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Ask Michelle – Your “Family Therapist” – UNDERSTANDING ADOLESCENT GIRLS

ADOLESCENT GIRLSby MICHELLE CAVALERI, LCSW-R,
Wedding Officiant in all 50 US States and Certified NYS Divorce Mediator

UNDERSTANDING ADOLESCENT GIRLS 

One of the most significant ways girls are challenged today is in managing the ins and outs of their friendships. Girls are wired to connect and to form close bonds with other girls. Having friends and a group become uber important from grade school on up, setting them up for a wild ride of fluctuating relationships and emotions. The following are tensions girls experience within their friendships:
1. Longing for connection while protecting themselves from loss, pain, and rejection.
2. Needing to be liked for themselves vs. needing to please, fit in.
3. How can they say what they think and do what they want and still be accepted?
4. Preserving their authenticity vs. doing anything for their friends’ acceptance.
5. If they show friends their true self and they disapprove, will they be able to cope?
6. Protecting themselves by not revealing too much but then being lonely because no one really knows them or their true feelings.
7. Show only a false self but feeling ashamed and worried about being found out.
8. Being loyal and betraying a friend’s trust vs. being included and in the loop.
9. Needing friends to really understand them vs. needing privacy and trust.
10. Longing to be like an “idealized” friend vs. being themselves and being aware of the friend’s limitations.
11. Reaching out to anyone to not be alone vs. only reaching out to friends who are good for them and to them.
12. Socialized to be a “good girl” vs. expected to be independent, ambitious, competitive and aggressive.
13. Working hard to be popular: 24/7 job with no vacation or fun time!
14. Feeling bad for excluded girls but being unpopular is a “communicable disease” so can’t associate or hang with them.
Girls feel torn between tensions, causing them to feel stressed, confused, guilty, frustrated, worried and out of control. They feel stressed and confused because they can’t decide which direction to take. Their heart and intuition are telling them one thing, but the culture ad their peers are saying something else. Guilt comes when they make choices they know are out of sync with who they are, their values, and what they intuit to be right. Girls become frustrated as thy try to figure out how to make it in their friendship circles. Who’s’ happy and who’s mad fluctuate minute by minute, and it’s hard to know where you stand. You think you’ve done everything right and wham, another expected drama erupts!
IT’S NOT EASY BEING AN ADOLESCENT GIRL THESE DAYS!
South Shore Counseling & Mediation Center is a full service mental health agency, offering family counseling, therapeutic counseling for individuals, (adults, adolescents & teens), couples, a variety of behavioral and psycho-educational programs, and child custody and divorce mediation. To speak with one of our therapists or mediators, please call 631-286-8282, or e-mail us at contact@sscounseling.net, or visit our website, www.southshorecounselingcenter.net.

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