Teen girls hear so many messages through the media, politics and in their everyday lives that say that women are not equal to men, should be a certain weight, and can only do certain things in life. It is no wonder that many struggle with insecurities during those fragile teen years. As a parent, you can counter these negative messages by encouraging and empowering your teen daughter, as well as other girls with whom you are close, to stand up and challenge these messages with their words and their voices.
Plan a teen poetry night. See if you can rent out a space at a local community center or perhaps a locally-owned coffee shop for the poetry invite. Invite your teen daughter's friends to the event. Send out invitations inviting the girls to write any type of poem about things teen girls or women in general deal with, such as the pressures of dating in high school or choosing a career path that is considered non-traditional for women.
Help your teens start a girl's newsletter. Your teen and her girlfriends could start a monthly newsletter focused on positive things related to teen girls. It can include articles on teen girls who have started a business, philanthropic teens and advice on self-image. Your teen can offer her newsletter to school friends through printed copies, as well as to the greater community by posting it online through social media or her blog.
Help teens champion a local cause for girls. Maybe the boys' sports teams get higher budgets than the girls at your teen daughter's school, or the local school board is banning spaghetti straps at school dances. Encourage your teen and her friends to voice their concerns by starting a letter-writing campaign to the local city government, speaking out at school board meetings, or starting petitions.
Encourage your teen to run for a leadership position. Whether she's interested in running for class president or just president of the science club, let her know that words are powerful, and she can use them to make positive changes to her class or group no matter how small. Show her videos of powerful women leaders making poignant speeches to help with her own campaign speech. Win or lose, your teen will feel empowered knowing she was able put her voice and opinions out there.
Practice everyday empowerment to your teen girl by encouraging her to voice her opinions, respectfully, at family meetings, allowing her to occasionally take the lead on family dinner, or having a voice on where to go for the next family vacation.