Girl Talk: Who Wants to RAISE Their Self-Esteem?

Interview with Dr. Carol Langlois by “Out of Ink”

In her new book “Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image” Dr Carol Langlois seeks to provide teenage girls with the tools they need to RAISE their self-esteem. Here we chat with Dr Carol, teen self-esteem expert to find out more about her work and the importance of healthy self-esteem development in teenage girls.

Self-esteem issues can corrode many aspects of our lives. Eating disorders, lack of direction, hopelessness, depression, binge drinking and suicide are some examples that have a high association with low self-esteem.  In Australia, suicide amongst teenagers and young adults is one of the leading causes of death, second only to motor vehicle accidents.

Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image” is a compilation of interviews with teens girls – their stories, their challenges, their choices and their journey towards self-discovery and empowerment. Throughout each interview, Carol helps the reader to breakdown the issues discussed, offering points of reflection and an effective and practical guide designed to RAISE (Resilience, Attitude, Independence, Self-Respect and Empowerment) teen self-esteem.

What initially drew you towards researching and working with teenage girls and their self-esteem issues?

I’m a trained therapist, academic researcher, educational consultant and writer. My primary area of interest is in female self-esteem development among teens.  During my training, I counselled hundreds of clients in one-on-one sessions as well as in group settings, mostly working with 18/19 year old freshman. They tended to have one of 4 issues when coming to speak with me – identity development challenges, an eating disorder, binge drinking issues, and/or poor choices/lack of direction. 

Some teens go to college fearful of change. Their identity in high school may have been strongly defined by their friends, sports teams or some sort of label (like the cool girls, or the popular girls) so when they get to college they don’t know “who they are or who they want to be.” 

College is the perfect time for exploration and discovery; however, some girls are too fearful to even explore. Afraid to make a mistake. That’s where I see a lot of the eating disorders and binge drinking coming to play. They don’t know where to begin. They are frozen; lost. It’s frightening. This is very different  from a girl, who is comfortable enough with herself and her self-esteem to try figure out who she wants to be in college…to explore. To try new things. To succeed…to fail..to grow.   

For more from this interview click here.

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Perfectionism and Protection- A Teen’s Story of Addiction and Control

 She’s a petite 17-year-old girl, with little makeup and a kind smile. She is an only child. She has good relationships with her friends and loves to talk with them about boys, school stress, and gossip. She would never talk specifically about struggle she’s dealing with at home, but she will hint about them indirectly with her friends. She doesn’t talk to any of her friends about serious issues that she’s dealing with nor does she talk to her parents. I innocently asked, who’s there for you?  Her response,“that’s why I now have a therapist.”  She explained how when she was 16 years old she had everything bottled up inside her and struggled with depression, extreme mood swings and sought solace in drugs and alcohol. She talked about how her depression hit an all-time low at one point and she overdosed. Her drug of choice ecstasy and alcohol of choice vodka. Once this happened she had to come clean to her parents and tell them about the depression and obviously the drugs and alcohol. She was extremely scared because she had never opened up to them about “anything” before. When she told her parents about the drug issue her mom cried and her dad was sad. She was surprised by how open and comforting they were about her situation and sent her to rehab. The thing she feels the worse about is that by coming clean to her parents, she’s basically admitting to them that they don’t know her. She’s been lying to them. Lying about who she is and what she does. This truly bothered her the most. She said that time heals all when talking about going into treatment for her drug and alcohol issues. She then tells me that on top of the drug and alcohol issues and the depression, she also had an eating disorder. She had become anorexic for a period of time as a form of control over her life. She felt hiding the eating disorder was very easy to do. She stressed to me that it had nothing to do with body image at all, it was all about control.

 

Sexual Harassment at Schools | AAUW

The American Association of University Women is one of those great organizations dedicated to helping women. They offer annual reports on research that they have conducted, they post insightful  articles, offer scholarship and fellowship funding for young women to attend college and just all around serve as a very credible source of information for women today. Having worked on college campuses for the past 16 years, they were always a source of information for me. Their most recent report is about sexual harassment on high school campuses. Prior to reading the report, I had no idea how prevalent sexual harassment was among high schoolers.  In addition, the report break down the differences between bullying and sexual harassment so that we have a clear understanding of the two and how they differ.  Harassment occurs in all forms; boys harassing girls, boys harassing boys, as well as girls harassing girls. The AAUW also describes  in this report the different forms of harassment that occur today among our youth in detail with proven statistics.  I highly encourage educators of middle school and high school students to read the report.  The more informed we are, the better prepared we become to handle these situations and take care of our youth.

Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at Schools | AAUW.