I’ve worked with quite a few preadolescent and adolescent girls in counseling. Many of them feel depressed, hurt, ashamed, lonely, and confused for various reasons. My impression of them is that they are friendly, intelligent, funny, kind, and compassionate young ladies. Family and friends don’t notice or appreciate these wonderful qualities because they get wrapped up in the “don’t haves” or they're too busy with their lives.
Often times something about them (usually related to their outward appearance or intelligence) comes into question and they are teased or taunted for it. When they’ve been subjected to constant harassment, they begin to doubt or be very critical towards themselves. Consequently, they make poor choices when choosing their friends, don’t do well on their school work, may dabble with alcohol/drugs, and often find themselves in conflict their parents.
Some girls are afraid to be genuine because no one wants to be judged or left alone. I help them focus on their positive qualities, ask them what their goals and dreams are for their lives and not compare their lives to others who appear to have more than they do. Also, I encourage them to care more about their opinion of who they are rather than basing their sense of self on other’s opinion of them. Additionally, they need to give themselves credit for making healthy choices, being able to stand up for themselves and say “no” or working through a problem with their parents.