WHOA. Being a teenager in the 70's and 80's was way more straightforward than today. Even the 90's – which was all about keeping your Tamagotchi alive (remember them!?).
Whereas now, teens and tweens are being bombarded by unrealistic images of perfection thanks to social media and, er, Kylie Jenner (!!) and have become slaves to their screens.
It’s time to put the fun & soul back into this era and raise young women and men who are bursting with self confidence and self esteem – and *not* reliant upon external measures.
Here are a few conversations we really ought to be having with our teens and tweens instead.
Pressure to get higher grades, make friends and look like the models in the magazines is exhausting and can also lead to teen self esteem issues.
An awesome (and easy) way to boost your teen’s self confidence – naturally – is to get them doing something physical. Endorphins are nature’s way of making us feel ah-mazing.
Talk to them about taking up surfing, skateboarding, yoga, running, martial arts - anything that gets your teenager off the couch, connected with their bodies and breath, outside in the fresh air and away from their screen is a winner and a serious stress reliever.
After all, eating healthy, sleeping enough, moving more and drinking lots of water usually solves most problems!
ACTION STEP: Organise a weekend hike or take them on a health retreat filled with lots of fun, nourishing foods and movement to teach them from a young age how nourishing oneself is a beautiful act of self love.
On the topic of self love… loving yourself should be easy, right? But when you’ve got the world on your shoulders (or is it just a chip?) loving who you are can be hard.
Teaching teens the importance of self-love is one of the best lessons they can learn.
Self-love brings with it feelings of self-worth which leads to self-empowerment. And we all know empowering oneself is the springboard that propels you to achieve your goals and fulfil your dreams.
Educate your teen on the importance of not allowing other people’s opinions to dictate how they feel about themselves, how speaking kind words to themselves can make a world of difference and why small acts of self love (a cup of herbal tea vs a can of cola or a face mask vs a night out underage drinking) can really impact how much they love themselves.
ACTION STEP:Let’s go back to the timeless saying, “beauty lies in the eyes of a beholder”. Give them a mirror and ask them to look at themselves with their own eyes, not borrowed eyes of a critic, to see how wonderfully perfect they are. Tell them to smile and admire their minor imperfections which are always beautiful no matter what anyone else says. Mirror work is pretty powerful, especially when it’s done from a young age.
Okay, so we might moan when our teen spends two hours in the bathroom but it’s their form of ‘me-time’. So why not encourage them to indulge as much as they can, the non-toxic way?
Most teens live in a cloud of toxic hair spray and synthetic makeup, doing more damage than it’s worth to their internal health and external skin (hello angry breakouts!).
You can help getting them acquainted with non-toxic skin and makeup products which can be a fun way for the both of you to bond and partake in some rituals together.
When it comes to organic, natural products, it’s hard to go wrong. Educating them on the potential toxic ingredients in a lot of skincare products, and why natural products will not only help them feel better about themselves but can lead to Taylor Swift-worthy clear skin, they’re bound to jump on the green beauty bandwagon quicksmart (and you can breathe out a sigh of relief knowing they’re at least improving one area of their lives).
Help them discover non-toxic beauty (like our Teenage Skin range - the Sample Pack is a good place to start) and teach them to have fun with it. They can also learn more about how to care for teenage skin here.
ACTION STEP: Why not host a Pig-In-Mud-Mask weekend bonding session? Pop on your PJs and a movie, get some delicious snacks, and have a blast as the plant-based ingredients get to work at beautifying and nourishing!
It’s one thing to sing praises of natural, eco-friendly skincare. It’s another to educate your teen on their environmental footprint. When they’ve got more important things to worry about (like Home & Away, what to wear to the school formal, and weekend plans spent shopping), why should they care about the Earth?
Because what they do now matters tomorrow, and it draws their attention away from themselves - which can occasionally breed anxiety and perfectionism - and back to the wider world.
Teach them about how being kind to themselves and the Earth will make the world a better place AND make them feel a whole heap better about life in general (remember, it’s all about self-empowerment and giving them a higher purpose!).
ACTION STEP:Why not get them to return their empties to our Happy Earth Recycling Program so they can actually see the benefits of recycling responsibly and feel good about giving back to the planet? More info on that here.
Having 12 million Facebook friends or Instagram followers is, well, great—but it’s not as awesome as having a handful of ‘real’ friends that they can talk to in person, catch up with for brunch or hang out at the beach with. These are the peeps that will help keep your teen sane, feeling happy and loved.
So chat to them about taking things OFFLINE as much as they can (and set limits on screen time!).
ACTION STEP:Encourage them to join a local social sports team or pick up a new hobby in the community - ceramics, art, photography - or anything that lets their inner creativity run wild.
Remember… as teens and tweens are maturing, they’re going through a growth process to accept themselves, and this takes time. Be patient with them. Remind them of the positives, and guide them in a gentle, loving way towards becoming the most wonderful and empowered versions of themselves.
Simply loving and accepting them unconditionally and keeping communication channels open can really impact a teen’s life and you’ll be on your way to raising the next generation of trailblazing, change makers (and who knows, perhaps the next prime minister!).