7 Issues of Girlhood that Lead to Adult Dysfunctions

The Lord warns us that fear that results in worry is not from Him, it is from the adversary. Yes, fear is part of the human condition, but as part of the Body of Christ, we are called to faith over fear. 

Updated May 06, 2024
7 Issues of Girlhood that Lead to Adult Dysfunctions

Looking back, you might think that the last few years of significant events are the fodder for the basis of blockbuster feature films, the reason to create a new video game, or at the very least, a bad dream. The human spirit has always feared an “act of God,” a global pandemic, a hurricane, or any other cataclysmic event of which we have no control nor an explanation of the apparent cause. In our fallen state, it is only “human” to feel hopeless and helpless when events bigger than us take over every facet of our lives.

Fear is debilitating. It manifests itself in a variety of unhealthy behaviors. One such behavior, worry, is a negative focus on the future. Speculating what might occur under potential circumstances can provide each of us with hundreds of sleepless nights. Today’s teens are experiencing the effects of worry and its parent cause, fear, in unprecedented numbers. Diagnostic interview data from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement shows that 31% of all youth have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Note the word “diagnosed.” Imagine the percentage when we include those who have not sought medical or psychiatric help. Fear has reached pandemic levels.

As Christians, we are told over 500 times in the Bible not to fear. That means there is a fear warning for virtually every day of the year and then some. The Lord warns us that fear that results in worry is not from Him, it is from the adversary. Yes, fear is part of the human condition, but as part of the Body of Christ, we are called to faith over fear. We are called to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God will never leave or forsake us.

1. Diagnosed Anxiety

Studies show an estimated 32% of adolescents have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder — and the prevalence of these types of disorders is 38% higher for females. Thanks to the Bible, we know how God cares for those afflicted with anxiety. After the death of Moses, Joshua was likely anxious about his own future. But God said to him “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the

LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV). God calls everyone to live a life of greatness. She may not be leading Israelites to the promised land like the prophet Joshua, but what is God calling your daughter to do with great courage?

2. Worst-case Scenario Thinking

Does your daughter live in constant fear of the “worst-case scenario?” For some, it can be difficult to navigate through the new and unknown in life. Those who live in heavy fog of the “what if” can feel paralyzed by their circumstances. Rather than view her as a “Debbie Downer,” consider the level of severity this pessimism has on her life. Anxiety this severe isn’t something to ignore. If your daughter experiences this crippling fear, consider counseling. A trained professional can tap into her fears in a safe and productive way to help her overcome them.

3. Panic Attacks

Has your girl ever been overwhelmed by the stressors in her life? For some, moments of stress and anxiety manifest in a physical way. These are known commonly as panic attacks. Hyperventilating, dizziness, tightening in the chest — they’re all scary symptoms of panic.

If your daughter is experiencing panic attacks, you can ease her burden by being present with her in the moment. Whether through the reassurance of a bear hug or the power of intercessory prayer, you can help your daughter find the light at the end of this temporary tunnel. If you find your daughter is experiencing panic attacks often, or even regularly, it is important to seek out help from mental health professionals, like her doctor or a Christian counselor.

4. Worrying

Is your girl a worrier? Is she paralyzed by fear of the unknown? Break the cycle of fear by having your girl start a “worry journal.” Every day for 10 days, send her a text asking her to jot down a worry or fear in her journal. On Day 11, ask her to read her fears aloud and count how many came true. Then wait for the gasp ...Chances are, NONE of these fears came true.

5. Feelings of Inadequacy

Do you ever feel like you might not be enough? Smart enough, holy enough, thin enough? Remember this: your girl, no matter her age, is perceptive to your thoughts and perceptions of yourself. Research shows time and again that the most influential force on a girl’s self-image is her parents.

For those parents who feel like they aren’t enough, there’s good news. Our own weakness is fertile ground for God’s power. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says it all: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” Boast in your weakness, not as a self-loathing act, but as a way to welcome God into your insecurities. The greatest lesson you can teach your girl is that God’s love and mercy make her more than enough.

6. Fear of the Future

We’re told that God’s plans are good, and His timing is right — but in the trenches of life, it can be hard to submit to His will and “trust the process.” So, what do our girls do when they’re struggling to stay strong in their faith? It’s been said that “The opposite of faith isn’t doubt, it’s control.” In the face of fear, believers can fall into the worldly habit of trying to control every little thing. Then a surprise sick day or a rained-out vacation can send us into a tailspin. Proverbs 16:9 reminds us that while we may plan, it is God who “establishes our steps.” Encourage your girl to journal about some of the things she’s trying to control in her life today and invite God into her heart to relieve that burden.

7. Struggling to Find Her Place 

“I’m afraid I’ll stand out if I am the only girl who...” Has your girl found herself facing the reality that she’s different from others around her? This can be a shock to her spirit at first. Over time, she can go one of two ways: toward anxiety, always trying to fit in, or embracing her uniqueness in peace and joy.

God’s grand design for His People is full of diversity, meaning while we enjoy some similarities, ultimately, all are different — unique. Philippians 2:2 phrases “of one accord” to seal our togetherness under the mind of Christ, rather than the need to have the same skin color, music preferences, or political views.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/vladans


Patti Garibay is the founder and executive director of American Heritage Girls, (AHG, www.AmericanHeritageGirls.org), a national Christ-centered leadership and character development program. For nearly three decades, AHG has been at the forefront of countering the culture by leading girls and women to create lives of integrity. Patti is the author of Why Curse the Darkness When You Can Light A Candle?, a story of trust and obedience to inspire those who desire to make Kingdom impact yet struggle with the fear of inadequacy. Patti is the host of the Raising Godly Girls (RGG) podcast and “Raising Godly Girls” one-minute radio feature which helps to equip, affirm and strengthen girls with timely Scripture-based advice.


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