For many girls, the middle and high school years are difficult. There are so many changes to understand and adapt to – body development, hormonal responses, and increased pressure to fit in and perform. It’s no wonder why confidence can rapidly decline during this phase of development.

Many of the beautiful qualities you admired in your little girl seem to have evaporated, leaving behind someone you may hardly recognize. But what if I told you that all her struggles are caused by only a few faulty beliefs?

These Disempowering Faulty Beliefs, or DFBs, were created by events that were painful to her as a child, often before seven years old. Because of an undeveloped prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for decision-making and regulating emotions) and lack of life experience, your daughter couldn’t fully process these situations.

These painful events (while maybe even very minor from an adult perspective) were magnified and personalized to mean something negative about her and became her DFBs. Once a DFB is created, it becomes a “lens” that all her life experiences are filtered through.

Let’s dive into the four DFBs and see which one, or more, is robbing your daughter of her confidence.

I’m Not Good Enough

This DFB has your daughter convinced that something is wrong with her and that she’s inferior to others. She may procrastinate or become a perfectionist to avoid being “discovered” as not good enough. She might also become extremely hard on herself trying to prove to the world that she is good enough.

It might show up as:

  • I’m not (good / pretty / smart, etc.) enough.
  • I can’t do anything right.
  • Everyone is better than me.
  • I have nothing important to share.

I’m Not Worthy

This DFB often accompanies “I’m Not Good Enough.”  She is likely to believe she’s not worthy of good things, or good things happening for her. It also creates self-doubt and anxiety as your daughter lives in fear that others will discover her unworthiness.

It might show up as:

  • I don’t deserve.
  • I’m not worthy.
  • I’m useless/worthless.
  • Good things never happen to me.

I’m Not Loved

This DFB causes your daughter to feel isolated, unlovable, and unwanted. Your daughter might become a people-pleaser hoping to earn the love she craves, or she may withdraw inward to protect herself from potential pain. This faulty belief causes your daughter to live in fear of being dismissed, rejected, or abandoned.

It might show up as:

  • I am damaged/broken/unwanted/unlovable.
  • No one cares what happens to me.
  • Everyone is out to get me.
  • I’m just a burden. 

I’m Not Safe

This DFB can cause your daughter to worry about her physical or emotional safety – someone could hurt my body or harm my emotional well-being. She might become fearful, untrusting, and unwilling step out of her comfort zone. Your daughter may withdraw to “hide” from potential danger or she may respond with anger or aggression to feel more powerful.

It might show up as:

  • People want to hurt me.
  • People take advantage of me.
  • It’s me against the world.
  • I can’t trust anyone.

To help your daughter, you must start by taking care of yourself and your emotional health. Practicing these 5 “Rs” will help you stay centered, present, and compassionate.

  • Recharge Take time to relax and do what you love will help you maintain patience and objectivity when interacting with your daughter.
  • Remember your daughter’s current experiences and behaviors are directly influenced by her DFBs. Her actions are a not an attack against you or a reflection of your parenting.
  • Recognize what emotions your daughter’s words and actions are triggering in you about her – and about yourself. She is not the only one dealing with DFBs; we all have them.
  • Remove negative labels you may have placed on your daughter (and yourself) based on her behavior.
  • Reflect after each interaction with your daughter noting what you felt went well, didn’t go as planned, and what you would like to do differently next time. Having a game plan allows you to stay focused, objective, and compassionate.

Jacqui LetranJacqui LetranJacqui Letran is a Nurse Practitioner, Author, Speaker, and Teen Confidence Expert. She blends more than twenty years of experience working with teens in the medical and holistic settings to provide time-tested, practical guidance to help teen girls embody peaceful confidence. Her multi-award-winning Words of Wisdom for Teens book series is considered a go-to resource for teens, parents of teens, and anyone working with teens. Get your free “6 Steps to Transform Your Inner Critic” guide at For more information visit and


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