Melbourne, Feb 23: Girls can now go wrong at age 14 compared to the previously said age of 18, a parenting expert has claimed.
Steve Biddulph told the Daily Telegraph that it is important to stay very close to your daughter and know what is going on and have boundaries as they won’t be very good at setting them herself.
“If a girl is going to go wrong, it will be at 14,” the Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying.
Biddulph cited girls being treated as a sexual commodity, mean girls, body image, alcohol abuse and the online world as the five main hazards.
The risk areas that attack a girl’s “spirit more than her body” are completely different to the world which their parents knew while they were growing up.
Two decades ago the pressures of social media, texting, fashion and diet advice and reality TV just didn’t exist.
The relentless pressure, which has led to eating disorders, poor body image and anxiety can devastate the teenage years.
He said that anxiety and depression have doubled in the last 10 years and girls’ suicide levels are increasing – whereas in boys it is going down.
He added that when girls are anxious they also get nasty and the nasty girls at school are the ones with the least parental love and support.
Mean-girl syndrome first raises its head in primary, consuming girls up till the age of 10 as they try to work out how to deal with friends and tricky social situations.
Once girls are equipped with the skills to handle other girls, the teenage jungle looms.
Raising Girls, the companion to the million-selling two-decade-old Raising Boys, is the result of parents demanding help with their girls.
“In our generation a 10-year-old girl woke up on a Saturday morning and thought ‘what am I going to do today’. Now she thinks ‘what am I going to wear today’.
“There is a reason why 14 is 14 and not 18. Your brain is very different. A 14-year-old has a brain that is melting down – they are hopeless at thinking things through.
“All the problems – eating disorders, binge drinking and cutting – are anxiety disorders with the same common cause but it depends on the girl how it plays out.” (ANI)