Category Archives: Blog

A Confident Teenage Girl: How to Spot One and How to Raise One


“What does every mother want for her daughter?”


This question has long guided my work. It even led me to the name of my business.


A few things I know for sure: Every mother wants her daughter to be happy and safe. Every mother wants to launch her daughter into the world and to see her fulfill her potential.


To me, you can sum up these hopes with one word: confidence.


Then, I wondered about what every mother wants for herself as she tries to raise her daughter. Again, I came up with the same answer: confidence.  Free of worry, second guesses, and fatigue, a mother wants to feel she has prepared her daughter for the world.


It sounded good. But then I thought further… How does someone get this coveted confidence? And what is it exactly anyway?


As you’ve likely noticed the teen years are not a stage of life that’s brimming with steady confidence. For some girls it comes and goes, and for others it never seems to show up at all.


And when it comes to being a parent, I don’t need to tell you that you’ll often feel more worry than confidence.


As you parent her in these years it’s important not to focus on individual incidents that represent her lack of confidence but rather focus on the big picture of her growth toward confidence as a young woman.


How to spot teenage confidence when you see it


Confidence is part of the teenage experience. When is it likely to emerge and how can you encourage it to show up more often?


First, let’s explore what confidence in a teen actually looks like.


Here’s my list. What would you add?


Confidence is about being comfortable.


Comfort with making mistakes

Comfort with trying something new

Comfort with not knowing and with learning

Comfort with being silly

Comfort  with saying NO.

with asking questions

with having goals and dreams

with expressing needs

with with being the smartest kid on the block.

with loving her body and explore what it is capable of beyond sex appeal

with laughing

with starting over

with being angry -even at you

with saying I am sorry

with being stuck

with not knowing what she wants to be when she grows up

with listening to herself and know when she is uncomfortable

with not having to do what everyone else is doing

with taking risks

with asking for help

with being vulnerable and share her tears

with speaking out about what she thinks is not right


You Can Help Build Her Confidence


The teenagers who have let me into their most vulnerable worlds have taught me that confidence is a work in progress. Confidence is something they really want and are very willing to learn.


As a parent you sit in the most influential seat in the house. Here are ten ways you can wield that influence and support her on her way toward building lasting confidence over time.


1. Understand that the teenage years are inherently a scary time and confidence is something that comes and goes.


2. Know that what you say contributes to how she understands herself. You have more influence – both good and bad – than you realize.


3. Your daughter is seeking to understand herself. Take this opportunity to step in. Show her and tell her why she is valuable.


4. She needs permission not to be perfect. She doesn’t need to have it all figured out. You can help her value the journey rather than the destination.


5. She needs encouragement and support to explore what she is capable of whether that’s in art, sports, drama, music, animals, or the outdoors. All these experiences help her know her potential and opportunities as a young woman.


6. She want you to engage her in thinking critically about her world in a way that’s fun and exciting so so she can learn to disagree and be challenged in a positive atmosphere.


7. She needs to see you be vulnerable so she can learn how to take risks too.


8. She need you to be okay with the fact that she is taking risks.


9. She needs you to be okay with her identity experiments even if you don’t like them.


Finding confidence for yourself as a parent and for her as a teenager will come and go. That is the nature of this stage of life for both of you.

Always remember that this is a process and not a destination for both of you. Know one has perfect confidence. But you can have acceptance of the ups and downs, both of you are experiencing on your way to finding comfort with being human.


In full support of your awesome relationship with your teen daughter

Josie Bohling, MFT



How To Build Trust With Your Teen Daughter


Many parents focus on one question: “Can I trust my daughter?”   Can I trust my teenage daughter… to be safe? to makes good decisions? to pick the right friends? to not drink and drive? to stay off her cell phone at night?   The list goes on and on.   But there’s another questionContinue Reading

Are Teenage Girls Costume To Sexy?

Sexy Halloween

  Have you noticed the Halloween costumes marketed to teen girls? French maids, pussy cats, pirate wenches…   What’s the deal? When did Halloween become dress like a hooker night for high school girls?   Do You Have a Vision of What Halloween is “Supposed” To Be?   A quick review of the history ofContinue Reading

Why All The Parenting Books In The World Won’t Help


How many books on raising teens have you read? In moments of real stress – those fiery arguments or displays or reckless, rebellious behavior – did the books really help? Like me, I bet your answer is “not really.” I worked supporting teens and families long before I became a mother myself. When I finallyContinue Reading

How Being A Teenager Has Prepared You To Understand Your Teen


                    What were your teenage years like? When you remember do you cringe or smile?   The way you remember your own teen years have a tremendous impact on how you parent your teenager.   This sort of reflection opens you up to empathy and empathyContinue Reading

You Are Exactly What Your Daughter Needs

Mother and daughters

Five years ago, I completely changed the way I worked with the teenage girls who came to me for support. Instead of only working with the girls, I began supporting their mothers, as well. In the field of mental health counseling, there is a strong belief that the relationship a counselor has with a teenContinue Reading

How To Turn Conflict With Your Teen Into a Calm Discussion

Mother and daughter

Negotiations around independence, boundaries, and responsibilities create the most conflict between teens and their parents. Developmentally, these negotiations are essential markers of their growing autonomy. Conflict is often a manifestation of your teen’s internal struggle with striving to become an adult while still wanting the support given to them as a child. In other words,Continue Reading

Seven Ways To Struggle Less With Consequences

Rules and Consequences

Have you been in this scenario before: Your daughter has just come home after curfew for the second time in a row. You are angry and begin telling her what the consequence of her actions will be. Suddenly, instead of being remorseful over her choices, she is now fighting you with more of an indignantContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Does your daughter’s sense of style offend you?

I hope this photo made you laugh! If not  you may be feeling like this teen and your daughter are sharing tips on rebellion. Sometimes daughters, in an effort to establish themselves as different, begin experimenting with clothes, music, or friendships they know will be met with their mother’s disapproval. Because of this teen developmentalContinue Reading

Six Signs Of Teenage Drug Use You May Be Missing

Do you ever ask this question? Will my teen abuse or–even worse–become addicted to drugs or alcohol? Be prepared to spot the six signs your teen may be using drugs by listening to the audio discussion below.               Audio of Six Signs Your Teen May Be Using Drugs I recorded this discussion with my colleague,Continue Reading