5 psychological landmines of teen girls

Is this normal?

I get asked this question... a lot.  Girls ask it in session and parents are often seeking affirmation about what they are witnessing in their daughter.

The teen years offer a lot of change.  It does help to have knowledge about what is typical of this time.   As she is moving through adolescence there are 5 psychological/developmental landmines she must learn to navigate successfully.  The more you understand this rough terrain the more you can help her.

On a very deep level she begins to wrestle with these thoughts and questions.   It's not that you necessarily need to explain these to her but it's good for helping you manage expectations and to coach her through the challenges.

Identity - Who am I? What do I value? What do I believe?  Identity development is just beginning at this time.  With her increased thinking abilities she can now begin to consider these questions.  Many of the choices she will make will be in an attempt to figure out her identity.

Autonomy - Individuality and uniqueness.  Autonomy is often times a significant source of stress for parents.  It is natural and normal for her to begin to establish a sense of individuality.  You will see trying new things and looking for ways to prove herself.  Friendship changes can result as she is trying to be uniquely herself.  Do I matter? is a common question.

Intimacy - Feeling loved and valued through connected relationships.  This is very important and often a source of great distress for girls.  If family relationships are strained, friendship changes are happening and dating relationships are rocky the result is often despair, depression and stress. She needs to feel loved and valued and she will seek it out at all costs.

Sexuality - Her body begins to wake up and take notice of changes and feelings.  It is common and normal for her to begin noticing her own sexuality and the sexuality of others.  Often there is some level of experimentation.  It is critical that healthy discussions are happening at home because if not she will find the info elsewhere... be sure of that!  ALL teen girls are curious... and ALL teen boys are as well.

Empathy - The ability to consider someone else's perspective starts to take shape.  Learning to be empathetic is a major developmental task of the teen years.  When this is not properly developed, excessive entitlement and selfishness rules.  This will not just develop entirely on it's own.  It has be fostered by her family by consistently teaching her the value of others.  A hallmark of high Emotional Intelligence is a solid sense of empathy.

I will definitely be covering each of these in more depth as we journey through this exciting time.  Let me know what areas you could use some clarification about.  Feel free to add in comments below or message me on Facebook.