How to become a stronger teenage girl

The science journal Scientific America reports that in the last 150 years the average height of people in industrialized nations has increased by four inches. They cite better childhood nutrition as the main factor for this increase 1. If you are a teenager still in your growing stages, there are ways to help your body grow.

Eat an apple or banana soon after you wake up to give your body a boost of energy for a morning exercise.

How to Get a Six Pack As a Teenager

Exercise for at least 30 minutes. Cardio exercises such as running, cycling or swimming maintain a rapid heart rate while minimizing impact on the body. Exercise stimulates the prominent growth hormone found in the pituitary gland, the human growth hormone (HGH), according to Gainheight.com

Hang from a pull up bar for five minutes. The Growing Taller Guide website reports that hanging decompresses and elongates your spine and joints, which helps your body grow taller.

Can Certain Foods Make Your Body Grow Faster?

Eat a well-balanced breakfast. Drink orange juice, eat whole-grain carbohydrates, eggs, yogurt, milk and cheese for protein and calcium. The protein and calcium stimulate bone and muscle growth while the vitamins in the orange juice and the carbohydrates provide energy for your body throughout the day.

Eat a small meal every two to three hours, depending on when you get hungry. Large meals make your body release insulin to regulate blood sugar levels, which suppresses the body’s human growth hormone. After small meals, your body can convert all the nutrients more easily into energy for muscle growth. Eat five to seven small meals each day instead of three large meals 2.

Eat the last meal of the day at least two hours before bedtime. Don’t eat right before sleep as your body is unable to properly convert food into energy or muscle growth. Instead it is stored into fat.

The Growing Taller Guide recommends an exercise just before bed to strengthen your back muscles and ligaments, helping them grow. Lie down on your stomach and stretch your arms out in front of you with your palms down. Keep your legs straight and lift your right leg and left arm off the ground. Try to hold the pose for five seconds 2. Repeat the pose with the other leg and arm. Do this routine four times, doubling the amount of seconds you keep your limbs off the floor each time until you reach twenty seconds.

Cigarettes, alcohol and drug use can stint your growth. Sleep at least eight hours a night. The body needs time to rest and regenerate.

How to become a stronger teenage girl

If you've got your eye on magazines, sitcoms, movies and pop music, then crop tops, bikinis and slim tummies rule your world. A teen girl often wants to look like models and pop stars, and she'll do just about anything to achieve flat abs. Unfortunately, a teen — just like anyone — can't hand-pick from where on her body she'll lose weight.

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Flat abs are a result of the perfect mix of good genes, a healthy diet and quality exercise. If your doctor assures you are of a healthy weight, adopt the following healthy lifestyle to get the flattest tummy you can. A girl who needs to lose a few pounds will also see results with these strategies.

Watch What You Eat

How to become a stronger teenage girl

Your parents are right — you are what you eat. A diet that includes lots of lean proteins, such as chicken breast and lean steak, fresh vegetables and fruits along with moderate amounts of whole grains promotes a flat belly. Too many refined grains, such as white bread and snack crackers, lead to weight gain and a poochy tummy.

Swap the white bagel at breakfast for a bowl of oatmeal with berries, have a burrito bowl for lunch instead of the tortilla and choose brown rice with dinner instead of white bread. Skip processed foods such as pretzels, cookies, chips and cheese crackers and go for fresh fruit, plain nuts or low-fat yogurt at snack time. These whole grains, along with plenty of fibrous vegetables — including lettuce, broccoli and celery — offer fiber, which can help deter belly fat gain in teens showed a 2012 study.

Choose water instead of soda and fancy coffee drinks. These add calories that can cause your belly to grow and don't help you feel full.

Get Out and Be Active

Aim for one hour, at minimum, of physical activity daily. If you play a team sport, such as volleyball or soccer, this counts on the days you have practice. Dance class, martial arts or a walk with your family or your dog also count. Getting out and moving helps you burn calories to resist weight gain as well as builds healthy bones, joints and muscles for your whole life.

