Aunts are the secret to helping girls through adolescence, according to the psychologist and bestselling author Steve Biddulph. Biddulph believes that aunts are the ones to whom teenage girls can talk about things that are too embarrassing to discuss with their mothers. Moms have to be able to offer their daughters security, while aunts can be feisty and fun. In an age when more and more teenage girls are experiencing problems – such as eating disorders and peer bullying – that role can be extremely important, and many times a girl will ask her aunt questions she would never dream or dare of asking her mother.
Biddulph blames media and advertising for the increasing rate of mental illness among young girls, but others feel this is naive and attribute the cause to other factors, such as the increasing pressure and testing being forced on young girls in school as a consequence of turning schools into an extension of human resource departments for big corporations.