How happy girls can become at risk teens

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How happy girls can become at risk teens

Girls today are growing up at a time of unprecented opportunities and unprecedented challenges. So a happy seven year old can be exposed to risks of eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, self injury and teen pregnancy. What happens is when a girl is growing up, she is turning her gaze from inside her family out to the wider world. And what she is seeing, first of all, she is having an onslaught of images of what she is supposed to look like with the message how she looks is the most important thing. In addition, she is being taught by the culture that what teenagers do is do drugs and have sex and are alienated from their familes even though that is a false notion. Other girls get caught up in trying to be good girls or perfect girls where they squash their own preferences in order to try to please others. All this is happening at a time when her body is changing. She is trying to figure out who she is and who her friends are. It is a critical, vulnerable time much like the toddler years and our daughters can really use our understanding and support.

See SuEllen Hamkins, MD's video on How happy girls can become at risk teens...


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SuEllen Hamkins, MD

Psychiatrist & Author

SuEllen Hamkins, MD, is a psychiatrist, author and founding member of the Mother-Daughter Project, a community of women and girls that developed powerful, practical ways to help mothers and daughters stay connected and thrive through adolescence. Co-author of The Mother-Daughter Project: How Mothers and Daughters Can Band Together, Beat the Odds and Thrive Through Adolescence, Dr. Hamkins has given numerous presentations for parents and psychotherapists around the world, focusing on mothers, daughters, their relationships and the kinds of communities that nurture them.  As the psychiatrist for the Smith College Counseling Service from 1992-2004, SuEllen offered consultation to over a thousand women ages 16 to 23 to help them resist and overcome problems such as anorexia, bulimia, depression, anxiety, trauma, assault, and self-injury.  In addition to her work on behalf of mothers and daughters, as the Assistant Director for Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, she has been instrumental in developing strengths-based, narrative approaches to psychotherapy and psychiatric practice, helping people cultivate their values and strengths in the face of serious difficulties.  SuEllen is the mother of two daughters, now 17 and 22, and raising them has been the most thrilling and rewarding work of her life. She lives with her husband and younger daughter in western Massachusetts, where they love to swim outdoors, cross country ski, shoe snow, dance, cook and lounge around in the living room, reading. 

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