At least three of those days of exercise should include muscle-strengthening work. You don't have to hoist iron like bodybuilders, but crank out a set of push-ups or join a tumbling class. Head to your local trampoline gym or elementary school playground with friends to channel your inner child and do pull-ups, climb and flip for fun. All the while, you're doing activity that supports a healthy body and flatter stomach. Crunches and planks help tone your abdominal muscles, but won't trim any extra fat covering them.

How to become a stronger teenage girl

Even when you're not formally exercising, choose activity over sedentary pastimes such as watching television or playing on the computer. Call your friends and go for a walk or invite your siblings on a bike ride rather than bonding in front of social media.

Sleep and Stress Less

Class deadlines, family obligations and peer pressure can lead to late nights. When you've got morning obligations, you have fewer hours to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends you get eight to 10 hours every night. This improves your mood, concentration, energy and weight. A 2010 study published in the journal Sleep showed that getting too little sleep contributes to gains in belly fat in people younger than 40.

Life can keep you from getting the sleep you need. Not only do you have homework due and practices that run late, but fear that you're not getting the grades you should or your social scene is melting down can make you toss and turn. Make a list of people you feel comfortable confiding in and turning to for help — a school counselor, trusted teacher, parent or dear friend can offer support.

Even the desire to get a flat stomach can become an obsession. Try to keep your expectations realistic when it comes to weight loss. It takes time, as you can safely drop only about 1 pound per week at most.

How to become a stronger teenage girl

You love your teenager without expectations. All you want for her to is to be happy. But are you losing focus of your primary task as a parent? Remember, today’s child will be tomorrow’s adult. Are you raising a teenager who’ll grow up to be a responsible adult?

Today, many teenagers are pampered and sheltered. They grow up without any sense of responsibility. And then the parents complain about their teenager’s lack of focus and bad manners. But the blame lies squarely on bad parenting. If you don’t want to make the same mistake, you need to start teaching responsibility to teenagers. Yes, it’s a battle to make a teen listen, but it is a battle worth fighting.

How To Make Your Teenager Responsible?

You might expect your teen to behave like an adult. But remember, she is still growing. The hormonal roller coaster going through her body is affecting not just growth, but her social behavior too (1). She is confused. She may not say it aloud, but she needs your guidance more than anything else right now.

Now is a great time to shape her behavior. But you got to be subtle. Lectures just don’t just work with teenagers. So, how can you make your teenager responsible? Here are a few handy tips on how to make your teenager responsible:

1. Set Expectations:

Yes, you love your child without expectations. But now is a good time to set some. Once your teen knows what is expected of her, she’ll be forced to work towards it. This is the first step towards learning responsibility.

But make sure the expectations are reasonable. Impossible expectations will just end up frustrating both your teen and you.

2.Make A Chores List:

If there is one thing your teen hates more than lectures, it is chores! But chores are a great way to assign responsibility. So, make a list of chores you expect your rebel teen to work on. Discuss the list as a family and place it somewhere prominent.

Be warned! This won’t be easy. Chores are not fun, at least not for teens. But as they grow up, chores will be a part of their lives. So, start the training today.

And let there be consequences. If your teen fails to do the chores assigned to her, take away a privilege. Take away her mobile for a day. That will teach them how to be a responsible teenagers.

3. Allow Choices:

Life is about choices. The sooner your teen realizes that, the better. So, get her involved in household decisions. Planning to buy a new household appliance? Or planning a vacation? Ask your teenager for her views. This will give her a sense of responsibility. You can also plan weekly family meetings where you, as a family, can decide on menu plans, chores list, recreation ideas, etc.

4. Trust Her:

This is a big one. It’s not easy, but learn to trust your teen to make the right choices. If she says she’ll babysit your five-year-old while you go out for a movie, let her. Your instinct might scream otherwise, but for once overlook it. Your trust is just the incentive she needs to be more responsible.

