A Straightforward Approach to Parenting Teen Girls 

By Elena Epstein

parenting teen girlsWondering why your sweet girl is starting to push you away? Psychologist Lisa Damour, Ph.D., is an expert in parenting teen girls and she has some good news. The teen years, she assures parents wondering why we have suddenly become “inexplicably annoying and totally irrelevant,” are “the psychological equivalent of putting training wheels on a bike.”

In her book “Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood,” Damour does an excellent job of combining solid research, real-life examples and stories from her experience counseling adolescent girls and their parents. As a mom of two daughters, I found Damour’s voice authentic, giving us a map of teen development from pre-puberty to adulthood with specific examples of what’s typical and what’s alarming behavior. She covers such topics as:

  • How to talk to our girls
  • How to set limits
  • The benefits of and problems with social media
  • Peer relationships
  • Dating and sex
  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Food and weight issues
  • Anxiety over school and test scores

Damour offers a good metaphor to help us better understand the push-pull relationship with our teen: “Consider the metaphor in which your teenage daughter is a swimmer, you are the pool in which she swims and the water is the broader world. Like any good swimmer, your daughter wants to be out playing, diving or splashing around in the water. And, like any swimmer, she holds on to the edge of the pool to catch her breath after a rough lap or getting dunked too many times.”

The book will be released in paperback this month and is available on Amazon here.

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