Teaching Girls to Speak with Authority

Sophie, 14, has a younger brother with Downs Syndrome, and she loves him dearly and flutters around him like a mother hen. Ben has been hospitalized many times, and was close to death on several occasions. Sophie sobbed deeply as she described how terrified she is that Ben will get sick again and die. The whole family’s life evolves around Ben and his care, causing Sophie to grow up quickly and to … [Read more...]

Root Beer Feelings

Have you ever been so mad that you flew into a rage and screamed your head off  into your pillow or while driving in your car? And then, inexplicably, you started bawling? Unbeknownst to you, you experienced a phenomenon that I call Root Beer Feelings(RBF's). Savannah, 13, was upset after her friend  ditched her for the popular group. When I asked her how she felt about it, all she could come … [Read more...]

How We Are Messing Up Girls

How are parents and the culture messing up girls today? On the one hand, we are conditioning girls to focus on being competitive, driven, ambitious, willing to step on people to get to the top, and individual achievement.  But we are still holding girls to the standard of being 'good girls'; i.e. be nice to everyone, put other people's needs before your own, don't stand out, be obedient and … [Read more...]

Have Girls Lost Their Guts?

The recent story of NFL player Ray Rice hitting his girlfriend really bothered me. I work with so many teenage girls and women  in their 20's that it sickens me to think about how many of them might suffer the same fate. And statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bear out my fears. About 1/3 US adolescents are victims of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from … [Read more...]

Childhood is Not a Race

Parents need a major adjustment in what they focus on. Because are kids are suffering way too much stress these days, and it will haunt them into the future. Here's why. Sophie, 14, a straight A student and captain of her 8th grade volleyball team, told me she feels like she has to be perfect at everything or she will disappoint her parents, teachers, and coaches, much less herself. "When I … [Read more...]

Why Girls Are More Aggressive Today

To begin with, I think in many ways that girls in grade school on up are more aggressive and earlier than girls in past generations. There are many reasons for this change, and in this blog I will focus on a few. Title IX is partly to blame. The court ruling opened the door for girls to have greater involvement in more sports and at younger ages. In previous generations, the pinnacle of a … [Read more...]

Humiliating Bullies? Shame on You!

What to do with bullies? A recent article in the Huff Post Parents, read the whole story on the Huffington Post, reports on a dad who publicly shamed his son as a punishment for bullying kids at school. He had him stand on a busy street corner with a sign that read: I am a bully. Honk if you hate bullies. I don't agree with this approach. The psychologist Laurence Kohlberg gave us the 6 stages … [Read more...]

Things Your Kids Won’t Tell You

My parents are setting me up to fail in college!  The best predictors for success in college are having high levels of grit, hope, optimism, and self-efficacy.  Too many parents rescue their kids, solve their problems, and take responsibility for their boredom, happiness, and motivation, leaving them weak and unable to handle the normal ups and downs of life.  Qualities like grit, optimism, and … [Read more...]