9780553393057A message from Dr. Lisa Damour, author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood (Ballantine Books, February 2016).

I’m often stunned by what people say to me when they learn that I’m a psychologist who specializes in working with teenage girls:

“You work with teen girls? There should be a medal for that!” or they shake their heads and say, “Teenage girls … I’m so glad I only have sons.”

When talking about adolescent girls, adults are quick to fall back on stereotypes. Too often, we describe girls as being mean or marginalized, wild or mild, stressed or buoyant. But anyone who spends time with teenagers, anyone who really knows and cares about them, can  tell you that most teenage girls could fit all of these descriptions, and more, on any single day. It’s time to address how dynamic and intricate girls really are.

It’s time to shed light on their inner lives and do so in a way that honors girls and the intelligence of the adults who care about them.  As the mother of two girls and a psychologist who consults to schools and treats girls in my private practice, I wrote Untangled to replace our two-dimensional stereotypes with a sophisticated framework for understanding adolescent development. (more…)

The_SparkWhen our son Jacob was two years old he was evaluated as moderately to severely autistic. At the time, this diagnosis meant there was no hope that he would ever read, tie his shoes or even be able to reach out to us as parents and hug us again. We sought out every avenue we could find to help our little boy. We surrounded ourselves with doctors and specialists, all of which were fiercely fighting to bring Jacob back into our world. A barrage of therapists came to our home and trained their focus on his lowest skills. Their protocol included things like teaching him to put a ball in a cup, a skill that sadly one of the younger children from the tiny daycare I was running could easily do. By the time Jacob was two and a half, he had the standard course of therapy. It consisted of 40-plus hours of early intervention followed by speech, developmental, physical and occupational therapies. (more…)