Working with teenage stress: a parents’ toolkit

Whilst I have been researching and planning this series of blogs, I have found myself gazing at the photograph of my daughter, sitting proudly on my desk. In fact, what has entranced me the most is the look of sheer joy on her face. My daughter is living in the moment, having fun with her brothers and worrying about nothing. I love it. She loves life and she knows what she wants. She has told me with huge conviction that, when she is older, she is going to be a vet and nothing is going to stop her — the world is her oyster. Jessica is 5 years old. The reason this hits so hard is that, whilst I adore this quality in my young daughter, I have been absorbed in research regarding the deteriorating mental health of our teenage girls. How do we prevent our daughters from losing that natural confidence and passion for life? Why are seeing increasingly worrying headlines about teenage stress and anxiety?

Thankfully, as parents, there is so much we can do and that is why this series of blogs has been created. Each week we will look at key issues affecting the success and confidence of our teenagers and, together with a range of experts, we will provide you with resources to help you understand and support your own aspiring girl.

To equip ourselves to lead our teenagers towards happier and more fulfilling lives, there are three simple tools we need:

  1. An understanding of our own children

Luckily, this is something of which are already an expert. No other people alive can know your daughter as well as you do. You have seen her at her best and, almost certainly, at her worst! You experience her joys and passions but, equally, you witness her anger and frustration. You know her interests and you know her dislikes. At times, the cause of her anger or bad mood will be a mystery to you and, often, it can be a mystery to her! However, the most important tool you have is your own instinct and understanding about your own child. No two children are the same and the importance of your own knowledge should never be under-estimated.

2. Access to the right expert guidance and advice

Now, I am speaking here as both a parent and a professional and, I have to say, I constantly feel overwhelmed with the excess of information available on the internet. Which authors should I follow? Which article is based upon solid research and which news articles are nothing more than pure sensationalism? Even the most reputable of news agencies have me despairing at times, as we are told the latest shocking statistics and the worst case scenarios for our children. Rarely does the news provide us with suggestions and strategies to avoid these potential crises. If we focused on every news article that is published regarding teenage girls, we could send ourselves into an absolute state of despair!

Within this blog series, we will cover a wide range of issues, filtering out the less useful information, and providing you with practical advice and suggestions.

3. Knowing when to intervene and when to step back

So, you know your daughter well and you have access to useful and practical guidance but when is it right to intervene? How much involvement should there be on your part? We know that the development of our children partly comes down to them making their own mistakes and discoveries. However, if you are like many parents, you will not only worry at times about the issues that arise but also whether you are taking the right action and intervening to the right extent. Over the next few months, as we focus on different issues, this is one important factor that we will consider.

We will aim to cover as many issues and concerns relating to our teenage girls as we can. We are always keen to hear from you, so please do let us know if there are any specific areas you would like to see covered during our blog series. We look forward to sharing our ideas and knowledge with you, as we work together to build a stronger, more confident future for our teenage girls.

About the author and The Aspiring Girls Club

Alex Newbert is a UK based teacher and private tutor, working with children and teenagers from the ages of 6 to 16. She has extensive experience of supporting children throughout their studies and preparing them for exam success.

Alex is the founder of The Aspiring Girls Club — an online membership site for girls in Years 9, 10 and 11, which provides invaluable support and guidance, helping girls to develop confidence and success.

Resources within the Club include: online maths and English tutorials, accessible at any time; expert-led workshops covering a vast range of topics from managing exam stress to overcoming stage fright; study planning workshops; and career guidance.