Talking to Teen and Tween Girls About Self Esteem

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For the majority of teen and tween girls, their looks have a tremendous impact on their self-esteem. Many girls avoid activities or stop doing things they love because of the way they feel about their looks. What can parents do? Join women across the county, October 5-7, when Dove will be holding a nationwide rally to talk about beauty, confidence and self-esteem. Commit to talk to the girl in your life during the weekend and beyond – it all starts with a conversation.

I remember being in junior high and high school and not wanting to go to school when I got a pimple. I was a good student but a little thing like a pimple made me feel ugly and my self-esteem was shot. Nobody ever spoke to me to help me get over this.

If you aren’t sure what to say to your daughters, download the Let’s Talk Toolkit on Dove’s Facebook Page. Created with Jess Weiner, Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador, this is a great resource for all women on starting a conversation in a simple way. Ask, Share, Listen and Act — you’ll find unintimidating ways to do make these a natural part of your talk about Self-Esteem.
What is in the Dove Let’s Talk Toolkit:

  1. Questions to ask your teen or tween daughter 
  2. Advice on sharing your own experiences
  3. When to listen
  4. Follow up your conversation with actions

I could not believe these statistics from Dove® research. It is so important for us to address girls’ anxiety about looks, as there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls’ confidence as they grow older. Key findings*  include:

  • Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004) 
  • Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves 
  • 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful 
  • 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty 
  • More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic
You can share your commitment to girls’ self-esteem with your friends on Facebook! Visit Dove’s Facebook Page to Send a Note of Confidence by selecting your message and sharing with your friends.
You will also find many other resources on the Dove Facebook page. Want to learn more and speak to other women about self-esteem? Dove will be kicking off the Self-Esteem Weekend with an inspiring Twitter Party on October 4 at 3pm ET! Join @Dove by using the hashtag #DoveInspired, where you’ll be able to ask @JessWeiner questions and advice with prizes from Dove.
It is a reflection on our society that young girls confidence and self-esteem is so tied to looks and beauty. And for many, this never goes away. I still find that I am more confident on days I feel I look good and on days that I am unhappy with my looks, my self-esteem plummets. Talk to your daughters now before it is too late.

See also: 
Self-Esteem in Girls and Women – More Info and Resources
Malala Day: Support Education for Girls

*SOURCE: Dove Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited

Disclosure: Thanks to Dove for sponsoring this discussion.

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  1. Self esteem is the best gift you can give your daughter. There is so much in society to undermine it.

  2. I was always concerned about self esteem while raising my children and always tried to compliment and talk to her through out her child hood and teenage years. Even now that she is a mother I continue to boost her self esteem and find she is doing a wonderful job doing the same for my grand children.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. Having 8 and 6 year old daughters I appreciate all the info I can get on raising self confident girls. Already I see in my 8 year old that image is important to her. I focus on her unbelievable artistic talents, her passion for reading and her kindness. It is so hard being a parent!!

  4. Kudos to Dove for supporting such an important cause.

  5. Those are such difficult years and it is great there are resources to use!

  6. Hi everyone, I’m a former University Dean and Associate Provost, trained therapist, researcher, educational consultant and author. My primary research focus is female self-esteem development among teens. I am presently working on a book called Girrl Up! Full E-steem Ahead, which is a compilation of interviews with teens girls on the topic of self-esteem while offering an effective and practical system designed to RAISE (Resilience, Attitude, Independence, Self-Respect & Empowerment) teen self-esteem.

    If you are looking for more self-esteem resources, I have a blog which offers practical information and tools to parents & teens.

    Thank you
    Dr Carol

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