5. Let There Be Consequences:

Don’t protect her. If she has not finished her assignment, let her face the punishment coming her way. Don’t write a note to help her out. This way she’ll learn the truth about natural consequences. You reap what you sow.

6. Reward Her:

No, we are not talking about bribing her. But your teen needs to know that good begets good. So, if she lives up to her part of the bargain, reward her. How you reward her depends completely on you. A few words of appreciation, a pat on the back, a book, a trip to watch her favorite movie – anything to show you’ve noticed her efforts.

7. Get Her To Volunteer:

This is a great way to help your teen understand that the world does not revolve around her. When she is involved in a cause, she’ll realize her privilege as well as her responsibility.

8. Join A Youth Group:

It may be part of your church or a neighborhood youth club, get her to join. When she works with others, sometimes in a leadership position, she’ll truly understand to take her responsibilities seriously (2).

9. Help Her Set Goals:

Talk to her about her dreams and long term plans. If she has a career in mind, sit down and chalk out a route map. Help her take small steps, keeping the big picture in mind. But tell her the journey is hers to make. Let her know that her dream is her responsibility. Only she can make it come true.

10. Respect Her Individuality:

You can’t live her life. Your teen needs to learn that her life – all the good and bad included – is hers to live. You as a parent need to accept and respect that her way of doings things are different. If she makes a choice that is contrary to your wish, accept it. This can mean something small, like a dress she wants to buy. Or it can be something life changing, like a career choice.

If you follow through with these tips, you’ll be doing parenting right. And you’ll be doing it because you love your teen. The best thing you can teach your child is how to live her life without you!

How do you teach responsibility at home? Do you assign your teen chores? Tell us!

Girls are outperforming boys in pretty much every field these days. Even physically now. More and more girls are taking up combat sports and finding that they can destroy male opponents – often with ease. Are girls getting stronger? or have they always been stronger than boys – but just discouraged by society from getting involved in sports? Should males be worried by this trend?

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I think as the role of the Female evolves they get more active. Both physically and mentally. I think it shouldn’t be surprising anymore that women can think and act the way men can, and even outplay us so often nowadays in those fields that are thought to be dominated by males.

Yes, they are becoming stronger. In every sense. And that is right and correct. They have been suppressed so hard for so long, that I think the momentum of their hitch will leave our mouths open.

I actually think that girls have always been stronger than boys. It’s well known that they develop physically way ahead of boys. The boys themselves don’t really catch up untill the late teens. the difference now is in the lifestyles of girls – more are getting involved in sports and this means that theyare coming into more contact and competition with boys – this shows up an uncomfortable truth which we have been able to deny for centuries.

Will this trend continue for girls – will we see a time when girls maintain their strength advantage over boys into adulthood. if it’s just a case of lifestyle choice and attitude adjustment – I can easily see this happening.

Girls are outperforming boys in pretty much every field these days. Even physically now. More and more girls are taking up combat sports and finding that they can destroy male opponents – often with ease. Are girls getting stronger? or have they always been stronger than boys – but just discouraged by society from getting involved in sports? Should males be worried by this trend?

Wrong. And if you look at stats of mixed wrestling in high school etc. you’ll see that boys generally beat girls more often AND with ease. Only a few girls beat some of the boys, and it’s not with ease, not even close!

They’ve never been stronger, nor will they ever be. Boys are stronger, it’s just biology.

I actually think that girls have always been stronger than boys. It’s well known that they develop physically way ahead of boys. The boys themselves don’t really catch up untill the late teens. the difference now is in the lifestyles of girls – more are getting involved in sports and this means that theyare coming into more contact and competition with boys – this shows up an uncomfortable truth which we have been able to deny for centuries.

