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Teaching Teen Girls High Standards

by Kay Ireland, studioD

Being the parent of a teen girl means you're often riding a roller coaster of emotion, reaction, self-esteem and affection. In the midst of your teen's various moods, you also have to find a way to help your teen learn realistically high standards to reach. Whether it's academic or moral, holding your daughter to high standards can help her strive for excellence, but it can also be detrimental to her confidence. Learn to strike a balance by helping your teen discover and set her own set of high standards.

Parental Standards

Parents, educators and other adults play a hefty role in helping teen girls set their own standards. By expecting the best from your daughter, you tell her what your standards are for her and her own goals and aspirations will likely reflect those you have. When you expect little from your daughter in the way of academics and morality, she could develop low standards based on the low priority you give her. According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, setting rules for behavior and expectations for academics at home can reflect favorably in school and when interacting with others, since your daughter then has a baseline of expectations to work from in creating her own standards.


A teen girl's self-esteem is often stuck in a precarious position. Between the words of people at school to seeing how teens are portrayed in the media, low self-esteem could be responsible for low standards, simply because your daughter believes she's unworthy of excellence. By helping your teen attain better self-confidence through praise, helping her try new things and practicing skills -- while ignoring media messages and school taunts -- your teen starts to develop standards based on what she believes she's worthy of. If she has high self-esteem, she'll naturally want the best for herself, both in school and in her lifestyle.

Setting Goals

Without realistic long- and short-term goals put into place, your teen might struggle with a lack of direction and subsequently low standards. To keep her moral, academic and personal standards high, help her set goals that require a high degree of focus, work and persistence. With a goal of getting into a good college in place, her standards for schoolwork are naturally higher. Just ensure that the goals you set together are in fact, reachable -- otherwise, they could have the opposite effect on your teen's delicate confidence levels.

Under Pressure

It's important that as a parent, you strike a balance between helping your teen have high standards and setting standards too high, with too much pressure to be perfect. Your teen is bound to slip up every now and again and if she feels like you'll be disappointed or harsh, she may hide the truth from you. The late psychologist Dr. Ruth Peters warned parents that teen girls often hide their standards in favor of social conformity, so don't be surprised if your daughter hides her intellect to fit in with friends. Adding more pressure can be damaging. Instead, acknowledge your teen's natural talents and praise her for high standards without expecting perfection.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.

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