Why is my daughter so desperate for affirmation and boy crazy? Well, let's talk about that today
on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and
I specialize in helping kids, teens and families to live happier lives. I lead two organizations:
Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 C3 organization Child and Teen Counseling, both
here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump on Facebook Live to answer
your parenting questions. Let's answer today's. "My daughter is 16, and she's totally boy
crazy. We allow her to date, and we've talked about safe sex and consent. Our real concern is
that her whole identity seems based on who likes her and who doesn't. It goes beyond male attention
too. She's obsessed with how many likes she gets on social media. Is there anything we can do
to help her be less desperate for this kind of affirmation?" Thank you for your question. In
the short term, no. Unfortunately, teenagers being
boy crazy or girl crazy or both is not uncommon. It's happened throughout all of our lives. It
will probably continue to be happening. But there's really kind of two issues here. There's
this boy craziness, which it sounds like you have somewhat of a handle on. It seems like you have
an open conversation, whether open dialogue with dating and issues like consent and respectful
relationships, which is great. The more education your child has, the better. And the more
she feels safe to talk to you about, the better. She'll likely make healthier, safer choices
that way if she has a safe place. But needing that affirmation, needing that external validation
to define her self worth, is, again, not uncommon. Adults do it too, but especially teenagers
do it a lot. And what our teenagers have that we didn't have is they have social media, which is
this artificial measure of your worth based on how many likes you have or how many followers
you have and so on and so forth. So I think it's really
important to have those conversations as well about your self worth and how the flimsiness
of that value, because it can be torn away anytime based on other people's whims. We do want validation.
We do want accolades. We all like it if feels good, but if that's how we put our whole self worth,
then we always feel empty. There's always this endless bottomless pit that never gets filled
because we don't know how to fill it ourselves. Social media is not the way to fill it. I've worked
with people who are in the social media industry who are influencers, and they're constantly
they never feel fulfilled. And it's really important that we find something else. Hopefully
your daughter has something else, some other activity, whether it's sports or martial arts
or something in the arts or speech and debate or again, it doesn't really matter what she's doing
as long as it's something that she feels connected to it. It has creative stimulation for physical
stimulation, perhaps social stimulation
in real life. That will help her grow the maturity to start finding more of a balanced view of
who she is beyond the likes on social media or the male attention she may be getting. Another
thing of male attention, and we talked about this a little over a year ago, like March 2022. We
had a video similar to this about asking about boy crazy teenagers. And one thing that we didn't
really get to but I think this really talks about is that male attention, how much is she inadvertently
falling into the objectification of herself in our society, media objectifies young, beautiful
people all the time. And we sometimes fall into that as well. We don't mean to, but society can
push us in that direction. And I'm not saying you should never do that. It's up to you. I want to
be potty positive and allow people to express themselves in the way they want to. But is your
daughter expressing herself in a way that makes her feel good for herself? Or is it for how other
people accept her? And another thing
about this is, if it really focused on male attention, does she have people in her family members,
let's say, who can give her that unconditional acceptance? Who are male, a father, an uncle,
a grandfather, for example, who can just accept her for who she is regardless of what she looks
like, regardless of what she does? Just that unconditional. What we like to say in our field
unconditional, positive regard where she feels accepted no matter what, no matter what her
hair looks like or what pimple. She has that positive male role model in her life, has a smile
and a hug and warm words to share with her at any time in her life. And I think it's important to
have that sometimes. Again, a father, a grandfather, an uncle, a neighbor who you're feel close
with, a family friend, could be a therapist. It just depends on what she needs. There's nothing
short term about this. This is a long term thing. I think maintaining these conversations are
important. And again, also having make sure that she
has outlets that inspire her creatively, physically and socially that will help her develop
into hopefully a stronger and more confident adult in her life. That's our question for today.
Thank you very much. Again. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen
Counseling. If you like your question answered here on Tips on Teens, email us at tips on email@example.com.
We also have a Facebook group called of Tips on Teens. Feel free to join it. We love your questions.
Keep them coming, and I'll see you guys next Wednesday at noon. Bye bye.
Teenagers being boy crazy or girl crazy or both has been happening since the beginning of time.
The need for external affirmation and validation to define one’s self worth is not uncommon. It affects children as well as adults, and most people experience it at some point in their lives. What teens have now in social media however is a false and extreme measure of self worth based on how many “likes” or followers they have.
How does this relate to attention from the opposite sex for your boy crazy daughter? It’s really important to have an open dialogue with them not only about sex, consent and respect, but also about what a negative influence social media can be. Research consistently shows that the more information kids have the more likely they are to make better decisions.
A MORE BALANCED VIEW
There is something you can do to lessen your child’s need for affirmation whatever the source. It’s essential to help your kid find outlets that inspire her creatively, physically and socially. In doing this we can help our kids gain more balance in how they get their affirmation. There’s more to say about it, and we get into the topic in this Tips on Teens:
“My daughter is sixteen and she’s totally boy crazy. We allow her to date, and we’ve talked about safe sex and consent. Our real concern is that her whole identity seems based on who likes her and who doesn’t. It goes beyond male attention too. She’s obsessed with how many ‘likes’ she gets on social media. Is there anything we can do to help her be less desperate for this kind of affirmation?”
Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.