Confidence Parenting Parenting Teenagers Uncategorized

59: How to Overcome the Confidence Crisis in Teenage Girls | Delia Perry


Delia Perry, host of the Girls 4 Greatness Podcast, shares 5 simple strategies to ward off the confidence crisis that often plagues teenage girls.

  • “We need to meet our kids where they are, rather than making them meet us where we are.” – Emily Melious
  • “If you’re going to shift yourself out of a funk or out of a negative mindset, one of the best things you can do is to do something for someone else, or to send a message to someone else or an email, or pick up the phone and call someone and let them know that you’re thinking of them.” – Delia Perry
  • 0:47 – The confidence crisis
  • 3:19 – Being the mom of a teenage daughter
  • 11:54 – Overcoming your own self-confidence issues
  • 15:07 – 5 Habits for igniting our inner greatness
  • 24:57 – Get in touch with Delia and find her resources
View Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Mothers of Misfits: Welcome to the Mothers of Misfits podcast. Join me for conversations about how to advocate for our kids in a one size fits all world. Be sure to subscribe, so you never miss an episode.

[00:00:17] Emily Melious: Welcome back everybody, really glad you’re here again. We are going to talk to Delia Perry today. She is a wife, mom of two, Winn is 10 and Lily is 15. Love those names. She also hosts the Girls 4 Greatness podcast. She’s passionate about empowering others to live the life they want, and also share their own unique greatness with the world. Welcome Delia!

[00:00:41] Delia Perry: Thank you so much, Emily. It’s so great to be here. I really appreciate you asking me to come on your show. I’m excited.

[00:00:47] Emily Melious: Of course, I’m excited too, because we’re going to talk about a big topic and one that you and I have lived through being female. And that is self-esteem in young women. And a really tough statistic to swallow is that at age 14, many girls reach their lowest point of self-confidence. And interestingly, boys’ self-confidence at that same age is still 27% higher.

[00:01:17] I mean, that’s a tremendous difference. Why do you think young women go through such a confidence crisis?

[00:01:25]Delia Perry:  I think it’s multiple things. I think, especially at that 13, 14 age, I think girls are trying to, I think all kids in general and just trying to figure out who they are, what they’re into, how they relate to their peers. There’s just so many different factors, but I think especially for young girls, I think the media aspect has a ton to do with it. At least that’s kind of my take on it. I know for myself personally, I didn’t so much struggle at that age, you know it was a lot later, but I know media wasn’t a factor when I was a kid, you know, it really wasn’t. It was TV and that was it.

[00:01:59] There was no computer. There was no phone. There was no nothing. So, I know for my daughter, that’s kind of just the age where they start to get interested in social media. And they’re just relating more online and not to mention, you know, just the whole, I think, pressures that girls and women face, I think it just starts at that age of, you know, comparing yourself to what are my friends wearing?

[00:02:21] What are they doing? What are they into? And then not to even mention the factor of boys and, you know, the opposite sex issue at that age.  I think boys may be a little bit later. But yeah, I mean, I think it’s a number of things, but it’s definitely something that parents need to be mindful of, and I think really stay on top of.  

[00:02:41] Emily Melious: Yeah, and it’s interesting you talk about comparing ourselves and looking at others. And speaking as an adult woman, I don’t think we grow out of that. You know, I think that’s something that women just struggle with in general. And I know we can be our own worst critics, our own worst enemies, and it’s the voice inside that can be the most damaging to our confidence.

[00:03:03] Delia Perry: For sure. Exactly, I couldn’t agree more.

[00:03:06]Emily Melious: You have a teenage daughter, Lily.

[00:03:08]Delia Perry: Yep, I do.

[00:03:09]Emily Melious: I know there’s probably good days and bad days. Again, we were on the flip side of this equation, so, you know, karma maybe, I don’t know. Yeah, but tell me, so I mean, what’s it like to be the mom of a teenage girl and how are you supporting her and helping her preserve herself confidence through all of this?

[00:03:30] Delia Perry: Well, I think there’s two things that really come to mind for me. One was, I had to really resolve to kind of, make sure that I was not just staying on top of what she was doing that I don’t want to seem like a hover parent, cause that’s not what I’m trying to say. I’m saying, I wanted to really take interest in the things that she was taking interest in. So if she was wanting to be on Snapchat and Instagram, I really kind of tried to make that a point for me to understand those media, and I already pretty much was on Instagram, but Snapchat, I knew nothing about. So I can distinctly remember just asking her to just show me, you know, what’s this about and how does this work?

