How To Help Your Daughter Succeed At Social Media — Not Ban Or Shame Her For It

Technology is making kids' social and emotional lives more complicated, but it's a skill they need to learn.

Mother sitting on daughters bed while she's on social media cottonbro studio, svetikd, Zheka-Boss | Canva   

Do you remember when you were 13? It's an overwhelming time, to say the least.

Everything you knew as a young kid suddenly gets upended. You're suddenly focused on best friends, falling in love, and feeling like you aren not understood by yourself or anyone else, and certainly not your parents.

When you're on the other side as the adult in the situation, it's equally as confusing. This is a heartbreaking moment because now you have to watch your child, whom you love more than anything, navigate through the confusion and emotional pain.


Our kids often feel the same way we did, but now there's technology making things even more complicated. Not a big surprise, right?! 

Our daughters need our support as they learn to navigate this, not feeling shamed or banned entirely from all social media. Fortunately, I'm here with some tips for how to help you guide your teenage daughter through social media minefields. 

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Your daughter needs social media skills — not a ban from social apps

Social media is one more thing that can make 13-year-olds feel insignificant.

Think of a child whose family has just moved. The child stays connected with old friends via TikTok, Snapchat, or other social media platforms. The problem is the child feels more acute how life is continuing as usual in their absence. More insignificance. Their distant friends post about parties, relationship milestones, and anything from football games your daughter won't attend to church activities she is no longer a part of.

Many young teens take selfies, or make videos of the latest dance steps, silly pranks, or other personal updates. They share their creative work with friends, but also keep them like a digital scrapbook. The selfies and videos become currency, a way to document and emotionally process what they're feeling in any given moment.

It's confusing for parents. What are they doing taking pictures and videos of themselves constantly? When your child is bored in the back seat of the family car, why are they making facial expressions into their phone and taking teen selfies?


Selfie culture is not something to dismiss. Pay attention.

It's a struggle for parents to understand how new forms of technology impact a 13-year-old's life. Technology is linking them to others, as in the case of social media or to themselves, as in the case of selfies. But not all that transpires is good for them.

How to help your daughter succeed at social media without shame or extreme controls

1. Don't forget she is a child.

Remember, your child is still that — a child. You can insist on being her friend on TikTok, although it may come with a promise you will never post or comment.

2. Get her to share all her worlds with you.

Encourage her to share with you what's going on in her life, both in her day to day world and this extended virtual world. One of the best ways to do this is to share what's new with you and also some of the pitfalls and upsets you weathered at her age.

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3. Love her selfies as much as you. love her.

Fall in love with her selfies, never make fun of them. See them as an expressions of getting to know herself, just as you may have stood in front of the bathroom or bedroom mirror at her age and posed. But be clear on the standards of what should happen to those selfies. Explain the difference between private and public.

4. Keep busy with her.

And of course, keep your daughter involved and busy in the real world. She can't do too much with social media or selfies if she is so exhausted from school, sports, homework, chores, practicing the piano or flute, clubs, family time with no technology, some volunteer work in the community, etc.

Remember, you are the parent. She needs you to be the captain. You can do it!


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Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is a positive psychologist, a best-selling author, and an award-winning Selfie Filmmaker focusing on coming-of-age issues for girls and women. She is also a noted podcaster. Many of her shows and interviews can be found on YouTube and Vimeo.