Love is in the AIR: Teen Girls + Relationships

It's Valentine's Day and love is in the air. We all know how important a girls first love is and how much influence it can have on her self-esteem. As a mentor, how can you ensure your mentee's self-worth stays intact, even if her relationship doesn’t?

When a girl feels good about herself, she is likely to be more realistic with herself and her expectations; she won’t be looking to be saved and expecting the fairy tale. Find any opportunity you can, every day, to let your daughter know how amazing she is on the inside and what a strong, independent young woman she’s growing into.

Here are a few action steps to help your daughter maintain a healthy attitude to teenage relationships:

  • Start a conversation . What does she think makes a good relationship? Talk to your daughter about what you think makes a relationship empowering and discuss with her what she thinks.

  • Praise a quality every day. Find a unique quality to praise your her for every day. Maybe it is a great personality trait you see in her, something she has accomplished or a good choice she has made. Building her self-esteem can help to give her the strength and confidence to be herself in a relationship.
  • Be a good role model. Be honest anddiscuss the messages she is getting from social media, reality tv etc.  If you need to adjust them, talk to her parent and do so. Be mindful that you may be the person she is most looking to for advice.
  • Focus her attention on herself. If your mentee has started “seeing someone,” or would like to, talk to her not just about what that person is like, but how they make her feel. Gently and tactfully help her appreciate that it is the latter that is important in a relationship.
  • Has she started to change? If your mentee has started changing — in how she dresses, her interests or who she hangs out with — since beginning a new relationship, ask her about these new aspects of her life. Show that you are interested in her life, but don’t automatically assume the changes are bad (her new relationship might be bringing her out of herself in a positive way). Make sure that the new things are choices she’s made, rather than things she’s doing to try to please someone else.

Also, get her thinking about what makes a healthy relationship... begin the conversation!

  • When your mentee swoons over the latest celebrity wedding dress, ask her what she thinks makes a good marriage.
  • When your mentee talks about a boy, ask her what she likes about him other than the way he looks.
  • When she talks about someone’s relationship, ask her what she thinks makes a good relationship; why does this relationship work.