Will this trend continue for girls – will we see a time when girls maintain their strength advantage over boys into adulthood. if it’s just a case of lifestyle choice and attitude adjustment – I can easily see this happening.

When girls develop physically it’s only minor stuff like body hair, odor, etc. It makes no difference in strength.

How to become a stronger teenage girl

The entirety of this post are personal insights that I have had as a young leader in the form of tips. This is for anyone aspiring to become a young leader or just a more effective one. I have also included pointers from close friends who are leaders in their area.

1. Be confident, but be careful to not confuse confidence with arrogance. To do this, you need to fully know what you are talking about. When you do speak, speak with conviction.

2. “Leadership is about vision. It’s about giving new or original perspectives to things. One who has his own understanding and interpretation of things will distinguish himself from others. Thinking for yourself implies not taking anything for a fact. Always look for a personal explanation or interpretation. In order to gain that personal distance and understanding, one should never rely on others knowledge, work or judgment.” Felix Winckler, COO and cofounder of Poutsch.

3. “Inspire others to take action by showing your own action, commitment and good work for a better world. Make it easy for people to step in and join forces if they want to help.” Ralien Bekkers, Dutch UN Youth Representative on Sustainable Development.

4. “Be ambitious and do not be afraid to take risks.” Jared Costanzo, president and founder of the Student Voice Project. Do not be afraid to be idealistic. If you happen to fail, you will recognize your strengths and limitations and be better to adapt in the future. Only by knowing your limit can you fully maximize your potential. Of course, the scope of your limit will lessen over time through experience.

5. Never let someone tell you that you cannot do something. If something isn’t out there, go create it.

6. Be organized. In order to work effectively, you will need to be organized. If you are disorganized, you will tend to forget certain things.

7. Be able to articulate your thoughts and speech thoroughly and efficiently (a.k.a. communication skills). This also includes being able to delegate tasks and being clear of your expectations.

8. Be able to establish your goals and commit to your plan. “Sometimes structure, deadlines, and plans aren’t the best way to lead. At times, it is more effective to go with the flow, take it as it comes and explore each new opportunity. But, despite this, you always need to keep in mind your end game, your objective.” Prasanth Ramakrishna, President and Founder of Unheard Voices. Kevin Phan, a Commitment Mentor at the Clinton Global Initiative, also advises young people to, “Be patient with your goals. Go on your own timeline.”

9. “Make sure your project, campaign or endeavor solves a problem and you that have clearly defined what the problem is and how you are going to solve it.” Alex Wirth, chair and founder of the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council.

10. Know the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your team. Being a leader does not always mean that you are the most intelligent or capable person within a group. It just means that you have an ability to organize people and are able to utilize each person’s skill set. “Leading isn’t an easy task — not everyone can do it. I believe if you are truly passionate about the area you are leading in, not only will you be a successful leader, but there is no end to what you can do. Nothing material can slow you down, only your passion will drive you.” Jai Kumar Mediratta, Camp Kesem Executive Board of UNL

11. Be fair. To gain the trust and respect of your followers, you need to be fair. If an opportunity comes up, do not automatically look to your close friends or colleagues. Let everyone know and have the same chance to get whatever it is.

12. Be clever. If something does not work out, try an alternative method. If you do not have enough resources for a project, look in your community to see if it can be easily donated or lent to you. For instance, if I need to use a conference room at the University of Nebraska — Lincoln to hold an event, it will cost around $200 for a day. However, certified student organizations of the college can reserve one room for free for a specific day. Being clever, in this case, means that you go partner with a student organization and have them reserve a room for you.

13. Be optimistic. After all, optimism is what is needed to change the way this world works. “What you expect tends to happen.” Gary Dees, president of Leadership Messenger Academy.

14. Remember that you are young. Be energetic! Personally, I try not to act so serious all the time. Recognize that you are still young and embrace all that your prime has to offer for you.

