At some point in the life of a teenage girl, she may have felt shy, or withdrawn from her usual bubbly self. While this may not be applicable to everyone, there are a lot of girls out there, who find it difficult to make friends; they are really shy and find it difficult to start up conversations, or join a group of peers they want to make friends with. You often find them standing in an isolated corner, tying away on their phones and acting disinterested in everything going on around them. More often than not, they do not want to be in that corner;Trust me, I should know, I was that kind of teen.
Parents, guardians and friends may say stuff like; “you’re too shy or you’vegot to step a bit out of your comfort zone”, not caring to find out what her “comfort zone”really is, often times, her comfort zone is not in that corner typing away on her phone. Others may have dished out advice like “You need to find a common ground to converse about if you’re ever going to form a true friendship, or try talking to everyone, whenever the opportunity shows up”. These are some pretty common advice, and they are even easier to dish out. We leave it in the hands of the shy teen and to step out of their comfort zones, and start up conversations and oftentimes, they do not make much headway with that. They are branded names like shy, introvert or withdrawn. We do not consider how many times she has walked past in the school halls and heard some snickering or giggles, and turned around and walking away with the impression that the snickering was directed at her. How does she start a conversation when she is constantly feeling awkward or left out?
I could go about it like everyone else and dish out some really good advice on how to start up a conversation, or how to fit into the right peer group, but that’s not what I want to do. How about, we try taking some responsibility for those shy teens and go the extra mile to help them out of that comfort zone? She may very well be the most interesting person you’ve ever come across. I got help in several ways and it wasn’t all by personal effort.
Here are some tips that I think can help us better guide our “shy” teenage girls out of their comfort zone to help them live their lives with its full potential.
Tell Her You Believe in Her
LikeI said earlier, I was one of the shy ones, so how did I become this brand new person after one long vacation? Someone told me I believe in you, and she said it so often, I began to believe in myself. I had my mum saying that to me as often as I needed to hear it, I had my dad, and I had this amazing aunt that I admired. They all worked together and here I am today. Why don’t you do the same for that teenage girl who’s always in the corner?
In a piece from Samantha Ettus the bestselling American author, she said “when I hosted my internet talk show, I interviewed 75 guests. All were super successful in dramatically different fields and all had one thing in common – parents who told them repeatedly that they could achieve anything they set their minds to. Give your daughter this message – and repeat it.”
I think she hit the nail on the head, what do you think?
Get Her Outside
People said I loved the indoors and they often left me there, in a way I did like the indoors, however, I make a damn good sprinter. How would I have known that if had remained indoors with my scrabble and chess board games?
Encourage your teenage daughters to play outdoors; they may give some excuses like I used to, citing the sun, the rain or the noise outdoors. Give her comfort to play outdoors, this will help her build some confidence and instill in her a greater sense of her body as a source of strength as well asteach her to take healthy risks.
Citing Teen advocate Debbie Reber, she said: “push them outside their comfort zone, they realize that no matter the outcome, they survived and have the strength to face any challenge.” So introduce her to tree climbing, bug collecting, and camping – even if you prefer being indoors.
I can relate to that, and by the time I showed up in school after a long vacation of honing my sprinting skills, I but Bluebell house at the top of the chart.
Pursue Her Interests
Parents and guardians often make the mistake of shutting down interests of their wards. Maybe not as often as in my days, but it still goes on. It is very important to show your daughter that her interests are taken seriously; some may ask how do you do that; or how do you find out what her interests are? There are ways to do that.
Quoting Ellen Galinsky, the author of Mind in the Making, she says “Take the things that your daughter shows an interest in and help build on and deepen those so that ultimately she has a passion for something.”
Many parents in the past have neglected the interests of their daughter and shoved their own interests and expectations down their teen’s throats, some teens are strong willed enough to state their interests, others go with the stronger opinion of their parents. Thinking about my teen days, I had a lot of scrap books and folders where I drew up items of fashion and designs. I really had no business in the field of science, yes; I was good with Mathematics and Chemistry, but if I was to choose at the time, I would have put in more effort growing my fashion skills. I’m not complaining though, I found my part and how to marry my passion for fashion with what I do today.
Bottom line is, give her idea a chance and if possible, help her make it better, she will excel better, doing what she loves.
Minimize the Princesses
Samantha Ettusonce said that when her daughter was at age four, she asked her what princesses do and the little girl answered: “They clean houses and they wait for princes to marry them.” Wow! Trust me; you do not want your girl to grow up cleaning houses and waiting for a prince to marry her.
There is nothing wrong with your daughter knowing that she is beautiful and building a confident personality, but focusing her completely on her beauty and femininityis definitely the wrong direction.
They should know that there is more to life. I cannot talk about me right here, because I didn’t feel pretty most of my teen years, “which is not exactly good either”; but I remember some girls back in the day who only had beauty in their skulls. Talk about shallow, I can assure you most of them that I have come across lately have similar lives, mostly looking back at those days and saying: who would have thought, that ugly duckling would end up here?
So let’s reshape their thinking, if you’re not already doing that, encourage her towards other productive aspects of her personality.
Parent with Empathy
Sometimes, we may not completely agree with our daughter’s views or ways of seeing things, but let’s not forget almost every one of us had at some point found ourselves feeling that no one understands us. You don’t necessarily have to agree with her to show some empathy about how she feels. Showing some empathy makes your child know that she matters and that her feelings are important to you.
Showing empathy as a parenting helps the teen towards a feeling of greater self-worth.
Help Her Love Her Looks
Now this is very important and we should live by example too. Do not go complaining and whining about your shape and size over and over in the presence of your daughter, trust me you’re not giving her a lot of reasons to love her looks and body.
If your daughter finds you loving your body irrespective of the shape or size, she will grow up to loving hers too. Never put down your own body in front of your daughter and don’t have a “wardrobe crisis” in her presence. Go with the first outfit you try on.
Show some body confidence to teach her body confidence.
Sign Up for Sports
Putting your daughter in sports at an early age makes her appreciate her body for its strength rather than just its beauty. Michelle Obama has a policy that each daughter plays one sport of her choice and one that her mom chooses for them.
Maybe we should find a way to adopt her policy, be it volleyball, racquetball, soccer, tennis or golf. Let’s get her going towards appreciating her body.
Show Interest in Her Academics
It is very important to show interest in your daughters academic life, get involved in her school PTA if you can, attend their events, help her check the homework, volunteer at the school science project. Do what you can to demonstrate that academics are important by showing an interest in her academic life.
The results are much more rewarding than hiring a governess.
When we put in this much effort, we will definitely help me out of that “Comfort Zone”