[00:04:07] And I wanted to show interest, you know, I think that really helped me understand where she was coming from. It gave her a sense of, oh okay, well my mom is taking interest in what I’m doing. She might’ve thought it was a little annoying, like I was keeping tabs on her, but that was one thing.

[00:04:21]And since then, even, I feel like that was more of a big thing for her, maybe in the 12-13 range. But I think that now that she’s a little bit older, she’s 15 now, I think she’s almost, kind of trying to find her own way on media. And it’s not as big of a pull and maybe as big of a draw as it was when she first discovered it or first started using it.

[00:04:41] I think she’s realizing that, you know, this takes a lot of time and I, you know, may not want to spend all my time doing this. I think part of that is maturity, but the other big thing is I really advise parents to consider communicating with your kid through media. I mean yes, you want to communicate with your kid face to face. Definitely, you want to pour into them in that regard, but I will say one of the things I’ve always tried to do is to either send her a text or an email at some point during the day. Not that she’s on her phone, at her school she can’t really be on her phone, but I know she can at least get an email. And I try and at least say hello, say something positive, and I think it’s really been helpful in our relationship. Just the fact that I take the time to do that, that I show interest, that I’m showing that I think of her. I mean, I think of the fact that we do that sometimes with our friends, maybe with our spouse, you know, I think why not our kids? And maybe your kid doesn’t have access to that kind of media during the day and that’s okay. You know, maybe if they are on a digital device and they can read it later I mean, I think that’s even valuable. So that’s the big thing I know that’s really helped me. And the other thing is to just, let your kid have a space to discover who they want to be, to not push them in one direction too much or another, but to let them become their own person. And that’s probably been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn as a parent. I was a big athlete in high school and college and my husband was as well, and my daughter, granted, was into athletics for a while, but she eventually decided just recently in fact, to let that go.

[00:06:17] It just wasn’t in her DNA, so to speak it, wasn’t what she really wanted to hone in on. And, it’s hard to let your kid, you know, move away from something that you would really like to see them succeed in, but you know is in their best interest, and you know that you have to allow them to figure things out. And I don’t look at that as a failure, I look at that as, you have to let your kids make some of their own decisions.

[00:06:39] Emily Melious: And the theme of what I’m hearing from you is, we need to meet our kids where they are, rather than making them meet us where we are.

[00:06:51] Delia Perry: For sure.

[00:06:52] Emily Melious: Which is difficult because we feel like, hey I’m the parent here, I’ve lived this, I know what I’m doing, I know what’s right for you. And sometimes that’s true totally true, but we can hurt the relationship, to your point, if we insist on doing it our way. And honestly, I’m not sure that I’ve heard of that strategy before of sending a text or an email. In fact, like you addressed, most parents are thinking, I’m not going to give in to that. They’re on their phone all day long.

[00:07:18] They can sit across from me and have a conversation. And though that is totally well-intentioned and there’s a place for that, let’s not fight them on the things that matter to them. And that might be our inroad in building that relationship, so then we can have a sit down conversation. But if it’s a constant battle of, no you’re going to do it my way, I mean in the work that I do, it’s all about giving people the freedom to operate in their own way. And I’ve seen parents just force fit their methods onto their kids, and it really creates a relationship chasm. That is difficult to overcome, particularly when they go through confidence issues, self-esteem issues, school issues, relationship issues. You know, if you don’t have that strong foundation of that relationship, then when the storm comes, it’s really hard to help them through it.

[00:08:12]Delia Perry: Right. And I will say that I use media in that regard, I want to clarify, when Lily is away from the house, like when she’s either at school, or maybe at a friend’s. I am not a fan of texting my daughter when she’s up in her room to come downstairs. That I refuse to do. I mean, you’ll hear me screaming at her, I just won’t do it. I know there’s parents that that probably works and I’m not judging, but for me personally, when I’m in the house then yes, I don’t want to be communicating with her because she’s on a different level of the house to come downstairs or to do something that she needs to do or, you know, whatever. That’s just me personally.

[00:08:52]Emily Melious: I’m curious as a boy mom, especially cause this’ll be a different, you know, dynamic in our household, but where does your husband fit in in this, in terms of his perspective on raising a teenage girl? Does a lot of these issues feel like, okay, it’s a girl thing. Or do you feel it’s really important that he’s a part of helping her go these kinds of challenges and obstacles as a teenage girl, and be an alternative voice to what social media or other people might be seeing out there and having that fatherly presence?

