Navigating the teen years is tricky enough, but throw in the internet, increasing academic pressures and wily marketers and the challenges are amplified.
Educator and author Dannielle Miller has little doubt it is tougher to be a teenage girl now than ever before, and she is determined to help smooth the road ahead for the nation's youngsters.
Yesterday a group of about 200 Year 8 girls from across the Illawarra were given help to navigate their teenage years with self-esteem and confidence at a workshop especially designed for girls.
Held at the Nan Tien Temple, the morning workshop covered three different messages - Love the Skin You're In; Stop It, I Don't Like It and Forever Friends.
Ms Miller said her aim was to help girls decode the messages they are exposed to, and inspire them to follow their own path to success and fulfilment.
Using humour, music and personal stories to engage with her enthralled audience, Ms Miller said the end result was a group of girls who felt empowered, excited and enthusiastic.
"And that's what we want to create - a generation of young women who actually think it's fantastic and exciting to be a woman, that don't see themselves as being victims or as being at the mercy of marketers and media," she said.
"We want them to feel that they can actually talk back and re-shape their world to better suit them, and they can."
Ms Miller said the teen years were difficult and young people were bound to make mistakes, but she encouraged parents to engage their kids with compassion rather than judgment.
Visit www.enlighteneducation.com for more information.
Pictured: Holly Forrest from Woonona High School, Chelsea Allport of Wollongong High School of Performing Arts, author and educator Dannielle Miller, Breanna Wells from Illawarra Sports High and Jasmine Charlton of Albion Park High School at a professional development workshop at Nan Tien Temple. Photo: ORLANDO CHIODO