5 Biggest Challenges for the American Teen Girl - Pt. 2

Meet Olivia. A girl I've known her whole life. She graduated from a large school district here in town, spent a year in college, then followed an "itch" that wouldn't leave. She is now at the University of Nations in Kona, Hawaii, working with YWAM (Youth With a Mission), doing missions and other exciting things, where she has found freedom!

I asked her recently for some insight into high school.

"What are the 5 biggest challenges of American teen girls?"

1. Figuring out who they are without the constant opinion of other girls who are also insecure in who they are. Trying to stay pure in a society that is all about showing that the unpure way is the only thing that will make you "desirable" or "wanted", not only by guys but girls too. Girls want to surround themselves with those other girls that guys want. It gives them security knowing that they are "in" and people notice them.

2. Teenage girls struggle with the societal opinion that "true love" is the climax of happiness in life. Whether that be through a movie that everyone talks about, music that is popular, or even the school system that pairs people off at every occasion (dances, homecoming, etc.) If you don't have "match" or have someone to make you not "single", then you don't fit in.... you are by yourself in a sense. You wont be happy until you have fallen in love.

3. Teenage girls don't understand what love really is. I know that I didn't learn the difference between love and lust until after I graduated high school. Understanding that lust looks for what it can get, and love looks at what it can give.. it is often misunderstood that people are "in love" when they are truly in lust.

4. Teenage girls struggle with talking to their parents about what is really being said at school or by their friends. Often times I found that myself, or my friends were embarrassed to tell our parents about what people REALLY say at school, and what really happens. I know that sometimes my friends or I would do something that was so shameful, but if we told our parents we were scared they would either get involved, not let us hang out with said person, or be so shocked that it would intimidate us to wonder what their reaction would be. There is a lot of pressure, especially in today's age, to be the girl that your parents can brag about, or are so proud of,  that when you do mess up, it is so devastating to your reputation. It minimizes the times that we are transparent or real with where we are really at in life. I found that a lot of times I would not want to admit even to myself that there was a problem because that was not "who I was", or at least who I was told I was, by my parents or friends.

5. American girls struggle with the pressure of college. It is expected that we have things figured out about where we are suppose to go in college, what we are suppose to be doing, how we are going to afford it, etc.  At the same time,  we are juggling extra curricular activities we are told we need for said future. Sports, grades, volunteering. There is all of this pressure to "know what is next". To often we are asked WHAT we are going to be doing rather than who we are, what we love, how we are.. the things that matter. We are not told enough that people will be proud of us for just simply doing what we love. It is looked down upon to choose to not go to a university or not know what you want to study. Pretty much every one of my friends that are in college have wasted thousands of dollars because they felt pressure to pick a major before they even knew what they loved or liked. That is mainly an educational flaw, but parents can help in giving that security to say that it is okay to not know who you are yet. It is okay to have no idea at 18 years old, and be told that in the next 5 years we are not going to be anywhere close to who we are in our teens.

Overall I think the number one thing teenage girls struggle with is security. We struggle with who we are, who we are suppose to be, and what others think.

Of course I had to ask her for more detail, especially about #4. As a mom, this hit me. The fact that our kids may not be real because of not wanting to ruin their reputation, even with us. So do we remain clueless when they really need help? I needed a concrete example of what goes on they would consider shameful, or questionable to tell mom, but is a real thing going on at school. I didn't know if she would give me an answer, but I asked anyway!

Ok, so a situation would maybe be the complete and total acceptance of sex, and actual encouragement of it in high school these days. Promiscuity is encouraged and applauded for some reason. It really depends on the group you are around. I had three groups of friends in high school-- my party friends, my athletic group of friends, and my best friends.. all different. Yet in each group the story was the same. Although of course in the party group this was much more likely to be found. But especially senior year, everyone is thinking " This is the last year I want memories" . Even leaders of the Christian clubs and kids you would never expect to fall did... and it was disappointing to me, but accepted and applauded in the grand scheme of the high school population. Whether that be sex, alcohol. (which usually go hand in hand) and all of the other things that come along with the insecure high school teenager.

I would say the most important thing that a girl would need in high school especially in our generation and culture is a safe place to really be honest about whats going on. Spiritual warfare is SO STRONG.. and the amount of people that are trying to fight it, or believe that it's even real, is dwindling rapidly.


The 5 Biggest Challenges to American Teen Girls- Guest Blog

Jamie is the one in the picture who just graduated. I've had the privilege of getting to know her as she and my daughter have been friends at ORU. She has stayed at our house, spent a month in Africa with my daughter on missions, done Bible studies with us, helped with Girls 101, plenty of things. She has impressed me with her heart for God and what she's allowed Him to do in her life.

She would say she has changed a lot since her teenage days, and has let God into the difficult places, and let Him grow her up into the person she was made to be. She also has a blog where she shares some pretty profound thoughts, so you may want to follow her.

I wanted to ask her to answer a question I've had for girls who are still relatively close to teenage years. Things have changed so much since we were teens, and I have been curious to hear the thoughts of a few girls who can answer this question:

"What are the 5 biggest challenges to American teen girls?"

Jamie's answer:

That's a big question.
1. The pressure to grow up. I feel like a lot of girls just want to be "there" already. They want to wear makeup sooner and play outside less. They want to do what the older grades are doing because it looks cool and more fun.
2. Trying to figure out who you are. Girls want to be so unique but they also don't want to be the odd one out. Nobody ever wants to be the one on the outside of the circle, so I feel like a lot of girls give up things they like in order to be somebody that fits in. They want the likes on Instagram, Facebook, and in school.
3. Boys. They aren't as nice as they seem, and they aren't as mean as they seem. They're young, you're young. Girls want somebody to care about them, they want somebody to call theirs. They want that attention and I think a lot of stupid things happen because they're young and they don't understand the weight of their actions. It's honestly not a big deal to them at the time. Purity isn't really all that cool at that age.
4. Knowing who to be influenced by. Media is crazy today and girls see these beautiful pictures on Pinterest, Instagram, TV, music videos, wherever, and they see how cool that looks. They want their life to hold as much carefree, spontaneous and unique adventure as they see. They see how much fun it looks. Christian media hasn't done a spectacular job of being appealing in the media, and half of that is because we copy what the secular world is doing and slap a cheesy Bible verse on it. Girls don't want to be the odd one out, plain and simple. In the media, they don't see all these perfect girls missing out.
5. Partying. It's happening earlier and earlier and I think that's because of how easily it spreads. Through Snapchat, texting, and pictures that are posted online, girls see girls in the grades above them do it and they think it's okay because they weren't "the first ones". They want to have harmless fun. They hear the stories of their friends laughing for hours on end, or about how they don't remember taking this picture or walking to this place and a lot of girls want to be able to join in on those exclusive conversations.
The overall thing I keep going back to is acceptance. From friends, boys, the older grades, parents, etc.
My name is Jaime Bofferding and I'm graduating from Oral Roberts University with a Psychology degree and a business minor. I am passionate about people, media, and promoting Jesus in an authentic and real way. Check out my blog at:

Jamie would say that she has found answers to these challenges in her relationship with the Lord, and finding her identity, purpose and acceptance in Him. 
This is a helpful summary of what we can watch for as we guide tweens and teens into adulthood. Girls definitely feel the pressure of these things, and if we know what the problems are, we can be better equipped with some answers.