How to Always be “Authentic” with Teens

When working with teens, always be authentic.

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Whenever I’m asked about my work with teens, I remind people that the key to success with this age group is being authentic.  I always say: “Teens can stiff out an inauthentic adult in seconds.” ….but what does being “authentic” really mean?

  1. Do not be judgmental.  Meaning…. just listen to them. Don’t be shocked or surprised by what they say.  Sometimes, they will tell you things for the shock value alone to see how you will respond. The key is…..DON’T!
  2. You don’t always need to lend advice. Just listen to them.  As easy as it can be to lend them guidance at this age, hold back sometimes.
  3. Don’t ask soooo many questions.  This will easily annoy or frustrate them.
  4. Don’t cut them off or redirect the conversation.  Let them take the conversation where they want.
  5. Maintain eye contect and show other visual signs of confirmation (such as, head nodding, smiling, etc.)
  6. Last, but not least, be present and engaged. Regardless if they are talking about a minor issue from school or a serious struggle with a friend, it’s important to them. And if it’s important to them, then it should be important to you as well.

Easy Steps to RAISE Your Self-Esteem

(Guest article for Fusion Academy) 

R – Resilience
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A – Attitude/Adaptability

I – Independence

S – Self-respect

E – Empowerment

After counseling and interviewing hundreds of young girls, I have an understanding for what they face in the world and how they feel inside. Trying to maneuver the landscape of your everyday life as a teenage girl is tough. Without tools, strategies, or resources it’s nearly impossible. I see RAISE as your toolkit. RAISE is an acronym for five components to building healthy self-esteem: resilience, attitude, independence, self-respect, and empowerment.

Resilience 

It’s probably no surprise that teens rate the disapproval of their friends and classmates as the most difficult to experience. Most will avoid it at any cost. This is where peer pressure can come into play if they don’t have a strong sense of self or healthy self-esteem. Resilience, or self-perseverance, is a great defense against peer pressure and bullying. We are all resilient in our own way, it’s just a matter of taking those “resilient” behaviors and translating them to other situations and environments. Resilience doesn’t have to come naturally. Instead, we can learn skills to help us persevere and practice them along the way.

Attitude 

Maintaining a positive attitude can enhance self-esteem. Simply accepting that we all have good days and bad days is a start. In addition, adapting to different situations is key. Developmentally, the teen years are extremely complex. Dynamics among friendships start to shift and extreme self-awareness takes hold. Not to mention there’s a good chance their hormones are going crazy! All of these conditions create a concoction just waiting for disaster. Teens may deal with these changes in many different ways. They may become moody, crying over big and small issues, they may begin to challenge parents, or they may feel sad or depressed for seemingly no reason. These can all be very scary experiences and cause extreme confusion.

Adolescents need to remember that they aren’t alone; sometimes just knowing that can make all the difference in the world. Teen girls talk about a lot of things with their friends, but based on my research, feeling sad or lonely for no real reason isn’t usually one of them. So, who or what can they turn to?

Dr Carol will be hosting a Community Education Night at Fusion San Mateo on May 27. See more at: Fusion Academy

What is Confidence Coaching?

Confidence coaching is a one-on-one service I provide for teen girl between the ages 13-17. It’s designed to provide them (with the tools ) to healthier self-esteem.

Through a series of session, we discuss letting go of negative inner thoughts, anxieties and self-sabotage.  We practice techniques & exercises, discuss tough topics, and confront issues together.  I push them past their comfort zone and lead them ultimately to a stronger sense of self.

By using my system called RAISE (Resilience, Attitude, Independence, Self-respect and Empowerment), we explore, discover and in some cases uncover, each girl’s inner voice. Based on each girl’s unique story, we tailor a plan for her incorporating the following components of the RAISE system as they relate to her story (life.)

R- Resilience is building a strong protectice shield around yourself. We practice resiliency exercises to help build a tough shell. We disccuss how perfectionism is unrealistic, unhealthy and unattainable. You learn to set attainable and healthy goals. (Don’t sweat the small stuff.)

A- Attitude is the lens though which you see the world;  your orientation to the world. Is your glass have empty or half full?   Through simple adjustments and exercises, we can change our attitude.  Adaptability is the key here. Learning to roll with change is a huge factor affecting our attitude.

I- independence is the ability to make your own choices instead of blindly following the crowd. The way you become independent is by taking on challenges, big or small. Pushing yourself further than you thought you could go and realizing what you are made of.

S- Self-respect is about learning to put yourself first. It’s about not easily being swayed into uncomfortable situations and rarely feeling peer pressure. Having a strong group of friends is powerful. Who we surround ourself with is important. You will begin to evaluate friendships and take steps to confront the unhealthy ones in your life.

E- Empowerment is about feeling strong in your decisions, opinions, and individuality. In many ways, empowerment can be the culmination of the other 4 concepts when integrated successfully into your life. Your confidence will blossom and ultimately – regardless of success or failure – you will grow strong, trust in yourself, and look inward for approval.

For more information about confidence coaching in the SF bay area, email carol@dr-carol.com.