New insight into the old issue of teen girls suffering stress and anxiety.
Adolescent girls have always struggled with anxiety, but it’s even more of an issue now with the rise of social media, cyberbullying, and the cutthroat competition to get into elite universities across the country. Damour (Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood, 2016), an adolescence columnist for the New York Times and director of the Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, re-examines this problem through real-case scenarios taken from her private practice as a clinical psychologist and her work at her all-girls school. The author helps readers identify key areas where girls may be feeling pressure: home, school, in their relationships with their peers and with boys, and with the culture at large. In readily accessible and easily assimilated prose, Damour first explains how some stress and anxiety is actually good for a girl, as it pushes her out of her comfort zone, forcing her to stretch and reach beyond her safety level to new stages of development. It’s when this stress becomes overwhelming that it becomes a problem, and here the author jumps into the many arenas where this is an issue. She discusses the difference between healthy competition and aggressive behavior in school academics, how most girls need more sleep, and how they can protect themselves and each other from sexual harassment. She explains how to build downtime into a hectic schedule so that when things go awry, as they inevitably do, it doesn’t lead to a serious mental and emotional collapse. She also makes many other common-sense suggestions to help parents help their daughters in these highly competitive times. Although few of these issues are new, Damour’s instructive book pulls them into the limelight yet again, where they can be addressed by a new generation of parents and girls.
Practical solutions backed by solid research that will help many girls overcome their high levels of stress and anxiety.