing but didn’t have the guts to say it out loud!
For more information on Flourish Girl visit www.flourishgirl.org
What are your daughters (or sons) stressing about? Tell us in the comments below.