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Ways to help girls develop healthy habits

A mother and daughter.

A teen’s health behaviors can have major effects on her health throughout her entire life. Here are some tips to help you teach a girl to respect and protect her body:

  • Let her practice handling some of her own health care. Before a doctor’s appointment, encourage her to write down any questions she has. You also can show her some info on how to get help from doctors.
  • Discuss coping skills for difficult situations. For example, help your girl practice what she might say if someone offers her drugs.
  • Help her develop a sense of consequences. Talk about the possible results of certain behaviors, like having sex or drinking alcohol.
  • Model the behaviors you want a girl to copy. Let your girl see you planning and cooking a healthy meal. Even better — do it together!
  • Set safety rules. Applaud positive behaviors, like wearing a bike helmet. Discuss any problems, but avoid any harsh criticisms and punishments that might only make her feel bad about herself.
  • Be loving and supportive. Have patience with things that may not seem important to you (like a pimple), but that seem very important to a teen.
  • Teach her not to be ashamed of having problems with weight, self-esteem, or other areas of her life. Encourage her to talk to you, a doctor, or another trusted adult.

Steady support

Don’t give up when you feel challenged or overwhelmed by raising a girl. Remember, you’re helping her become a confident, strong woman who knows how to take care of her health and her future.

 

Content last reviewed April 15, 2014
Page last updated June 02, 2014

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