Why it’s not Always Smart to Lead with a Physical Compliment

We are all guilty of it.  Leading with a comment about someone’s appearance has replaced the basic niceties of modern conversation when greeting someone.  Let’s face it, it’s easy to comment on someone’s clothes or looks instead of on something of more substance.  It has become an easy fallback comment for many people. Why? When we don’t know what to say to someone……we compliment them.  It’s used as a conversation starter at a party or social event. The intent is to show that we are interested in getting to know you better, but in some cases, can have damaging effects when we don’t truly know the other person.

It takes effort to think beyond appearance and comment on something besides looks or clothes. Try replacing you look “pretty or skinny” with you look “healthy, rested, or relaxed”   Or, just don’t comment on appearance at all. Try introducing yourself to someone with just a smile, a hello, and an extended hand.

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Greeting people with a comment about their appearance can, unfortunately, be a trigger for certain people. Especially those with eating disorders. If they receive compliments for their thin appearance, this can encourage them to lose more weight.  So, if an individual struggles with an eating disorder and they hear that they “look great” or look “so skinny”, this can encourage them to keep on the unhealthy path.  It’s all about control. Those with eating disorders often struggle to be “the thinnest in the room”.  A comment about their weight, can serve as a source of pride or success and encourage more weight loss.  And, a comment like “you look too skinny” can also be seen as a badge of honor to someone who thinks that you can never be too thin.

The same can also be said for people who have always struggled to put weight on.  Maybe they were picked on for their slight appearance during childhood.  Many people hold on to those damaging/bullying comments into adulthood. They don’t just go away, especially, for those who look at more “curvy” or “muscular” physiques as being the ideal.  Hearing “you look too skinny” reaffirms what they are already feeling about themselves. It deepens their disapproval of self and increases their body shame.  For those already questioning their thin appearance, comments like these can ultimately affect their self-esteem, their relationships, and their sense of self-worth. After many failed attempts at trying to put weight on, they can end up in a downward spiral that leads to depression and thoughts of being unwanted or unloved.

Words have more impact on others than we realize.

When is it ok to comment on appearance?  When you know the individual well and it is truly heartfelt.  Like the friend that has struggled with weight gain, but is on a “healthy” path to losing the weight.  Telling her that you are proud of her for losing the weight can be very encouraging as long as you can back up your words. Be sure to support her and her new healthy lifestyle. Offer to go on walks or hikes, check out some new recipes and spending time cooking together can put more credence behind your words.

Overcoming Overwhelm: Supporting the Future of Our Youth. Wed, April 11, 2018.

 

teengirlFusion Academy and Mercy High School present “Overcoming Overwhelm: Supporting the Future of Our Youth,” a panel discussion with mental health and education professionals.

RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fusionmercy-overcoming-overwhe…

Join psychotherapists and authors Lee Daniel Kravetz, LMFT (Strange Contagion and SuperSurvivors) and Carol Langlois, Ph.D. (Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image) and Mary Hofstedt, Ed.M., Community Education Director, Challenge Success, as they question and identify the actions that individuals and communities must take to recognize and support the future of our youth.

Event Schedule

6:00pm – 6:30pm l Arrival/Check-In

6:30pm – 8:00pm l Program

Please plan to arrive early for best parking and seating. Program will begin promptly at 6:30pm.

Tickets are free, but seating is limited! Register today.

Questions? Contact Shannon LeCompte, Dean of Students, Mercy High School, slecompte@mercyhsb.com, or Victoria Veneziano, Director of Admissions and Outreach, Fusion Academy, vveneziano@fusionacademy.com.

Girl Talk: Teen Monologue Series Coming to SF Aug 24th

My play “Girl Talk” is in a playwright festival honoring female playwrights this summer teenage girl Sharing Secret With Friend In Parkin SF.

Young actors perform powerful teen stories about real life struggles, peer pressure, anxieties and how they survived.  Dr. Carol Langlois created this play version of her acclaimed book, Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image. Teenagers and their parents are especially invited!

Information
Date: August 24th, 2017
Time: 7:30pm
Location: “Thick House” is now “Potrero Stage”

Tickets: FREE through the festival.Hope to see you August 24th!  Reserve your FREE tickets today! Click Here.

For more information about Dr. Carol & Girl Talk, click here.

