What can be done to protect girlsat this particularly vulnerable age?
As hormones surge, adolescents and their bodiess are changing. They begin to pull away from their parents. This is a time when girls need their parents' support but often reject it. It is essential that parents remain a support system because the key is to provide support before a girl becomes addicted, depressed or promiscuous
The work of nationally known psychologist and author Mary Pipher is a guidepost for helping girls grow into healthy womanhood. Pipher recommends that girls be taught to arm themselves with knowledge so they can fight back. "With insight into the impact our culture has on their growth and development, girls learn that they can make conscious choices," Pipher says. "Intelligent resistance keeps the true self alive."
In addition to following expert advice, parents can also exert great influence by creating a home that offers both affection and structure. Parents should send the message "I love you, but I have expectations." A girl's love and respect for her parents can keep her life on track during adolescence and beyond.