Why Teen Girls Isolate Themselves

A Guide To The Causes and Solutions‍

It’s normal for teenagers to want to spend time alone. They’re exploring their independence and discovering who they are. But for some teen girls, isolation can become a problem. If your daughter is isolating herself, it’s important to understand why. Isolation can be a symptom of underlying mental health issues like anxiety and depression. It can also be a way to cope with difficult life circumstances. In this article, we’ll explore common reasons why teen girls isolate themselves, and provide some tips on how to help your daughter.

The Normalcy of Teenage Independence

Teenagers spend most of their time with other people as kids. They spend much of their time with their parents, siblings, and other family members. They also spend time with their peers as they grow up. As teens, they’re often still spending a lot of time with their families. Parents, siblings, and relatives may be around a lot, and teens may see their friends a lot, too. All of this togetherness can leave them craving a little solitude. So, it’s normal for your teen to want some time alone. However, if your teen is spending large chunks of time alone, it could be a sign that something is wrong. If your teen has always been a loner, that’s one thing. But if she’s been a social person and all of a sudden is spending almost all her time alone, there could be a problem.

Teens Naturally Want To Be Independent

When Isolation Becomes A Problem

There are many reasons why a teen girl may feel the need to isolate herself. The reasons vary greatly depending on the individual, which is why it’s important to look for signs of isolation in your daughter. Some girls may isolate themselves because they are struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. Other girls may isolate themselves because they are going through a difficult life transition like divorce, moving to a new place, or changing schools. Still, others may isolate themselves as a way to cope with negative feelings they don’t know how to handle. The signs of isolation may vary from girl to girl. For example, one girl may drop out of activities she’d normally enjoy. Another may stop spending time with friends. A third might stop doing things she enjoys, like reading or hobbies.

Isolation Doesn't Always Mean There Is A Problem

Common Causes of Teen Isolation

Poor Self-Esteem - Some girls may have low self-esteem and use isolation as a way to cope with their own feelings of unattractiveness. They may not want to go out because they don’t want to be seen. And, they may not want to be seen because they don’t feel good about themselves.

Feeling Overwhelmed - Some girls may isolate themselves because they are feeling overwhelmed by their circumstances. This could include difficult family circumstances such as a divorce, a death in the family, or a loved one struggling with a mental illness. It could also include school-related issues such as bullying, too much homework, or difficulty in certain subjects.

Troubled Peer Relationships - Some girls may isolate themselves because they have problematic relationships with their peers. This could be because she feels she’s not good enough for them, or because they have problems with one another.

Fear of Failure - Some girls may worry about failing at things and isolate themselves as a way to avoid dealing with those anxieties. If she’s afraid of failing at something, she may avoid doing it entirely in order to prevent disappointment.

Trying to Control Her Environment - Some girls may isolate themselves as a way to gain control of a situation. For example, she may be experiencing a lot of anger that she doesn’t know how to handle, or her family may be going through a divorce and feel a lot of anxiety about it.

Life Circumstances -

  • Loss - You may have noticed that your daughter has become more isolated since a loved one died. It may be that she wishes to be alone to mourn and heal. Or, she may be struggling with the loneliness that comes with loss.
  • Change - Any major life change can lead to isolation. Moving to a new place, changing schools, or dealing with her family's divorce are just a few examples.
  • Illness - If your daughter is going through a long-term illness or frequently dealing with the symptoms of an illness, she may want to retreat from others so she can focus on herself. -
  • Loss of friends - Sometimes friends drift apart, and one girl ends up isolating herself because of it.

There Are Many Reasons Why Teen Girls Isolate

How To Help Your Daughter If She’s Isolating Herself

Try and keep open the lines of communication, but don't pressure her to speak if she's not ready or comfortable. Ask her why she’s isolating herself, and see what she has to say.  If your daughter is isolating herself because of mental health issues, you’ll want to be extra careful not to push her away. She needs your love, support, and help more than ever. If she’s isolating herself because of a difficult life circumstance, try to be there for her as much as you can. You can’t take away her pain, but you can be there for her in her time of need. Make sure to check in with your daughter regularly. Ask her how she’s doing and be open with her about how you’re doing, too. Make sure she knows that she can come to you whenever she wants.


Safe & Open Communication Is Vital

Consider Seeking Professional Help

When parents become concerned and begin to ask themselves why their teen daughter isolates from them or the family, it might be time to consider exploring professional help. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I specialize in working with teens, especially teen girls. Over the years, I notice that the key factor in effective therapy with teens is when they are motivated for the therapy and for change to happen in their lives.  When it's the parent or guardian that is pushing them into therapy, they tend to exhibit resistance to the process, and have little motivation to work on making change.  Similarly, when the issue that brings the teen to therapy is based upon problems that only the parents see, therapy will be much more challenging.

I always recommend having an open and honest conversation with your teen, and see if they are open to the idea of therapy.  Many teens may not know what therapy will be like, and that can be scary.  Feel free to have them watch the video I made about teen therapy by clicking on this link.   You can also call me with your teen present, and I am happy to speak with you/them to discuss the therapy process.

Your Teen Must Be Motivated For Change

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