On Wednesday, November 1, noted psychologist and author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood Dr. Lisa Damour visited Westridge to speak with students, faculty, and our parent community in a series of special presentations.
She started the day engaging 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in a discussion on the four ways of dealing with conflict, which she termed "Bulldozer" (aggressive/hostile), "Doormat" (passive/submissive), "Doormat with Spikes" (passive-aggressive/manipulative), and "Pillar" (standing up for oneself with kindness). Her scenarios brought up various conflicts, including one in which two people wanted the last chocolate chip cookie in the Commons - sparking a long debate over the best way to handle such a situation.
Above: Dr. Damour listens as students give real-life examples of each form of conflict resolution.
Later, she spoke with Upper School students about stress and wellness, asking them to describe their worst imaginable day, and discussing their own methods of coping with stress and practicing self-care. Dr. Damour told students the right amount of stress can be positive and healthy and lead to personal growth, but that they have to have time and strategies to work through stress in order to experience its benefits.
"You don't have to be afraid of stress if you can bounce back - so it's important to know what works for you," said Damour.
She spoke to Westridge faculty in their afternoon staff meeting, and later presented to parents at a special evening event where she was available to sign copies of her book Untangled and answer more specific questions about raising adolescent girls.
"Dr. Damour’s insights about a girl’s journey through adolescence struck a deep chord in all of us who work closely with girls," said Assistant Head of School Jemma Kennedy. "Her messages about self-care and about how we can empower girls to handle stress without it overwhelming them resonated with students, parents, and faculty alike."
Through sharing her observations and experiences, Dr. Damour provided a framework to better understand the journey and struggles that girls experience throughout adolescence. "For parents and faculty, she provided tools and language to help bring out the best in girls," Kennedy went on, "and for students, she provided avenues for them to listen well to themselves and discover their own power to handle challenging situations. We look forward to cultivating the conversations within our community that are already developing out of Dr. Damour’s visit."
Thank you to Dr. Damour for sharing her insights with our community!
For more information about Dr. Damour's work at the Laurel School Center for Research on Girls and beyond, visit her website at www.drlisadamour.com.