Drama! Ohio Girls Face Pressure From Relationshipsnewby.17 | March 21, 2011
For all the parents of teenage girls out there, does it seem as if your daughter’s life is constantly filled with DRAMA? They do too! Recently the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio commissioned a study of over 2,000 girls with diverse backgrounds, from Central Ohio. The girls ranged in age from 5th to 12th grade. The study was interested in learning more about the things that girls feel as the important issues they are dealing with.
Overwhelmingly, what seemed to rule the thoughts of the tweens and teens? Dating and friends. When asked what are “some of the big things that girls your age are dealing with,” girls in the 5th through 7th grade rated ‘friendships’ as the top choice, with ‘dating’ coming in second with all but the 5th graders. After the 7th grade, the top choices switch, with ‘dating’ coming in as a top stressor, and ‘friendships’ coming in behind.
Another interesting finding from this study of girls in Central Ohio was that they would rather talk to other girls their own age than adults, even adults other than their parent. The girls often felt that adults didn’t understand them, and didn’t really listen to them and what was going on. Perhaps the adults were too quick to try to downplay the importance of the issues the girls were going through. While from an adult perspective we may be able to realize that fighting with a friend or breaking up with a romantic interest is not “the end of the world,” to these teens that are very focused on peer and romantic relationships, and may have fragile self-esteem, these things can feel like a world altering dramatic event. In the Executive Summary of the findings, author Lisa Hinkelman offers the following analysis to parents of tween and teen girls:
“While adults have the benefit of wisdom and experience — they must recognize that a girl’s only experience is her current situation. When she goes through a difficult relationship, she does not want you to tell her that, “There are other fish in the sea” or “I know how you feel”. Rather, she wants you to validate her intense emotions and realize that her feelings and experiences are all new to her. She wants to be listened to, trusted, supported, and encouraged.”
To learn more about the study or the findings, you can find a link at the website for the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio: www.womensfundcentralohio.org.