The Inside Story on Teen Girls: Chapter 5
How Will She Ever Become an Independent Woman? Helping Adolescent Girls Prepare for the Future

Introduction

My daughter Yvette is becoming a woman, an adult. She'll be on her own pretty soon, and she'll be making more and more of her own decisions. To me, it feels like the future is right around the corner. Time rushes by so quickly. I need to prepare Yvette for what lies ahead. I know that now is the time for her to start thinking more about her future. I try to impress this on her, but most of the time she seems to be focused only on today. Whenever I try to talk with her about college or career choices, she says, "not now" or "I'll talk to you later" or "I know already, my guidance counselor told us everything." She's always telling me how I worry too much.

I want to encourage Yvette so she will head in the right direction. I want her to maximize her potential and her capabilities. I want her to strive to do well academically, to be self-sufficient, and to learn how to spend her money wisely. But I'm not sure about the best way to influence her. Should I tell her about my own experiences as a teenager? Should I insist that she listen to me? What if I'm being too optimistic about the possibilities in front of her? Am I raising her hopes too high? As a woman, will there really be more choices for her than there were for her mother? And how can I help prepare her for the future when everything around us is changing so much and so quickly? I don't know what the future holds for her.

I had it really rough when I was a kid. I want it to be different for my daughter. If I can, I want to smooth the way for her. How can I best help her?

— Leroy, father of Yvette, age 18