Lisa Damour, PhD On Parenting Teens Under Pressure

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We run the risk now of raising a generation that is stressed about being stressed, and anxious about being anxious.”

Lisa Damour, PhD


Today’s expedition takes us into the beautifully mysterious world of parenting, with a specific lens on navigating the perplexing vicissitudes of the teenage girl — one of the most beguiling and opaque creatures I’ve encountered in my 52 years.

I have been a parent and step-parent for two decades. Along the way, I successfully helped raise two young boys. Sure, I made many mistakes. But I also did a few things right. Today they are both amazing young men. And yet somehow that experience failed to adequately prepare me for the rather unique challenges I face guiding a teenage daughter towards adulthood — a joy that has at times brought me to my knees.

To elevate my parenting game, I began searching for greater insight into the idiosyncratic psyche of the female adolescent. That quest continuously referred me to one notable expert: Lisa Damour, PhD.

A teen whisperer par excellence, Lisa is a Yale educated psychotherapist with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan who specializes in education and child development. But she is best known for her two New York Times bestselling books — Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood*; and her newest release, Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls*.

The parent of two teenage girls herself, Lisa writes the monthly Adolescence column for the New York Times. In addition to her private consulting and psychotherapy practice, she is a regular contributor to CBS News, speaks internationally, is a Senior Advisor to the Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University, and serves as the Executive Director of Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls.

This is all a long way of saying that when it comes to adolescents and teens, Lisa knows her shit.

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Today’s conversation deconstructs the particular emotional overload and unique social pressures young people face – everything from sex and drugs to body image, grades, navigating social media and everything in between. By better understanding the nature of these dynamics, and how they specifically impact our young ones, we glean insight into how to optimally parent through them.

In addition, we discuss the recent astronomical rise in stress and anxiety in young girls — what accounts for it, and what it means.

We also cover the common mistakes many parents (myself included) often make. We delve deep into the importance of open communication and how to foster it.

Finally, Lisa imparts a myriad of strategies to optimally pilot the healthy developmental transitions that specifically girls (but also boys) undergo as they mature into grownups so that we, as parents, can help cultivate self-esteem and self-efficacy in the next generation under our charge.

If you are a parent of young humans trying to make the right moves — or just want to better understand how young people think and why they behave as they do — then this episode is appointment listening.

Lisa’s books have been instrumental in improving how I parent my daughters, so this is a meeting of great personal significance I have been hotly awaiting for some time.

They don’t call her the teen whisperer for nothing. Lisa gets girls. And today, she nails it.

For the visually inclined, you can watch our entire conversation on YouTube here: bit.ly/lisadamour438 (please subscribe!) and the podcast is of course available on Apple Podcasts and available on Spotify.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.

Peace + Plants,

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Photos courtesy of Colleen Chrzanowski and Ali Rogers

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SHOW NOTES

Check out Lisa’s New York Times Bestsellers: Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls* and Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood*

Background, Context & Reference:

Notable People Discussed

Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:

Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering and show notes. Video, editing and graphics by Blake Curtis and Margo Lubin. Theme and interstitial “My Girl” music by Ana Leimma.

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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