[00:09:26]  Delia Perry: I am a big fan of both parents being involved as much as possible. I mean, he would say, you know, and we’ve had these discussions. He and I, at times, like he may feel like maybe she’s a little bit harder to relate to at this age. You know, because he’s a guy and quite frankly, he does spend a lot more time with my son in some regards because he is playing baseball and he’s a coach. And so they spend a lot of time together and they have that bond, but he also recognizes the importance of spending time with his daughter, and the fact that he needs to pour into her as much as he can, you know, while he has the time. I mean, I think that’s really the thing that I think you start to really think about as your kids, at any age, but you have such limited time and you have so many years to really, I think, influence and mold and shape them and to build their confidence, and to grow them to be respectful, kind human beings. And that’s really what we’ve both tried to focus on, and I think that you both have to play a role.

[00:10:31] I mean, I think one of the things that we’re constantly talking about is, what can we do individually with each kid? You know, as much as I spend time with my daughter, because maybe she was playing volleyball and I was driving her around, or she has other things that she does, or my husband’s busy with my son. I mean, I know I need to make that time to spend with my son and to do things that are going to be important to him and meaningful to him one-on-one as much as he needs to, you know, have that time one-on-one with my daughter. And, I really, really think that that is huge in building their confidence, is huge in pouring into them just as individuals to know that both parents care.

[00:11:12] Emily Melious: Zach Mercurio is an expert on mattering, and he was on the podcast now a while back, but it sticks with me so much what he talks about, which is being noticed, and feeling heard, and recognized. And you’re so right with that one-on-one, is those are the times that they feel noticed and seen and heard. And it’s a great way to accomplish that because even as a family unit, that might not always be the same when you’re all together, you know, there’s really something about that one-on-one attention. It’s so meaningful. It’s so impactful to them. And you might have conversations with them that you might not have as a family unit.

[00:11:50] Delia Perry: Exactly. Exactly.

[00:11:54] Emily Melious: So Delia, you struggled with self-esteem as a young adult. Again, I think that’s probably a very common story. How did you overcome your own hangups?

[00:12:04]Delia Perry: Well, I was really fortunate to, I think in some ways, not have that struggle as a young teen and maybe in my high school years, it was more my college years. But regardless, I think we all have a time in our life when we struggle at some point or another with, if it’s not confidence, then maybe our self esteem.

[00:12:23] Emily Melious: And purpose.

[00:12:24] Delia Perry: Yeah purpose I think. I think that for me it was really, besides, you know, doing a lot of the hard work of really working on my mindset and how I was thinking about myself and working on changing those thoughts, because for me I took a lot of those issues into my marriage.

[00:12:40] I had to kind of work through them a lot later in life than maybe some do now. I think maybe, like I said, these things are occurring at such an early age now compared to when we were young, but regardless, I think a big thing is just wrapping your head around the fact that comparison doesn’t do you any favors. If anything, it robs your joy.

[00:13:03] And that was a big thing for me that I know I was doing a lot of. And I think like you said, we do a lot as women. And whether we think we’re over our self-esteem issues, and maybe in some ways, you know, obviously we can move through those things and we can get better and we have different tools, but we still I think, have certain points in time where we’re always going to have to catch ourselves in that comparison trap, but also reminding ourselves of who we are and the value that we have as human beings.

[00:13:32] And it’s not just about the way we look, or the job we have, or the car we drive, or who we’re married to, or who we’re in a relationship with, or any of those things, or what our kids accomplish and what they don’t do. And, it’s all of those things that wrapped up that we have to, you know, just continue to pour into ourselves and be mindful of that.

[00:13:54] Emily Melious: I talk all the time in my work about the difference between success and fulfillment. And I know a lot of successful people who aren’t at all fulfilled. And the difference for me is that success is very external, right? It’s what you said it’s the job, the salary, the house, the car, the outfit, the nails looking good, you know, and those aren’t bad things in and of themselves, but when we pursue them as the end, it feels very empty once you get there.

[00:14:24] Whereas fulfillment to me is so internal, it’s alignment, it’s contentment, it’s joy, it’s confidence, it’s peace. And the irony is I don’t think it’s one or the other, I think you can have both, it’s just a matter of which one you’re pursuing, because while there’s plenty of successful people who aren’t at all fulfilled, fulfillment often creates success. But it comes back down to what you talked about, focusing on what’s great inside of you because it’s internal, and then projecting that onto your external rather than trying to be something you’re not for, you know, all of these sort of external flashy, glitzy things that we all look to. You’re so spot on.

[00:15:07] And actually, this is a great segue for the five habits that you have developed for igniting our inner greatness. So can you walk us through those five things that we can do as moms, but also we can help our kids, you know, our teenage girls do this as well?

