How can you help your teenagers survive high school? - Women's Agenda

How can you help your teenagers survive high school?

Working alongside youth, I have experienced and witnessed the confronting issues and pressures many high school girls face daily; how they struggle with their identity and self-esteem, deceiving messages of perfection through the media, constant comparison, peer pressure, unrealistic expectations, and not feeling confident or content with who they are, to name just a few.

Girls in our community need help and support to navigate the challenging years of adolescence.

Author Rebecca Sparrow tackles some of these and other issues in two books, Find Your Tribe (and 9 other things I wish I’d known in high school) from 2010 and her new release Find Your Feet (the 8 things I wish I’d known before I left high school).

While Find Your Feet is suitable for young women in Year 12 about to face the exciting but overwhelming world ahead, Find Your Tribe addresses concerns of girls beginning and in the middle of high school.

In Find Your Tribe, Sparrow intertwines personal stories and insights, researched facts and the advice and experience of celebrities and friends to give practical lessons and ideas on topics such as finding real friends, bouncing back, building confidence and dispelling media lies.

With a focus on seeking help when needed and having the right attitude, this easy-to-read and relatable book contains great resources to help protect and provide tools for girls facing the inevitable issues of being a teenager.

Sparrow is direct and to the point, with an underlying tone of self-respect and self-awareness throughout each chapter to encourage girls to make their own decisions about friends, looks, boys, drugs and careers. The book ends with helpful recommendations for further support and information on topics discussed within the book.

Sparrow’s new release, Find Your Feet, continues the lessons of Find Your Tribe, this time specifically addressing some of the challenges girls may face when leaving high school.

Sparrow shares advice, ideas, strategies and information on issues such as shaking off the super-glued labels of high school and reinventing yourself. As well as beating bad results, playing to your strengths, being authentic and setting realistic goals, she discusses tips on how to choose a fulfilling and meaningful career, the empty trap of perfectionism, work experience as a steppingstone to success and the value of discipline.

Throughout the chapters, Sparrow includes hard hitting facts, making issues real and relevant and shares motivational stories to inspire and encourage the readers — especially in the face of failure.

Both books are written with a serious but humorous style — to force attention but also encourage the reader to laugh at mistakes and stay positive. They open the ongoing discussion that readers can have with friends, families, trusting adults and professionals about issues they may be facing, giving them a starting point to address these concerns and seek further help.

The books offer a great foundation for dealing with some of the concerns girls face in high school and beyond. While not all issues could be covered, they provide great insights to help girls journey through this challenging time.

Studies show that the underlying issue of many problematic behaviours is low self-esteem. By giving girls opportunities and resources to discover their unique identity, respect themselves and develop coping strategies, books such as these by Rebecca Sparrow will help girls face challenging situations, be resilient and have meaningful connections with those around them.

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