15. Connect! Strive to make a vast and diverse network of friends and colleagues. You will never know when a person will become handy. I have created a support system through my peers and colleagues. Everyone benefits from a big network. If you want to network with someone you do not know, just introduce yourself through a message and add them anyway.

16. Know when to give “the talk,” and do give it when it is necessary. If a member of your team volunteers for a task or have accepted a task delegated by you, they are making a commitment to execute it. Sometimes there are valid reasons that prevent a person from completing their duties and in those cases, you have to accept it when they happen. I do not hesitate to be frank with someone if I had already made my expectations clear or if their failure to complete a task will (or have) hinder the entire team.

17. Have a right-hand man (or woman). This is a go-to person that you trust. My Program Director, Tanvir Faisal, is basically my other arm. I ask that all inquiries sent to me are cc’ed to him as well. He will catch whatever I miss, and at times, advise me on what should be done for all sorts of things.

18. “Know when to listen to others, and when to listen only to yourself.” Mark & Ismini Svensson, Founders of StayUNITED

You may think extreme exercise will help you look like a skinny model. That, and several other fitness traps, almost always ends in disappointment. Check out these popular fitness traps, and get the lowdown on healthy exercise.

Fitness Trap #1: Exercise to Lose Weight

You may see a bunch of twigs walking down the runway, but in real life, girls gain weight in their teens. This is normal. Putting on 40 pounds between age 10 and 14 is not unusual or unhealthy.

Does this mean you should just sit around get fat? No! Regular exercise can help you stay healthy as you develop. One study found that girls who don’t exercise gain an average of 10 to 15 pounds more than active girls. Something as simple as five 30-minute walks a week is all it takes.

Fitness Trap #2: Talk Yourself Out of Exercise

Maybe you think you look stupid or fat when you exercise. This keeps a lot of girls on the sidelines. Ironically, active girls say they feel better about themselves and their bodies, no matter how much they weigh.

Fitness Trap #3: Plan for Pain, Embarrassment, Boredom

OK, you hate the treadmill and loathe team sports. Then stay away from things that make you feel like a hamster or require hand-eye coordination. You still have options. Some girls stay away from ball fields, only to fall in love with dancing, yoga, and martial arts. Others find their bliss through biking, jogging, swimming, or taking long walks.

Fitness Trap #4: Do Only One Thing

Cross training helps build your overall fitness and helps you to not get injured. It also keeps things interesting. Here are the different kinds of exercise to work into your routine.

  • Aerobic exercise

Good for: stronger heart and lungs

Examples: inline skating, dancing, walking briskly, jogging, biking, swimming

  • Strength training
  • Good for: stronger muscles and bones

Examples: lifting weights, working with resistance bands, many kinds of yoga, rock climbing

  • Core body exercise
    Good for: stronger trunk, pelvis, and lower back, better balance

Examples: sit-ups, leg lifts, yoga, Pilates

Fitness Trap #5: Don’t Exercise Enough

Remember the study comparing weight gain in active girls to inactive girls? It only takes 30 minutes of activity, five times a week to make a difference. The key is finding things you enjoy and making them part of your life, like brushing your teeth.

Fitness Trap #6: Exercise Too Much

Some girls get obsessed and take exercise too far. Here are some signs of overdoing it:

  • You don’t take at least one day of rest every week
  • You feel exhausted all the time
  • Your periods stop — if this happens or don’t get your first period by the time you turn 16, talk to your doctor about it.

Exercise is not just for boys and doesn’t have to be humiliating. Done right, it’s a great way to get strong and healthy.

Sources

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Adolescent Physical Development: Pubertal Growth and Development.”

National Institutes of Health: Health News. “Decline in Physical Activity Plays Key Role in Weight Gain Among Adolescent Girls.”

Girls Scouts. “Sports and Physical Activity.”

Jen Sacheck, PhD, assistant professor, John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Louise Greenspan, MD, Pediatric Endocrinology, Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco.

