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*** Updated August 2019 with new ideas and resources ***
Does this sound familiar? Or, maybe you’ve heard horror stories about this happening and worry it could be lurking around the corner for you?
The tween years are infamous for marking the beginning of the storm of emotions that can intensify as your daughter becomes a teen. It can often feel like it happens overnight.
It can feel that way for your daughter too.
As a tween girl, it feels scary when these new experiences of emotion hit.
During the tween years, your daughter is in-beTWEEN a lot of different developmental milestones. She feels all her complex emotions, but she doesn’t yet have the abstract thoughts to understand what’s happening.
This is the perfect time to introduce her to some tools she can use to learn to handle all of the new things she’s experiencing.
A roadblock many parents I work with come up against is that their daughters don’t want to talk to them about challenging emotions. I’ve learned that girls often feel embarrassed or vulnerable to share big emotions. Sometimes they feel ashamed. Sometimes, they simply want privacy.
Whatever the root of their aversion to talking, what all tween girls have in common is that they want relief.
They want to feel empowered to be able to handle difficult situations and emotions. They don’t always want to have to talk about it or be observed as they are exploring new territory.
These are things that give her the chance to explore on her own, bring her own personality to and experiment with. When you share ideas with your daughter in a way that’s a fit for her, it gives her the chance to build tools that will last a lifetime.
Chances are your tween girl is interested in music and enjoys zoning out with her headphones. You can help her use this interest in a conscious way to help her balance her emotions. This is always a favorite activity with my tween girl students.
Challenge your daughter to create music playlists to help balance or inspire an emotion.
— To balance out angry feelings, you might make a playlist of songs that help you feel calm and relaxed.
— To balance out feelings of sadness, create a playlist of songs that help you feel happy and cheerful.
— For times when you want to build your confidence and self-esteem, create a playlist that helps you feel powerful and strong.
Here’s an empowering song my daughter and I like to listen to on the way to school. I’m not sure whose confidence it builds more, mine or hers!
(‘Try Everything’ by Shakira is a good song to share with girls who struggle with associating their failures with their own self-worth or perfectionism.)
The inner critic you’re likely familiar with as an adult can emerge strongly for tween girls. This is when we can start to see negative self-talk developing in girls. They’re starting to compare themselves to others as a way of learning who they are.
Positive affirmations are such a good tool to introduce at this time!
Girls can learn ways to counteract the negative thoughts that come up and balance the emotions that come along with them.
Practice stating positive affirmations in the morning before school or at night before bed. Write them down and post them around the house as reminders.
Or, hang up a 108 Positive Affirmations Poster in your daughter’s room so she’ll constantly be surrounded by empowering language!
The great thing about using the tool of positive affirmations is that you can use them anytime and anywhere. You don’t need a special environment, money, an appointment, training, nothing but YOU!
Here are some examples of affirmations you can share with your daughter:
I am confident.
I am loved.
I can overcome my fears.
I am calm.
I am important.
Another benefit of positive affirmations is how you can easily tailor them to your personal needs and style. You and your daughter can use the examples above as inspiration to create affirmations that are unique to her.
Related Post: 108 Positive Affirmations to Empower Tween Girls
Tween girls are starting to have a lot of new things on their minds- from dealing with friends, siblings and school, trying to handle conflict on their own, to dealing with their changing body and emotions. This is a perfect time to introduce the practice of writing in a journal.
Journaling is an excellent tool for learning how to manage your emotions, build self-awareness and gain confidence.
Depending on her learning style, your daughter can write in a notebook or keep a journal on the computer, or maybe she wants to record her thoughts on video.
What matters most is that she have a safe, private space to explore her inner world and release her emotions.
Related Post: Journaling with Tween Girls
Your tween can free flow and write whatever comes to mind. It can also be helpful to use journal prompts as a way to spark inspiration.
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