by Zach Meyer
Many of my clients are adolescent girls, and I love working with them.
I used to feel self conscious about the passion I have for supporting young women. I even once had a supervisor in a hospital setting literally raise an eyebrow when I told him I'd rather work with a population of adolescent girls than adolescent boys. "Why??" he asked, looking at me sideways.
These days, however, I'm feeling pretty secure in my love for this population. It comes down to this: adolescent girls have very important developmental needs when it comes to their mental health, and our culture is often doling out the exact opposite. I've seen how these messages can crush the spirit of a teenage girl, and so I love to help girls get the support they need instead, because having these needs met leads to girls that are proud, confident, giving, empathetic, expressive, and strong. And I think strong girls are pretty awesome.
I recently came across a short article about parenting girls that was too good not to pass on. It details four ways to raise a self-assured daughter, and doing so would be one of the best ways to ensure I might never get a chance to work with her in therapy. Which would be fine with me!
As you read it, please notice how important the things you model as a parent are. When we therapists talk about modeling, we're talking about what your kids see you doing. Forget what you tell them, how do your girls see you talk to your spouse? What friends do you choose? How do you treat each other? Who do you stand up for? Who stands up for you? The good news is that health begets health; working on these things in your own relationships will have direct and indirect positive effects on your girls, whether you can see them right away or not.
Sometimes, you do have to talk to your girls directly, and don't worry—this article has great insights about that, too.
Please check out the article here over at parent.co.
Incidentally, I run a workshop for parents of teens—girls and boys—Monday nights at 8 PM. There's always plenty of time to ask questions about your teen, and I'd love to talk further about this kind of content there. Check out our calendar for upcoming dates and topics.