According to a recent government study into the mental wellbeing of 30,000 teenagers, girls are more than twice as likely to suffer symptoms of mental ill-health. In fact, the number of teenage girls suffering from psychological distress has surged in the past decade to now more than a third.
The proportion of girls with anxiety or depression has risen by 10 per cent in a decade. Those from more affluent and better-educated families had worse symptoms than those from less-advantaged backgrounds - The Times, 22 August, 2016
Over the past decade, there has been a significant change in young peoples' belief that they can influence their destiny. Experts say that there is clear evidence of a "slow-growing epidemic” of mental health issues among young people and call for a new strategy to reverse the trend. So what accounts for this rising issue? Some blame the proliferation of social media, preventing young people from “switching off” from peer pressure and making them more insecure. Others suggest that the global recession put more pressure on young people to achieve, while also reducing their confidence that they could control their own destinies. And the media has long been blamed for relegating females to a role of passivity whereby they await rescue rather than taking action to determine their fate.
Having just come across these disconcerting statistics, I am left with a strong sense of duty towards the women of tomorrow to help in any way we can towards empowering them to feel in charge of their lives and help to equip them with the skills to navigate its pressures and challenges.
So how can we empower the next generation of women and help them feel confident and believe they can accomplish whatever they set their mind to?
Having a young toddler myself, it seems as though when kids are really young it's almost effortless for them to feel this way - so much so, that sometimes we secretly wish they weren’t quite so eager to take the world by storm! Most toddlers are naturally self-assured and fearless in making their biggest impact on the world around them. So why, as they grow up, does this get in some way beaten out of our children, why do they then feel compelled to take life so seriously and cautiously, afraid and self-conscious of the mark they may leave? And, more importantly, what can we do to help them?
How can we all contribute to ensuring that young women hold on to and develop their natural super-girl within? Having done some research in to this, here are a few tips from what I have found:
- Complement her on their intellect, work ethic, attitude and personality, rather than her looks - of course, it is good to tell your daughter she is beautiful, but make 90% of those compliments about her inner beauty, and 10% on her appearance.
- Ask for and respect her opinion - assure her that what she thinks matters by constantly asking for her view and what she thinks about various topics. Ask her why she believes what she does, encourage her to debate and defend her stance. Make sure she knows that stating what she thinks is a good thing, that being opinionated and direct is a positive female trait.
- Expose her to lots of strong female role models - point out all those women around her, both in real life and in the media, who are making a real impact on the world, who are strong, self-assured and empowered, and following their passions with absolute authenticity and unapology.
- Help her keep things in perspective - encourage her to consider the bigger picture of life. It's never too early to start living consciously and developing a mindset of being in charge of your life and the choices you make every moment of each day. Ask her what she loved about each day. Help her to set goals and challenge herself.
- Encourage her to imagine her biggest, boldest dream - don't poo poo her dream to become an astronaut or create a billion-dollar app, empower her to break through her own glass ceiling and any limiting beliefs that will prop it up.
- Take her hand as she steps out of her comfort zone - encourage and support her to be brave and try new things. Most of us develop confidence by experiencing mastery of a new skill that we were initially afraid to do or were simply unfamiliar with. When she is struggling with a new skill, remind her of the other times she’s learned something new. Build her confidence in this way and help her to feel capable and accomplished.
As a society of established women, we need to band together to create an environment where young women of today are consistently reminded that they are amazing, capable, interesting and strong, and in that environment, she will be compelled to reach for the stars and know that we have got her back while she is doing so.
Mother and Daughter Coaching Programme
Work with your daughter to empower her to stand proud as the girl she is and become the best woman she is truly capable of being!
I am offering a special coaching programme for mums and daughters, whereby you can support your daughter to better understand who she is, what her passions and dreams are, what her strengths and skills are, and equip her with the practical tools and skills to set herself goals and scope out her own pathway of life.
This is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the bond with your daughter, have some high-quality mum-daughter time, and help her develop the greatest gift anyone could bestow - a strong sense of self and an assurance that it is enough.
Contact me today for more details or book your first session.
Full details can be found at http://www.leadingladycoaching.co.uk/group-programme/mother-daughter-coaching-programme