As I watch my 14-year-old daughter grow up and start to navigate her way through the world I sometimes wonder what it is like to be a teenage girl today. Life was so much simpler when I was her age. When I look at the world today, it seems absolutely crazy, the pressures and intensity immense and overwhelming.

There are messages coming from every corner that paint a picture of a world that is in collapse. Messages about political instability, global financial crises, crumbling healthcare systems, the unsustainable cost of living, and the far-reaching effects of COVID-19 into the future. Then there are the environmentalists who tell our young that it is already too late to save their very existence. This all feels too overwhelming to consider, and perhaps why they may withdraw into an online world and social media.

But there they are faced with endless idealised and unattainable images, fed with constant comparison and not being good enough; pictures of what they should look like, feel like, and how their lives should be, which they can never measure up to. And then there are the pictures of relationships, and all the expectations loaded onto them when most teenagers have had easy access to porn on their phones from a young age.[1] Porn has shaped their expectations of relationships and what intimacy looks like. GPs are seeing an increasing number of injuries in young girls that have been forced or coerced to do what is in porn videos, including internal injuries caused by frequent anal sex. Ninety percent of mainstream porn depicts violent acts such as rape, bondage and torture. The videos can show extreme acts such as choking and ‘double or triple anal’ sex.[2][3][4] Porn is completely distorting the perception of what intimacy should look like among young people, and in videos the women actually appear to be enjoying these types of sexual acts, so boys are convinced it is what women want, and girls think that’s just how sex is, when in fact it is a travesty on the body.

Finding support and building relationships with peers can often be problematic. Bullying is on the rise, which can lead to poor self-esteem and loss of confidence, as well as contribute to mental health issues.[5] The rates of mental health issues are rising amongst teenagers. In the last three years, the likelihood of a young person having a mental health issue has increased by 50%.[6] We are facing a mental health crisis, and our ‘experts’ do not know how to deal with it. There is a lack of resources to address this, with long waiting lists to be seen, and even the ones that do manage to get some attention within the system report feeling like they do not know where to turn to for help. Despite seeing doctors, counsellors and psychotherapists, they still feel that they are struggling and alone. And the people charged with offering help are also struggling.

With all this going on, it is simply overwhelming for our young. It is no wonder that many just shut down. And as parents we may look at all this and wonder what, if anything, we can do. How do we support our teenagers?

Teenagers are able to see so much more than we may give them credit for. They can be incredibly knowing and wise and sensitive. And often they have the ability to read us as parents. The way we are with them and with ourselves is deeply felt by them, and very little escapes their notice. If they sense that something is untrue, they may reject it without apology, hence the ‘difficult behaviour’ that we ascribe to teenagers.

The concept of a distinct period between childhood and adulthood, is a relatively new one. It was only after the second world war that the term ‘teenager’ was coined. Before this teenagers were simply ‘young adults’ and were viewed as such.

I treat my daughter as a young adult. I see her as my equal. This means, to the best of my ability, giving her the space to be who she is, accepting that she is her own person, and not needing her to be what I want her to be. It means supporting her without coddling her. But it’s also not about just letting her do whatever she wants and behave however she wants. She knows that we have standards around responsibility and respect. My daughter values the close relationships we have as a family. She tells me that her friends do not treat their parents with the same respect, and that this is considered normal, with parents pandering to their teenagers who behave like entitled house guests. This was what I also thought was inevitable for us as my daughter approached teenage years, until I realised that just because it is commonly like that doesn’t mean that is how it will be for us. But I didn’t have to force things to be different, they have simply unfolded this way, as I connected to a truer way of living.

What has supported me the most in my parenting journey is to connect deeply to my innermost, and to parent from there. From that place I can meet my daughter for who she is and deeply cherish her. The way I have developed as a woman and as a mother from living in connection with myself, and the way I have deepened, have all been astutely observed by my daughter. Me living the truth of who I am supports her to do so as well.

How have I begun to live the truth of who I am? By applying the principles of the Ageless Wisdom, and discovering that there is an essence within me that remains untouched by the world, and by the hurts I have experienced. It is the day-to-day application of these principles and a living way, not confined to mere beliefs or theory, that has allowed for profound healing, and a deepening into greater love, transparency and intimacy with myself and others. The Ageless Wisdom has helped me to reconnect to a profound inner sense of truth that is not easily apparent in the world today.

The more I deepen the more I am able to truly love myself and hence my daughter. I have realised that the best way to support her is the inner work I do on me, and my parenting is a natural extension of that. It has been and continues to be an amazing journey of unfoldment to connect to the essence of who I am, and to bring that out into the world, rather than looking to the external world to fulfil me or tell me who I am by the roles that I play. Living in connection with myself naturally helps me to know what my daughter needs and how to support her.

It is a joy to parent my daughter. And I am in awe of how amazing she is. She has wisdom and poise that is beyond her years. I see a young woman who is willing to take responsibility for herself and who is caring of others. She stands up for what she feels is true to her rather than bending to peer pressure. These are qualities that will support her as she continues her journey into the world, to face whatever challenges lie ahead with strength and equanimity.

If we parent from a true place, we can help our children to bring out their true inner qualities and live their innate wisdom. This is the kind of support that we can offer young people, to help them make sense of who they are and the craziness they see in the world. With this type of support, not only would their lives change, but they would change the world, naturally so. And rather than demanding the world to be a certain way to fulfil their individual desires, it can be a world they contribute to and live in brotherhood with. Then the world would be a reflection of the love and truth within us all. This is actually what we all want, and are missing.

When we look out at the world we deeply know that this is not how life should be, but feel powerless to bring about true and lasting change. Change comes about first within ourselves, then our families, and then the world.


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  • By Anonymous

  • Photography: Dean Whitling, Brisbane based photographer and film maker of 13 years.

    Dean shoots photos and videos for corporate portraits, architecture, products, events, marketing material, advertising & website content. Dean's philosophy - create photos and videos that have magic about them.