How to Raise Teen Girls and Grow a Relationship with Your Teen Daughters

This podcast focuses on the “truths” teen girls should know as they go through the adolescent years. What do they need to know about friendships? Romantic relationships? Reputation? Their strengths? We will discuss some important topics that apply to teen girls and how to best connect as they flourish and become the best versions of themselves.

Special guest: Kari Kampakis

It’s not easy to be a teenage girl. Dealing with cliques, bullying, rejection, and social media fiascos can be  overwhelming and disheartening. So yes, being a parent or a key adult in the lives of teen girls can also be a challenge- how do we best advise the teen girls for whom we only want the best when we don’t always know which way is up! Our teen girls are going through so many important changes—physical, emotional, social, cognitive—they are learning what they like, who they like, who they are and who they want to be. This is big stuff. So if you had the opportunity, what would you truly want the teen girls in your life to know? What would you want them to take in about popularity, friendship, relationships, reputation and belief in themselves? As it turns out, we do have the opportunity to talk to our girls about all of these important areas of development and experience—and if we haven’t yet embarked on these discussions, we can start now.

Kari Kampakis is a blogger, author, speaker, and columnist from Birmingham. Her two books for teen and tween girls, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know and Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For, have been used widely across the country by small groups to empower girls through faith. She is also in the process of writing another book on mothers and daughters. Kari’s work has been featured on The Huffington Post, The TODAY Show along with other national outlets. She and her husband, Harry, have four daughters and a dog named Lola. Learn more by visiting or finding Kari on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

The podcast provides:

  • An insight to the adolescent stage of life
  • The truth about popularity vs friendship
  • How reframing “deficits” as strengths can give insight into how they can be assets
  • A discussion of reputation- how we can talk about reputation without shaming or restricting our girls from becoming themselves
  • The truth about relationships with boys during the teen years
  • What moms should know about raising girls
  • How to discipline while still deepening the parent-child relationship

Important Messages:

  • Kindness is the right thing to do- and leads to the right relationships.
  • What is your goal? Do you want to get into a friend group even if they are unkind to you? Cast a wide net- no need for a narrow group of friends.
  • Girls have a need to belong. But we must teach girls that they should look to kind girls who share interests and respect.
  • Girls feel like there is security in group—but if someone decides you are on the outs- then girls wind up lost and leads to loneliness.
  • Tip: Ask girls who they admire, who they’d like to get to know, who they look up to that is outside the friend group they were part of or want to be part of. They might just find that they don’t need a specific group but friends that share interests who aren’t part of any specific group. “Who is one girl who you’d really like to know?”
  • Reframing- a feature that might seem like a burden- as a strength. (Strong-willed leader).
  • Reputation: Double standard in this world. A boy and a girl can make the same decision in middle school and 30 years from now they might remember the girl’s decision but not the boy’s decision.
  • Our choices do form our reputation. If you lie, people might not believe you even if you are now telling the truth.
  • Also- talk about forgiveness and grace- we all make mistakes!
  • Nothing in our life is a waste- we learn and grow from them- and then take a different path.
  • Where you go and who you hang out- might lead you into a situation that you hadn’t anticipated. Trust your gut instinct.
  • Boys: Revoked admission to Harvard because of reputation from an action on social media. Kids growing up in a fish bowl.
  • Quote from local newsletter. “We live in a world where everything is permissible but nothing is forgivable.” Told anything goes. But then invisible line. They are labeled.
  • Teenagers are relationship-driven. They don’t want you to just jump in and give them advice or make them your project. They don’t want to be fixed. Parents might think they know it all. But the teens aren’t listening. Humble yourself, parents. If you want to have a voice in their life, you have to have a relationship too.
  • Need rules and relationship.
  • See them, appreciate them, want what’s best for them.
  • Even the most popular kids feel underappreciated.
  • Work on heart issues- we will go down a different path.
  • You don’t want to put all your energy into a single love relationship—don’t make it the center of your universe.
  • Tip: Remember yourself as a teenager and remember the people who loved us just as we were in that moment.
  • Michael Angelo saw the hidden figure inside the block. Do the same with teen girls- see their potential. Believe in inner potential. Reflect back to girls- what their strengths are. We are wired to see faults- focus on strengths.
  • Empahasize invisible gifts. Underestimated. Skills that can change the world. Building relationships. Happiness-> relationships (study 90 years).
  • Parents: Explain that sometimes, as parents, we have to make decisions that they aren’t going to understand.
  • Listen: What am I not seeing? Hear them out. Valid points.
  • Let’s not get passive aggressive. Have a healthy debate- while being loving and respectful. “I love you. You hurt my feelings when…”
  • Lots of people had rules but no relationship with their parents. The opposite is also true. Need a balance. Boundaries. Consequences. But have to also work on relationship.
  • Lead with love. Let our behavior be driven by love. Don’t let fear of looking like a failure and pride get in the way as a parent.
  • Get comfortable with listening to your teen and get comfortable with apologies.

Notable Quotables:

      • “You can’t go wrong, doing what’s right.”
      • “Friendships aren’t built by just inserting yourself into a group. They are made by making connections, one by one, developing those strong ties. Ultimately, it’s great to have a group—but you are going to change, your group is going to change and there isn’t as much security in a friend group than you might think.”
      • “We all have traits that can have an upside and a downside. If you have a strong-willed child, instead of trying to temper that and make them calm and easy, think that that person can be a really great leader. If a girl can learn to channel that leadership and her strength to protect others and to be a positive influence, she could really move mountains in her lifetime.”
      • “Bad mistakes we made in the past can be used for good.”
      • “Kids today are growing up in a fish bowl. One mistake can be immortalized on social media.”
      • “Teenagers are relationship-driven. They’re smart. They know when someone just wants to jump into their lives to give them advice or try to fix them. If you want to have a voice in their life, you have to have a relationship too.”
      • “We live in a narcissistic world. We think about how we feel but we don’t often think of how we make other people feel. We wind up lonely and disconnected because we are thinking of ourselves rather than others.”
      • “I tell girls; chase your dreams, not boys. It’s a mistake to make boys the center of your universe. When you do have a healthy mindset towards boys, you attract healthier-minded boys into your life.”
      • “We spend those early years of life, planting all those seeds. But with teenagers, sometimes it’s only with real-life experience that that seed is going to sink in.”
      • “Everyone of us has so much more inside us than anyone of us believe we are made of.”
      • “We need to tell our children; it’s great to find success and chase your dreams but ultimately what will bring you the most joy are the relationships you have in life.”


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