Greydanus, D. The American Academy of Pediatrics. The Complete and Authoritative Guide: Caring for Your Teenager. Bantam Books, 2003.

This fact sheet is part of the Teen talk: A survival guide for parents of teenagers series.

The development of identity, or one’s sense of self, occurs throughout a lifetime. For teens, thinking about their identity is a first-time event. They are starting to wonder who they are and why. They’re curious about the factors (reasons) they are who they are. Teens are also developing a perception of themselves and wondering how others perceive them.

How teens figure things out

Teens will find themselves acting differently according to the situation and who’s with them. This often leads to confusion and questions about who they really are. For example, teens might ask themselves whether they are predominantly:

Reserved or outgoing.

Friendly or distant.

Responsible or carefree.

Teens work out who they are by trying on new identities and experimenting with different appearances or new interests. Fluctuations in choices can startle parents but are normal.

Changing their appearance or pursuing new interests are ways for teens to “try on” different identities to see what works for them. This could be why “dress up” or theme days for school events are so popular. They give teens a chance to try something different or unusual in an approved, safe setting.

What parents can do

Here are tips for you, as a parent, to deal with your teen as she develops an identity:

Don’t get alarmed over changes in appearance. Unusual hair colors will grow out and clothing fads change. Pick your battles and keep these issues in perspective.

Encourage your teen to pursue his interests through activities such as sports, music, or hobbies.

Help your teen identify her strengths and choose activities that let her use those strengths and “shine.” For example, if your teen is good at arguing, she may thrive in debate club. Or a teen who doodles a lot may benefit from an art class or activity where he can indulge his love of drawing.

How to become a stronger teenage girl

1. The brain reaches its biggest size in early adolescence.

For girls, the brain reaches its biggest size around 11 years old. For boys, the brain reaches its biggest size around age 14. But this difference does not mean either boys or girls are smarter than one another!

2. The brain continues to mature even after it is done growing.

Though the brain may be done growing in size, it does not finish developing and maturing until the mid- to late 20s. The front part of the brain, called the prefrontal cortex, is one of the last brain regions to mature. This area is responsible for skills like planning, prioritizing, and controlling impulses. Because these skills are still developing, teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors without considering the potential results of their decisions.

3. The teen brain is ready to learn and adapt.

The teen brain has lots of plasticity, which means it can change, adapt, and respond to its environment. Challenging academics or mental activities, exercise, and creative activities such as art can help the brain mature and learn.

4. Many mental disorders may begin to appear during adolescence.

Ongoing changes in the brain, along with physical, emotional, and social changes, can make teens vulnerable to mental health problems. All the big changes the brain is experiencing may explain why adolescence is a time when many mental disorders—such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders—can emerge.

5. Teen brains may be more vulnerable to stress.

Because the teen brain is still developing, teens may respond to stress differently than adults, which could lead to stress-related mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Mindfulness, which is a psychological process of actively paying attention to the present moment, may help teens cope with and reduce stress. More information on managing stress is available in the National Institute of Mental Health’s fact sheet, 5 Things You Should Know About Stress.

6. Teens need more sleep than children and adults.

Research shows that melatonin (the “sleep hormone”) levels in the blood are naturally higher later at night and drop later in the morning in teens than in most children and adults. This difference may explain why many teens stay up late and struggle with getting up in the morning. Teens should get about 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night, but most teens do not get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can make it difficult to pay attention, may increase impulsivity, and may increase the risk for irritability or depression.

7. The teen brain is resilient.

Although adolescence is a vulnerable time for the brain and for teenagers in general, most teens go on to become healthy adults. Some changes in the brain during this important phase of development actually may help protect against long-term mental disorders.

Finding Help

If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help.

Communicating well with your doctor or other health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Find tips to help prepare and get the most out of your visit.

If you are in immediate distress or are thinking about hurting yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
NIH Publication No. 20-MH-8078
Revised 2020

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