“Physical intimacy is intoxicating like alcohol. It will cloud your judgment, inhibit critical thinking, and make you do things that later you may regret. And the consequences for girls are usually more devastating than for boys.”- unknown author
Top 3 things teen girls want/need based on personal interviews with teens include
- Wanting to be liked
- Having confidence in themselves
- For some, but no all “to be more popular”
However, they often don’t associate being able to gain these things when they feel that they lack beauty, talent, luck, or wealth. That is why it is difficult for any young teenage girl to grasp the fact that success in life or relationships is not determined by ones ability to be or look as perfect as a center-fold model. Where do girls get these ideals: Try everywhere! Here are few examples:
1. Movie stars, singers, and other performer’s bodies are cropped on computers and presented to young women through the media as ideal
2. Friend groups begin to form based on dress, popularity, and personality.
3. Their bodies begin to change, boys starts to notice and respond. This experience is like shell shock to some young women, and cause questions to cycle in the mind such as “What do I do, what does all this mean?”
4. Suddenly, what was simple before becomes complicated and what once meant absolutely nothing now means everything. For these reasons teenagers will seek out doctors for minor acne problems etc.
Christian singer and Song Writer, Johnny Diaz puts this view in perspective in the word’s of his song “More beautiful you”
Little girl 14
Looking through a magazine
Say’s she wants to look that way
But her hair isn’t straight
Her body isn’t fake and she’s
Always been overweight
Little girl 14
I wish that you could see that beauty is within your heart
And I can promise you,
There’s a man whose love is true that will treat you like the jewel you are
Despite Johnny’s well meaning words here in the last line and an overall decrease in pregnancy rates and sexual activity among teens, many young teen girls are falling in what they believe is “love” too quickly and as a result are paying painful consequences that show up in my office as depression and suicidal ideation.
The U.S. teen pregnancy rate for teens aged 15-19 decreased 40 percent between 1990 and 2005. After reaching 117 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 in 1990, the pregnancy rate has decreased to 70.6 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 in 2005. (Pregnancy data include births, abortions, and miscarriages.
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS) was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1990 to monitor teen sexual behavior, tobacco and alcohol use, and other behaviors. The survey is conducted every two years and provides data on 9th through 12th grade students in public and private schools in the United States. In 2007, 47.8 percent of all high school students report they have had sexual intercourse. The percentage of high school students who have had sex decreased 16 percent between 1991 and 2007 (54.1 percent to 47.8 percent)
So what do girl’s need to know to protect themselves?
- How to say “No” and not feel guilty?
- What a “Working Relationship” looks like?
Jessica D. Cleveland, M.S.,LPC, NCC
There will be a follow up article for these questions.