Dr Shefali Tsabary on parenting our precious daughters
Dr Shefali Tsabary is a New York based psychologist whose work has been heavily endorsed by Oprah and is the author of best-selling book, 'The Conscious Parent'.
We were fortunate to be able to ask Dr Shefali a few questions about parenting our precious teen daughters.
As a conscious parent, what is your number one tip for approaching the teen years?
I often refer to the teen years as the second coming of toddlerhood. And in a way, they can be even more difficult because no longer are we dealing with little people, but bigger people who are constantly oscillating between dependency and autonomy. My number one tip would be to do your best to see your teen as the individual they are, not the individual you hoped or wished they would be. It can be so easy to put our own projections onto our teens of what we think they should do—or what we wished we’d done when we were younger—and our teens feel this pressure, even if only subconsciously. If they feel like they are not meeting our expectations, this is often when they will withdraw or rebel and the disconnect between parent and teen can become greater. Hold space for your them to be the person they wish to be, and you’ll create more opportunities for meaningful connection with your teen.
Enter the emotional pre-teen or teen daughter; what would be your advice for helping her navigate this season of big feelings often triggered by hormones?
Have compassion for her, she is navigating a tricky world with a bunch of new feelings and emotions and often she doesn’t have a lot of tools on board to help her ride these waves. Acknowledge her feelings, even when they seem ‘trivial’ or ‘over the top’ to you, because her experience is just that. Teach her ways to soothe her big feelings so that she can gain a greater sense of her own resilience. Also be aware of your own thoughts and feelings. Your emotional pre-teen or teen daughter will trigger many unhealed parts of yourself and offer you many opportunities to raise your own consciousness by how you choose to react.
How can you bring out the extraordinary in your teen girl, as you speak about in your book?
Connect with what lights her up and the essence of her as a human—irrespective of whether it’s what you wanted for her. If your teen is relatively relaxed and easy going, yet you hoped she would be more ambitious and go-getting, connect with her relaxed and easy-going nature. Remember each personality trait has both benefits and drawbacks and while she may not be out there topping her maths class or making team captain, there are many benefits to having a low-anxiety teen—connect with these as a pathway for you to meet her true essence.
Thanks you so much Dr Shefali for sharing some of your wisdom with us!
Love the Pippin team x