How to Tell Your Parents- You’re Being Bullied

Most teens don’imagest want to tell, worry or burden their parents when they are bullied, so they keep it inside. You should tell your parents every time and any time you feel you are the victim of bullying. Just because you can “handle” the bullying situation, doesn’t mean you should have to. I know it may seem scary, but you have to tell an adult. If not a parent, then maybe a teacher you trust. How do you bring it up? Sometimes that can be the hardest part. Find a time when you have your parents’ full attention. Maybe this is while you are driving in the car with them, eating dinner, or taking a long walk. Think about what to say beforehand so when you tell them you won’t get too nervous and forget everything. If you aren’t sure how to start the conversation, say: “I need to tell you something that I’m nervous about and it’s important.” I guarantee your parents will pay close attention. It’s OK if you get upset while telling them. If you want to tell a teacher instead, that’s OK too. Maybe after school when the rest of your class is gone you can ask to speak with them. Again, practice what you want to say. If it helps to bring a friend along for support, that’s OK too.

I can’t stress this enough, don’t avoid the issue for too long. This can lead to you minimizing the severity of the situation and adapting to the poor treatment. Some teens build a defense mechanism around the issue to avoid it. They pretend that it isn’t actually happening. Does pretending really help? No. The bully will continue. Remember, avoiding any situation doesn’t help. Stand up for yourself when dealing with a bully.  Protect yourself; demand that the bullying stop. Say something early on. Don’t “accept” it. That’s not a healthy way to cope!

Now if your friend is the one being bullied, what can you do? Well, a lot of things. You can tell your friend that you are there for him or her. If the bully isn’t violent, you can confront the bully together. Show the bully you aren’t taking it anymore. Or, maybe if your friend is just too scared by the bully, you can tell a teacher on his or her behalf. Some teens just don’t know what to do. Be a good friend and do something.

Bottom line— Tell a parent or tell a teacher, but don’t let it continue.

Trade in the “Time-out” for Meditation and Reflection

I’m a firm believer in meditation and it’s many forms. When talking about children, imagesmeditation can simply be a moment of silence, deep breathing, or just lying still on a rug.  This can be the start for building a great mediation practice.

I think more schools should look toward meditation as a preventative method to deter negative behavior and deal with disciplinary issues. Meditation helps balance ones’ breathing which naturally calms the system. After meditating and opening their eyes, kids are more alert, rejuvenated and ready to get back to work.  Mediation teaches focus that can help kids through the rest of their school day. And if used as a form of disciple instead of detention, a child will emerge less aggressive and more reflective.

I think parents could utilize meditation in the home as well. Putting a child in “time-out” really doesn’t do much more than create frustration, boredom or anxiety.  Kids end up counting the seconds, simply waiting for the time out to be over and they can sometimes emerge from the “time-out” angrier than they went into it. They don’t learn from the experience.

A preventative method for parents would be to start the day with your child doing a short meditation practice in the morning. It will set the day off right and produce a more aware, calm and focused child.  Overtime, this may cut down the need for punishment (or the time-out) by creating a more self-aware, mindful and relaxed child.

Teaching Your Child To Learn From Failure: 4 Steps To Success

Guest blog by: Rebecca Temsen (http://www.selfdevelopmentsecrets.com)

The old adage holds true: We learn from our mistakes. Making mistakes is especially how childrenteengirl learn. Unfortunately, too many kids (and even some adults) have never learned the value of making a mistake. I plead guilty too.

Too many fail to realize successful people find new routes to their goals and they don’t let setbacks derail them. Succeeding ultimately depends on sticking with their efforts and not letting setbacks hold them down, especially with kids.

Here are some tips for helping children recognize that mistakes don’t necessarily mean failure but instead can be learning opportunities in disguise.

  1. Stress that it’s okay to make mistakes

The very first step is helping kids realize that mistakes aren’t the end of the world is to simply say, “It’s okay to make a mistake.” By giving kids permission to fail and helping them recognize that mistakes can be positive learning experiences, we are opening the door to success later in life. Let them know that even the most successful people makes mistakes. When is the last time you told your child, “It’s okay to make a mistake in our house?”

