Was it easier 40 or 20, or even 10 years ago to be a teenager?
Sophie Elkan, published a self-help book for girls last Spring, tackling the question of how parents can help.
The book is The Girl’s Guide to Growing Up Great and addresses “Changing Bodies, Periods, Relationships, Life Online”.
Illustrated by Flo Perry.
The first 3 of these issues have always been an issue of teenagers now and in the past, but the fourth is the new key in the discussion or growing up in the modern world: Life Online.
It is easy to say that every generation of teenagers had their own pressures, post war was a very different place as opposed to being an adolescent in the eighties.
The addition of Life Online, increases the focus on friendships and body image.
Elkan believes that parents need to be more upfront about the issue of body change but also the wide variety of situations in which girls are now being raised today.
Her book is intended to talk and be relevant to every girl, despite their family background and circumstances.
She recognises there is no joy is putting teenagers into pigeon holes but talking through the changes in your mind are the most bewildering. Sophie wants girls to understand that their physical changes and emotional changes are all linked.
As puberty is often spoken of as a ‘difficult’ time, Elkan would rather it was emphasised as a positive change and opportunity. A time to grow and embrace the future.
The other point that is important in the book, is to encourage parents to be more relaxed around their teenagers and avoid over interfering. Interfering can often make parents force their own ideas and tragedies onto their teenage girls.
It is so easy to see how a mother can pass on her weight issues to her girls, sending messages every time she moans and choose a low-fat food option.
The biggest influence is from the mother, not advertising or on line. Mothers are the number one role model for girls.
The main tips that come out of the book are to keep talking & remember this is a transition period, your girl might need different treatment throughout the day.
Remind your teenager that you, the mother was also 13 once!