Adolescence is a critical stage of development, marked by numerous physical, emotional, and social changes. For adolescent girls, this period can be particularly challenging as they navigate through the complexities of identity formation, peer pressure, and societal expectations. One crucial aspect that demands attention during this phase is the development of healthy self-esteem. Recognizing the significance of this, various strategies can be employed to empower them in their journey towards self-acceptance and confidence.
For Waconia, individuals are raising their hands to support our youth to teach skills and provide resources to strengthen that confidence. To flourish in a world that has conflicting messages about what you “should " be to feel valued, parents have the opportunity to utilize these organizations to help their children love and trust themselves. Recently, Kristin Kraemer, Certified Peer Support Specialist and owner of Dunamis Coaching, decided to fundraise for and open a site for BIO Girls, a remarkable non-profit organization that empowers young girls and fosters their personal growth, self-esteem, and leadership skills, right here in Waconia. BIO Girls is a preventive mental wellness program, with the mission of improving the self-esteem of adolescent girls. As director, Kristin leads these 12 week sessions, teaching and coaching with other female mentors. The girls are introduced to skills and tools that can grow with them as they navigate the often emotional and difficult middle school and high school years ahead.
BIO Girls originated in North Dakota and has been expanding its reach. BIO Girls believes in the inherent worth and limitless potential of every girl. The acronym "BIO" represents their core value; Beautiful Inside & Out. Through engaging activities, workshops, and interactions with successful women, BIO Girls aims to create a supportive community with positive role models that motivate and guide girls. By nurturing the whole girl, BIO Girls helps build a strong foundation for a lifetime of success, fulfillment, and positive contributions to society. In and out, each BIO Girl counts.
Finishing its first full program this July, BIO Girls Waconia plans to open enrollment for a winter 2024 yoga program. As fortunate as Waconia is to have a program like this, strong foundations are encouraged to start at home. Parents can make strides to prepare not just our girls, but also our boys too, to navigate their adolescent years.
Promote Positive Body Image:
One of the major contributors to low self-esteem is a negative body image. Emphasize the importance of inner qualities and talents rather than physical appearances. Schools, families, and media can play a pivotal role by featuring realistic portrayals of beauty and promoting healthy habits rather than unrealistic standards.
Align your children’s personal interests by supporting their engagement in activities that enhance their self-esteem like extracurricular programs that allow them to explore their talents.
Encourage them to face obstacles, learn from failures, and develop problem-solving skills that will instill a sense of competence and self-belief.
Encourage Healthy Relationships:
Surround them with individuals who support and uplift them. Talk with your children about the qualities of healthy relationships, establishing boundaries, and ways to promote their assertiveness.
Provide Education on Media Literacy:
Help them develop critical thinking skills so they are better able to challenge unrealistic standards and harmful stereotypes. Encourage them to question media messages and engage in constructive dialogue.
Create Safe Spaces for Expression:
Provide safe spaces for your children to express their thoughts and emotions. This can be incredibly empowering and bring a sense of belonging so they feel comfortable exploring their identities, thereby promoting self-esteem.
We have the power to equip our youth with tools to embrace their uniqueness, build confidence, and navigate the challenges of adolescence with resilience and self-assurance. With concerted efforts from schools, families, and our communities, we can inspire a generation of empowered adolescent girls, who are ready to take on the world.