  1. Admit your own mistakes

Whether you know it or not, your child sees you as all-knowing and all-powerful. Obviously, grownups make mistakes, too, but too often we hide them from our children and spouses. Don’t let the ‘duck syndrome‘ take control of your life. Admit your errors to your kids. It helps them recognize that everyone, even Superhero Dad or Wonder Woman Mom, mess up sometimes — and that’s okay. Keep in mind, though, that they’re also watching to see how you handle failure. 

  1. Show acceptance for mistakes

Whenever your child goofs up, show your support with both your nonverbal reactions and your words. The fastest way your children will learn to toss the idea that mistakes are the most horrible thing in the world is to allow them to feel their parents’ accepting responses to their errors.

  1. Tell your children how you overcame the obstacle

When you make an error, tell your child not only your mistake but also what you learned from it. If, for example, your dinner menu was a failure, first admit the mistake to your family quickly before they tell you themselves, and then say what you learned from the mistake. Here’s what this would look like:

“I sure messed up this recipe. I learned that I should always read the whole recipe first before adding the broccoli.”

Did your children witness you running late for work? Here’s how that conversation might go:

“I was late for work because I lost my keys. I learned I need to put them in the same place every time I come home so that I can find them when I need them.”

Use this template for your own conversations with your kids. When your child makes a mistake, ask him or her, “What was your mistake?” Follow up by saying, “What did you learn?”

Conclusion

Create a household where mistakes are acceptable. Stress that everyone — adults and children — make mistakes and that no one is perfect. Mistakes are how we learn. Emphasize over and over: “Don’t worry about your mistakes. Instead, think about what you’ll do differently next time.”

If we help kids learn from them, mistakes can be valuable lessons. Once your children realize failures aren’t the end of the world, they’ll be more likely to hang in there and not give up.

 

How to RAISE Our Teen Girls to Become Empowered Women- Podcast

Join Linda Patten and me, as we explore the teen self-esteem space, my RAISE system, and how my book has been adapted to the stage.

*Low self-esteem, poor body image, lack of self-respect, being bullied and bullying – all disempowering conditions for girls to battle in their adolescence. “Dr. Carol” shares her expertise in and passion for helping women and girls overcome some of the issues that hold them back from excelling confidently. We women all have a stake in learning from Dr. Carol how to support these girls become our future empowered women leaders!

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/107380/how-to-raise-our-teen-girls-to-become-empowered-women

 

 

The Difference Between Disordered Eating and an Eating Disorder

An eating disorder is defined as…… any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (such as anorexia nervosa). (Webster, 2018)

Disordered eating refers to “a wide range of abnormal eating behaviors, many of which are shared with diagnosed eating disorders.” The main indicator differentiating disordered eating from an eating disorder is the level of severity and frequency of behaviors.

I tend to think of disordered eating as eating habits that veer from the typical patterns seen in eating disorders but still seem restrictive, mildly obsessive and punitive in nature. It’s definitely harder to identify disordered eating. It can be subtle and varied; not as obvious as anorexia or bulimia.  It doesn’t necessarily show visible outward signs of weight loss or ritual. It can easily go undiagnosed and therefore never really addressed or treated. download-1

So what are the signs of disordered eating?

It could be a girlfriend who talks about food… a lot.  Maybe she talks about restaurants, recipes, what she ate that day, etc.  Or the friend who justifies the cupcake she wants to eat, even though you aren’t challenging her decision to eat it.  When she eats the cupcake, she may say things like… “Why did I eat that?  It wasn’t even that good! I should have only had half!”  You may brush it off because it’s just a cupcake, but she is mentally calculating the calories, and questioning her decision to eat it— sometimes hours later. Basically, she is condemning herself. And like the sinner, she silently feels the need to repent.

Or, it could be your guy friend that thinks food is only for sustenance and NOT for enjoyment.  Maybe he is obsessed with dairy-free, sugar-free, and/or calorie counting.  He would never put full fat in his coffee and can’t understand why people eat rich foods. These individuals can make their caloric intake a daily topic of conversation. You may think they are just “trying to be healthy” and certainly don’t want to judge your friend, but if it feels a little off…. it just may be.

images-2Someone with disordered eating may go no further than the examples above, but then again, they could turn into a full-fledged eating disorder. Either way, be a good friend and role model. Next time you see your friend commenting on her food (or your food) in an unhealthy way, take note and either way, gently say something or model positive food behavior of your own. Also remember, it’s ok to indulge every now and then.