By Jenna Bonstein, Preventionist
Being a young girl or woman can be hard for so many different reasons. Social pressure from peers to think and act a certain way, as well as the impact social media has on today's youth, just make things harder.
Adolescence is a time for young girls to form their own identity. But has become increasingly more challenging with the pressures of "needing to fit in" or being in a specific "group."
The social pressures from peers make it difficult for a young person today to be themselves, feel safe, and openly express their beliefs and values. How can we start to help young girls feel supported while encouraging the developmental of inner self-worth?
This past spring, I had the pleasure of working with a local Girl Scout troop on developing a 'Girls' Empowerment' Workshop for the younger scouts in their district. Each Girl Scout was able to identify concerns and individual challenges they have faced within their peer groups. Some of the concerns discussed were being pressured to try a Juul, drink at parities, and being informed that "marijuana isn't really a drug" due to the changing legalization laws. One Scout even mentioned, "Everyone in our school Juuls or smokes weed in the bathroom, I feel like I have to try it too."
Being able to discuss and address these topics is crucial in minimizing fear and improving confidence during this stage of life. I too remember being this age, feeling scared and overwhelmed with the pressures around me. Many of my decisions were influenced and shaped by what those around me thought, often times in a negative way. The Girl Scout group recognized ways to make healthier choices, resist peer pressure, and empower other girls their age to stay drug-free.
The Girl Scout group enjoyed the sessions so much that at their conclusion, they wanted to continue their work by developing a peer-to-peer empowerment workshop for the younger girl scouts. The workshop includes topic discussions that young girls can relate to and learn from, in a safe and fun environment. The goal of the group sessions, which I believe was accomplished, was to educate these young girls on risk-factors and consequences of using opioids and the choices that can lead to opioid misuse and addiction.