[00:15:22] Delia Perry: Yeah, of course. Well the first one for me, and it’s a big one and a lot of these habits just come from the things that I have tried to implement in my own life and the things that have really helped keep me grounded I think, as a parent, as a wife, as, you know, just a human being, I mean I think they’re just great things to practice, and the first one is gratitude. And that’s just waking up and, for me personally, I happen to, you know, in my planner or in my journal I’ll list three things each day that I’m grateful for. And it just really helps set the tone for focusing on the positive and the good in my life as it is no matter, you know, whether I’m at home and I’ve been home with my kids for, what seemed like eight months on end, you know? You know, I had to find the good and keep myself grounded in gratitude because no matter what the circumstances are, I always say that there is something that we can all find to be grateful for. But I think it really helps to be specific, and to list those things. To not just say, you know, I’m grateful for my health, but to think, well what am I specifically grateful for? I’m grateful that I have breath, I’m grateful that I have the ability to walk, that I can hear, you know, all these things that you can really pinpoint.

[00:16:32] And I think that really helps, you know, just shift your perspective.  The second one is to set your intentions for the day. And that’s another really great, great daily practice. And for me, it’s not just about setting my intentions for what I want to do. And I kind of explained this when I came out with this free download was that I really wanted to focus it on writing down who you want to be for that day. Like not just what you want to do, but who you want to be. Like for me, maybe some of the words I would list would be a listener, I want to be kind, I want to be generous. I mean, just whatever words come to mind, but focusing on your way of being instead of so much on your way of doing, because I really think that that in and of itself is what guides us in our actions, in our thoughts, in how we interact throughout the day with others.  

[00:17:21]Emily Melious: Brilliant. I never hear people talk about how you want to be. It is all action oriented. And as mamas know, our to-do list is often derailed by the day. So, by accident, by setting our intentions for the day as a checklist of to-do items, we actually might be setting ourselves up more for failure than success. Whereas, these character traits are something that we can embody throughout the day, regardless of how on track or off track our day becomes. I love that.

[00:17:50] Delia Perry: Yeah. Oh, thank you. The third habit is, for me, especially really, really important in grounding is movement. Just moving my body in some way. I don’t care if it’s, a walk or yoga or, doing a harder workout, which I love to do too, but I think it’s just important that we move our bodies.

[00:18:09]There’s so many benefits, there’s so much research out there as to how that shifts the way our brain works, the way we feel about ourselves. I mean we all know these things, it’s just, sometimes it’s hard to put those things into daily practice. And I really feel like it’s just a habit.  It’s something that you have to do over and over, and it’s kind of like starting to eat better. You know, once you do it enough, your body kind of starts to crave it and you shift into that automatic response to this is something that I just do on a daily basis.

[00:18:42] Emily Melious: Exactly. The marvelous thing about habits is they actually don’t require mental energy. It’s like showering, you know, the reason why we do our best thinking in the shower is because our process of showering is usually a habit, right? Whereas if I said, okay shower but reverse your routine, it would take so much more thought because it’d be different.

[00:19:05] And that’s why habits are so powerful, because they don’t use up any fuel in the mental tank. And like you said, they become muscle memory, and they free us to focus on the rest of our day. And they just happen naturally. And I love that you talk about movement. I know it’s a simple concept, but man, I’m challenged by that, being somebody who sits at a desk, who’s on zoom for most of my day. Our kids, you know, when they went to school, when they walk to classes, when they had gym or swim class or whatever it might be, they had their sports. That was a given. But, I know for our area, there’s still some schooling from home. There’s still a lot of zooming happening. And you’re so right that we have to be even more so intentional, more intentional than ever about moving our bodies and making sure our kids are doing the same thing, because it’s not just a physical benefit to your point, it’s a mental and health benefit.

[00:20:02]Delia Perry: Yeah, I agree. And it doesn’t have to be in the morning. I mean, I kind of say that as well in my outline is that it’s, for me that works best, I like to work out early, early morning. But I think, obviously for our kids, they’re not going to want to do that, but I mean, anyone in general, I mean you have to just fit it in sometimes where you can fit it in. And with your kids too, maybe it’s just getting outside and going for a walk or playing a game or, shooting baskets or whatever it is that your kids like to do.

[00:20:28] And I know that can be a challenge with media and technology and the pull and the draw. I mean, I have the same issues with my kids at times, but like you said, Emily, you know you got to kick them out and get them outside, especially now that it’s getting warmer, it’s harder in the winter, right? It’s a lot harder in the winter, but yeah, it’s definitely important. It’s good for them.

