Recently I tuned into the 3 day Mental Health Summit which was a fundraiser to Kids Charity. I found psychologist Dr. Justin Coulson’s presentation on the “Secret Life of Teenagers” to be a very informative and practical guide to raising teenage girls. As a father of 6 daughters, Justin has an abundance of firsthand experience, as well as having done extensive research on the various issues impacting teenage girls today. His most important advice was that “teenage girls need more connection, and less direction and correction”.
Justin highlighted his 3 key words –
Connection and Acceptance – Justin stressed the crucial importance of connecting with our daughters. He emphasised that teenage girls “need to feel accepted for who they are, they need to know you love them, but you don’t accept bad behaviour”. Justin states that connection is assisted when parents share with children their reasons for being grateful of them.
Autonomy - Parents can assist daughters to build autonomy, by explaining their behaviour requests, exploring the feelings of their children, and empowering them through enabling choice and encouraging initiative.
Self-Compassion – It is paramount that both parents and children use self-compassion as a means of being kind to themselves. Justin states that too often “we are hard on our children and they are hard on themselves”.
Justin has just released a book titled “Relationship Rules” which I’d imagine would be an invaluable resource for parents raising teenage girls.
Compiled from keynote speaker Dr. Justin Coulson’s presentation, Mental Health Summit, 2018. For additional information about Dr. Justin Coulson check out his website. www.happyfamilies.com.au