Throughout their teenage years, many girls start to lose self-confidence.
Sadly, they might lack body confidence (opens in new tab) or think other girls are smarter or prettier or cooler. They may feel unsafe around others (opens in new tab) or think that their tastes or opinions aren't worth as other people's.
But while you might expect that girls would start to lose self-confidence in their mid-teens, a new study has found that it could actually start earlier than that.
An American study has revealed that girls start to lose their self-confidence from as young as 12 years old.
The research, carried out for a new book The Confidence Code for Girls, found that from the age of 12 girls’ confidence and self-esteem levels start to drop.
To come to their findings, study leaders looked at 1,300 girls aged between eight and 18. They asked each girl to rate their confidence on a scale of 1-10.
They found that girls under the age of 12 displayed more self-confidence, stating that they made friends easily and didn’t really care about what others thought of them.
However, from the ages of eight to 14 the girls’ responses fell, on average, from approximately 8.5 out of 10 to 6 out of 10.
This shocking 30 per cent drop illustrated how the girls’ self-esteem took a major drop as soon as they started going through puberty (opens in new tab).
They also found that girls were rewarded more by their teachers and parents when they exhibited people-pleasing behaviour.
Study authors suggested that this means indicates that the girls are growing up believing that it is more appropriate for them to stay quiet, follow other people’s instructions and not speak about their own opinions.
They suggested that this leads girls to set unattainable standards for themselves as they progress through their teenage years and prompts a drop in their self-confidence.
As well as not being encouraged to speak their opinion, another reason for young girls’ drop in self-confidence when they go through puberty could be the rise of social media and the presence of unattainable standards following them around in their pockets, through the likes of Instagram and Snapchat.
It will always be difficult to prevent girls feeling insecure, but by encouraging 'tween' girls to speak their opinion and believe in themselves, we could lead to more confident and independent girls in the future.
Girls run the world!