Normal adolescent development is challenging, hard is normal; it’s not supposed to be easy.
These are the words of Dr. Lisa Damour. On January 11th she informed, reassured, and related to a large group of Hamlin parents. Dr. Damour is a mother, and the author of the recent New York Times best seller, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood.
Dr. Damour led the audience through the seven transitions into adulthood, following the chapters of her book.
- Parting With Childhood
- Joining a New Tribe
- Harnessing Emotions
- Contending with Adult Authority
- Planning for the Future
- Entering the Romantic World
- Caring for Herself
She emphasized that between 5th and 12th grade a tremendous amount of development occurs during a compressed period of time. She revealed that it is natural for girls to psychologically begin to move out of the home by spending more time in their own room. She added, “it’s not about you; so much of parenting feels personal.”
She went on to point out that the happiest kids often have one or two friends, sharing that smaller groups have less drama. She also encouraged people to not confuse popularity with being powerful, stating that a mean person isn’t necessarily popular. In regards to social media she said, “there are no easy conclusions, it’s messy and not all bad. They are not addicted to technology, they are addicted to each other.” She added that she has become “softer about monitoring banal (social media) interactions that are private.”
Dr. Damour urged audience members to not forget how hard school is for young people. “It is back to back 50 minute meetings, over and over again, for 9 months straight.” She pointed out that often kids just want empathy after a long day.
Throughout her talk, Dr. Damour stressed the importance of “letting students deal with the consequences of their actions.” She explained three buckets, 1) things kids like, 2) things they can handle, 3) things they can’t handle. She then shared that young people mostly encounter numbers one or two and therefore don’t need parent intervention.
In regards to the romantic world, Dr. Damour believes that partners should “enthusiastically agree to what they mutually enjoy as a couple.” She pointed out that in the United States amorous encounters often just happen without a couple figuring out what each person really wants.
During the question and answer period, Dr. Damour shared the following:
“You can’t answer a question that hasn’t been asked. Your daughter doesn’t want unsolicited advice.”
“You need to have predictable rules, kids with good outcomes come from homes with warmth and structure.”
“If everything is always perfect at school, your daughter won’t be able to function in the outside world. Imperfection is normal and healthy.”
“There are many coping mechanisms for stress, like drinking alcohol and cutting. Maybe a little mindless television for an 11th grader isn’t such a bad coping method.”
“We have unrealistic expectations for interactions with our kids, if you lower the bar you can have a good interaction.”
Below is a short video of Dr. Lisa Damour:
For more information about Dr. Lisa Damour, please visit: https://www.drlisadamour.com/