Studies have shown that 53% of 13-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies. This number grows to 78% by the time girls are 17 years old. In today’s society where social media is flooded with celebrity teens posting selfies after spending hours in hair and makeup and photo editing software runs rampant, young girls are expecting perfection. Despite their best efforts to help their daughters develop a positive self-image, parents can have a difficult time taking on the flood of images reaching their daughters on their smart phones and computers, let alone combating online bullies and critics.
Rather than fighting an uphill battle, this year during National Teen Self-Esteem Month in May, parents can give their daughters an opportunity to escape the pressure of modern society. Instead of spending the summer hanging out with friends reading magazines, researching diet trends and devouring celebrity news, teen girls can learn life skills and develop a stronger sense of self at summer camp. If teens are not able to attend a summer camp, parents can help simulate the experience at home by following this advice from the Camping & Education Foundation.
· Create a daily reflection time. Whether your daughter wants to journal, do yoga, go for a jog or sit quietly in her room disconnected from technology, require her to take 30 minutes each day to reflect and evaluate how she is feeling, her needs and how to cope with any conflicts.
· Learn a new skill. Create opportunities for your daughter to learn a new skill. Whether it is mowing the lawn, learning to weave a basket, sew a skirt, change a tire, fix a leaking faucet or administer CPR, create an opportunity for your daughter to accomplish a task that seems challenging and unknown at first.
· Volunteer. Even if it is just a few hours a week, volunteering creates a sense of feeling needed for a teen. Other volunteers and the people they are serving will rely on your teen to help them accomplish common goals.
· Become a role model. Getting your daughter involved with babysitting or coaching younger children can help build self-esteem. Younger children will admire characteristics in your daughter that she might not value in herself and, younger children will not be jaded by societal views and peers so they won’t be afraid to tell your daughter what they think is great about her.
· Conquer a disconnection challenge. Support your daughter by creating a family disconnection challenge. One day a week turn off all cell phones, tablets, computers and other technology. Plan a family adventure like a walk in a local park, a backyard family game competition, cook dinner together and give each family member a task to complete the meal. Choose an activity that fits your family’s interests and even if your kids protest, insist everyone participate. This change in daily life can help kids step out of their normal worldview, and realize that hairstyles, clothes and other materialistic aspects of life they value and their friends value may not be as vital as they once seemed.
About The Camping and Education Foundation
The Camping and Education Foundation’s mission is to develop young men and women in body and spirit through wilderness experiences that celebrate a love of the outdoors. This mission is as strong today as it was ninety years ago when Camp Kooch-i-ching first opened its doors to young men on Deer Island and for the past ten years that Camp Ogichi Daa Kwe has been open for young women.