My freshman year of high school was a little rough for me, high school is still hard for me now, but I struggled a lot more freshman year. The atmosphere of the high school I attended was so much different from the middle school that I went to. In middle school we were quiet in the halls, had our teachers walk us to lunch and I mostly kept to myself. I had never talked to a guy outside of a group project setting and didn’t have much interaction with other people either. I was a quiet girl who stayed out of everyone’s business and they stayed out of mine. Unfortunately this privateness, as one could call it, was not as easy to maintain in high school as it was in middle school.

I remember the first day of high school I saw four different people who were pregnant. I was very shocked because at that time I was naive enough to think that kids my age weren’t having sex. I was just so surprised. After hearing more rumors and gossip from the bus and just randomly throughout the hall, I found out that there were a total of 6 pregnant girls at my school and that one of them was a freshman. I remember feeling so many different emotions, confused, upset, happy that they decided to keep the baby. I didn’t understand why they had sex, as my parents had always told me never to be alone with a guy and to never do anything like that. But now, being a junior and having a guy take open interest in me for the first time ever I can somewhat understand the position that those girls faced. I’ve always had low self esteem (which I think its something everyone struggles with) and never had a lot of people tell me I’m pretty. I can’t even remember the last time my parents said something like that. So when someone tells you, especially a guy, that you are gorgeous and amazing and that he likes you it feels really good. It’s amazing how much power the words of a guy hold. But it’s also scary how much influence they can have over a girl. When this guy that had taken an interest in me asked me for nudes it took so much will power to say no because the way he asked was in such a charming manner. He kept complimenting me and making me feel safe, promising he wouldn’t do anything with them. And I was tempted, but luckily my faith in God helped steer me in the right direction and gave me the strength to say no and stop talking to this guy. I think teenage guys know how much power they hold over vulnerable teenage girls and they take advantage of that.

If you have a teenage daughter, I recommend letting her know how much you love her and complimenting her on a daily basis. Let her know that she is loved and a gift to this world. That you support her and want to help her when she is struggling. Ask about crushes she has in school, and encourage her to go on group dates and group activities with guys and other girl friends. These simple acts will improve her self-esteem a lot and increase her feeling of self-worth, making her stronger and able to say no when faced with a tough situation.

If you have a teenage son, I recommend that you also let them know how much you love them and that they are such a precious gift to this world. Men deal with insecurities as well, and I think that they search for validation from girls in their own way, similar to how girls search for approval from guys.

I believe love is the answer to everything. So letting your teen know that you love them will improved their confidence and ability to deal with the many tough situations that every teen faces.