[00:20:46]Emily Melious: We like to make movement a retreat on the weekends. You know, this is something we can do. So we’ll actually find a new park or spot to hike, kind of a new outdoor destination. And we drive there, and we make a day of it, and we explore. Now my kids are seven and five, so I don’t know how that’ll go over when they’re teenagers, but there’s something about like, not walking the same neighborhood or, like really making a thing of it and it feels more like an excursion than, we’re going to go get some exercise. And that’s been really powerful, both for my head space about it, because I’m not a routine person. If I walk the same neighborhood I’m bored out of my mind. So I really need that variety, but it makes it more exciting as a family.

[00:21:30] And it also makes it easier for us to convince them, because they still have their tablets and, you know, they still have media that they like, and it makes it easier to get them to put that down because this is more exciting to them than, again, the run-of-the-mill kind of thing.

[00:21:44] Delia Perry: Right, right. I agree. I totally agree. Let’s see, number four is to just pour something positive into your own brain, into your own life. Whether that be through reading or listening to a podcast like we’re doing, or maybe a book on tape or just something that you can do, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.

[00:22:07] That’s going to help shift your perspective into something that you can be positive about or some way that you can grow personally. I think that’s so important. I’m such a huge believer in constant growth and constantly trying to better yourself. And that doesn’t mean that you don’t stop and acknowledge where you’re at, but I think it’s also about learning to move forward and wanting to move forward and to grow and to be better, even if it’s in some small way.

[00:22:38] I think we all hold that ability. And I think, there’s so many tools out there that we can utilize now. I mean, it’s everywhere. And, I like to fit those things in when I’m doing mundane tasks like unloading my dishwasher or folding laundry or, I mean, I have a hard time, quite frankly, reading.

[00:22:56] I just, I have a hard time keeping my attention span. I try and do it at night, but I’m usually so exhausted by the time I go to bed that I can’t even get through two pages. So I either have to do that at a time where I know I’m going to be wide awake like in the morning, or that’s why I’m a big fan of audio. I do a lot, I learn a lot through audio.

[00:23:15] Emily Melious: Me too, and driving. You know, there’s a lot of time we spend in the car and for the time that your kids aren’t with you and you’re driving to pick them up or whatnot, you know, I can catch 10 minutes here or there. I’m definitely the one who listens to something while folding laundry. Cause I’m like you, books, either my mind wanders or I fall asleep. So audible is my friend. Yes. Yeah.

[00:23:38] Delia Perry: Audible is great. Audible is great. There’s so many great resources. The fifth habit is just to focus out, to just focus on others. Think of a way that you can make someone else’s day, whether it be through a text, or just a kind word or saying something positive or smiling at someone, you know, when you’re out and about. I mean, I think just having that mindset is huge, not just for bettering the world, but for our own happiness. I always say that if you’re going to shift yourself out of a funk or out of a negative mindset, one of the best things you can do is to do something for someone else, or to send a message to someone else or an email, or pick up the phone and call someone and let them know, you know, that you’re thinking of them.

[00:24:24]It will snap you out of any self-absorbed worry or concern that you’re having over something in your own life. That’s something that I know I really try and put into practice and just encourage other people to do as well.

[00:24:40]Emily Melious: Oh these are fantastic, and they’re easy. We can all do them. We don’t have any excuse, we can all do these things. And I love that you do embody that, the positivity, and the energy, and the keep it simple. These are fantastic. Thank you so much, Delia, for coming on. Before we scoot, tell everybody how they can get in touch with you and how they can download the full version, cause we did the high level version, but Delia offers a deep dive into all five of these. How can people get their hands on that?

[00:25:12] Delia Perry: I know that if you go to the Girls 4 Greatness website, which is, there will be a pop-up that pops up on not just for the email, but I believe for the free download and you can click on that and you can get it that way. Otherwise, if you go to, I believe it’s, so it’s Bitly, you can just get it that way. You can find me on Instagram, under Girls4Greatness. You can find me on Facebook under that, on LinkedIn under my name Delia Perry.  

[00:25:41] Emily Melious: And of course, they can catch your podcast too.

[00:25:44] Delia Perry: Yes. I am on iTunes and I’m also on Audible and Amazon right now. So it pretty much anywhere you listen to, and you can actually listen directly from my website as well if you click on the podcast link.

[00:25:57] Emily Melious: Perfect. Well hey Delia, thanks again for sharing your time and wisdom with us today. And we can check one of our five habits off the list because we got our positivity for the day.

[00:26:07] Delia Perry: That’s right you did. You did. Thanks so much, Emily, it’s been an honor. I love chatting with you.

[00:26:13] Emily Melious: Likewise.

[00:26:14] Mothers of Misfits: Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Mothers of Misfits podcast. Make sure to subscribe, so you never miss an episode. We also invite you to visit us at

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