The Atlantic

How Puberty Kills Girls’ Confidence

In their tween and teenage years, girls become dramatically less self-assured—a feeling that often lasts through adulthood.
Source: Rebecca Nelson / Getty

The change can be baffling to many parents: Their young girls are masters of the universe, full of gutsy fire. But as puberty sets in, their confidence nose-dives, and those same daughters can transform into unrecognizably timid, cautious, risk-averse versions of their former self.

Over the course of writing our , we spoke with hundreds of tween and teen girls who detailed a striking number of things they don’t feel confident about: “making new friends,” “the way I dress,” “speaking in a group.” In our research, we worked with Ypulse, a polling firm that focuses on tweens and teens, to and their parents. (The sample was broadly representative of the country’s teen population in terms of race and

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