Enhancing the Spiritual Development of Adolescent Girls.

Spirituality is an important force during a period when institutional religion seems to be losing its hold on adolescents. To enhance the spiritual development of adolescent girls in the school setting, the group experience described addresses authentic identity, relationships and boundaries, managing pain experienced in life, and discovering and utilizing unique gifts. “Everywhere we look, children are under assault from violence and neglect; from the breakup of families; from the temptations of alcohol, tobacco, sex, and drug abuse; from greed, materialism, and spiritual emptiness. These problems are not new, but in our time they have sky-rocketed” (Whitman & Chetwynd, 1997, p. 24). In many ways, today’s teens are presented with a less stable environment than was experienced a decade or two ago. High divorce rates, high adolescent pregnancy rates, and increased geographic mobility of families contribute to this lack of stability (Santrock, 2001). Statistics related to teenage crime, violence, drug abuse, and suicide in our country indicate that youth are struggling to make meaning of their lives (Miller, 2002). Adolescent girls, in particular, seem to wrestle with many more issues than girls did 30 years ago (Pipher, 1994).

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