Raising Courageous Daughters (Today's Christian Woman Article by Sissy Goff)

You remember the feeling, don't you? Playing a sport you couldn't really play in PE, trying out for the school musical or the cheerleading squad, or even just having to give a speech in class. The sweaty palms, the nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach, the feeling that all eyes were on you and critiquing everything you said and did.

Losing her voice

Girls are self-conscious. In our seminars with parents, we talk often about how girls lose their voice around middle school. Dove claims that 6 out of 10 girls stop doing what they love because of the way they look. As a counselor who has worked with girls of all ages for more than 20 years, I would say it's also because of who they are—or, more importantly, who they believe themselves to be.

Research suggests that when something goes wrong in a boy's world, he blames someone else. (Moms, unfortunately, that's most often you.) But when something goes wrong in a girl's world, who does she blame? You guessed it, because you did too (and maybe you still do). She blames herself. READ MORE

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How to Use Books & Movies to Have Great Conversations With Your Kids

For any of you who've heard us speak before, you know we often use clips from films or television show to illustrate points. We like bringing visuals of the concepts we're talking around, and we've found clips can help bring those concepts to life. 

We use this same philosophy when working with kids and will periodically show scenes to help kids make connections.  We use them at camp, in groups, and with individual kids.  Several of our books include recommendations of films to watch with kids.  They may be stories rich in emotional content, films that invite critical thinking or drive thoughtful and important conversations with our kids.  

Because all three of us love reading and are passionate about literacy, we always recommend having kids read the book before they see the movie.  There is often so much more within the book than can be included in the film.  Furthermore, for some kids, knowing what will happen within the story may make seeing a particular scene within a movie less overwhelming (think Bridge to Terabithia) or scary (Chronicles of Narnia). READ MORE

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Why Is My Teenage Daughter So Angry: Part 2

Last week, we talked about the emotional world of teenage girls.  Here are just a few of the statistics:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse

  • Illicit drug use has declined significantly since its peak years in 1996 and 1997
  • Alcohol use among teenagers has also decreased since that time
  • Alcohol, however, is still the most widely used drug among young people
  • Marijuana and tobacco use have remained the same since that time
  • The use of prescription drugs such as Ritalin, Vicodin and OxyContin have increased
  • The use of inhalants has increased

From Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. (ANRED)                                           

  • The Journal of Abnormal Psychology reported that 14 to 39 percent of adolescents participate in some kind of self-harming behavior
  • Eating disorders affect almost 5 percent of young women in America
  • 1 percent of female adolescents are anorexic
  • 1 to 3 percent of middle and high school girls are bulimic
  • 15 percent of young women have unhealthy attitudes and behaviors about food

As we said before girls fall apart often from the outside in.  They develop struggles such as eating disorders, self-mutilation, addictions to drugs and alcohol, and other issues as a way to numb—or control this newfound pain that feels so out of their control.  Each of these issues warrants a different response, but each comes from the same source—an intense dislike, or self-hatred, of the girls themselves.  How do we help, as adults who love them? READ MORE

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Why Is My Teenage Daughter So Angry? Part 1

She may be a fifteen year old dressed in black who writes dark poetry and wears thick terry cloth bands on her wrists to cover the scratches she made last night with her paper clip.  She may be a straight A student who uses her toothbrush to make herself throw up after every meal.  She may be the girl in your Sunday School class who acts as if nothing bothers her, but you know is smoking pot on the weekends to forget about the pain in her family.  Or she may be the daughter—or student—or granddaughter you see every day who has learned to say with her actions what she is terrified to communicate with her words.

In our counseling offices, if we had to name one word that girls struggle with the most—it would be self-hatred.  For many girls, it begins in middle school.  Up until then, they lived in a state of glorious naivete.  They were unaware, for the most part, of what others thought about them, or how they were "supposed" to look…or talk…or act.  Their spirits, and their confidence were unfettered.  But, then, seemingly overnight, things changed. READ MORE


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