How to Build Strong Young Women (Part III)

Natalie Mills San Francisco Psychotherapy and Coaching, San Francisco Counseling, San Francisco Therapy, San Francisco CA Therapists, San Francisco CA Therapist, San Francisco CA Couples Counseling, couples therapy san francisco ca, couples therapist san francisco ca, San Francisco Marriage Therapy, San Francisco Marriage Counseling, San Francisco Coaching, EMDR therapists in San Francisco, EMDR therapist in san Francisco ca, EMDR therapy in San Francisco CA, psychologist in san francisco, female psychotherapist san francisco, psychotherapist in san francisco, marriage and family therapist in san francisco, relationship therapy in san francisco, help with intimacy therapy san francisco, help with intimacy San Francisco, parenting issues san Francisco therapy, help for depression in san francisco, depression treatment san francisco, anxiety treatment san Francisco, help for anxiety san francisco, addiction treatment San Francisco, alcoholism treatment san francisco ca, help with substance abuse san francisco, eating disorders, help with anorexia san francisco, help with bulimia san francisco, help with binge eating disorder san francisco, learning self-care, EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, self-compassion therapy san francisco, family therapy san francisco, eating disorder therapist in San Francisco ca, eating disorder specialist san francisco, pre marital therapy san francisco, couples therapy san francisco, couples therapist San Francisco, pre marital counseling san francisco, recovering from an eating disorder san francisco, help with eating disorder san francisco, treatment for anorexia san francisco ca, treatment for bulimia san francisco ca, treatment for binge eating san francisco ca, addiction treatment san francisco ca, treatment for substance abuse san francisco, eating disorder treatment San Francisco, mental health san francisco, mental health therapist san francisco, mental health professional san francisco, healing from shame san francisco, recovering from infidelity san francisco ca, career counseling san francisco, trauma recovery san Francisco therapy ca, trauma treatment san francisco ca, mental health support in san francisco, treatment for shame san francisco, secual abuse specialist san francisco ca, treatment for sexual abuse san francisco therapy, trauma treatment San Francisco, PTSD therapist in San Francisco ca, therapy for PTSD in San Francisco ca, trauma specialist san francisco, PTSD specialist san francisco, treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder san francisco ca, anger management therapy san francisco, stress management therapy san francisco, help with communication san francisco, performance enhancement coaching san francisco, attachment-based therapy san francisco, attachment-based therapist san francisco, mindful meditation therapy san francisco, sex therapy san francisco, sex therapist san francisco, sexuality specialist therapy san francisco, treatment for sexual abuse san francisco, psychospiritual therapy san francisco ca, grief therapy san francisco ca, feminist therapy san francisco, treatment for Narcissistic personality disorder san francisco, treatment for borderline personality disorder san francisco, marriage counseling san francisco, attachment-focused therapy san francisco, internal family systems therapy san francisco, internal family systems therapist in san francisco, choosing a therapist in san francisco, choosing the right therapist in san francisco, how to choose a therapist san francisco, find a therapist in san francisco, female therapist in san francisco, finding the right therapist san francisco, ethical non-monogamy affirming therapist in san francisco ca, ethical nonmonogamy affirming therapist in san francisco ca, polyamory affirming therapist san francisco ca

Earlier, I mentioned the idea of an Authentic Self and its importance for sustained resilience throughout a young women’s development and into adulthood.  This part of her is what decreases her drive to search for outside validation and what helps her to find comfort and strength when she experiences rejection from others. With this tool, she can navigate her world, relationships, obstacles, and triumphs with much more confidence and stability.

“This sounds great!” you might be thinking. “I want my kid to have that.” So, how do I give that to her? Well, the earlier you start, the better, of course, but you can start doing these things that I will recommend at any age.


Step 1. Recapture the first moments you fell in love with her. Remember the earliest times when you first became aware of how overwhelmed by your love for her and your curiosity about her, your wish to keep her safe. This is a helpful step because it puts you back in touch with the part of her that is the vulnerable person she still is (in case things have gotten a bit tense between the two of you and it’s hard to access that) and it reminds you of the reservoir of love you hold for her. This step reminds you from which part of your intentions for her are coming. It can be easy to forget this when you find yourself in a power struggle with her, stuck in fear, and out of sync with the important young woman in your life.

When she feels your in-loveness with her, she will be more in touch with her self-worth (self-respect and confidence), which is crucial for healthy development.   


Step 2. Trust yourself and your instincts. Sometimes this is asking a lot. If you have been going through a lot with your young woman, and you feel like your family has been through the wringer, it can feel like you have lost touch with yourself. You can begin to mistake your anxiety for your instincts. They’re still there, and it will take some practice regaining your ability to hear our voice again. If you feel like you need some guidance here, call or email me, and I can provide further assistance.

When you trust yourself, you are less afraid, overall, and you can make more reasonable decisions. When you are less afraid, she feels safer with you, and she is less afraid of her world. She begins to trust herself. When she trusts herself, she does not need as much outside validation and does not feel as driven to seek approval at any cost.


Step 3. Be curious. The young woman is going through a lot right now. So are you. Be curious about her patterns and decisions, but don’t draw any quick conclusions from minimal information. Don’t be afraid to ask her questions about what you see or what concerns you. Be curious about your thoughts, reactions, and responses to her. There is power in curiosity, but we tend to lose that power once we become reactive. As she experiences your curiosity, she will strengthen her own and gain comfort in sitting with the unknown while she figures things out for herself, rather than reacting impulsively.


Step 4. Set reasonable and compassionate limits. It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and start rattling off shortcomings and consequences to the young woman in your life. This results in feelings of resentment, shame, and a wish for some rewind button. If you’re not used to slowing yourself down, it can be hard to get it going at first, but all you need to do is start with being aware. You’ll get it. Ok, so slow yourself down a little, then take control of the situation. Remember that you’re the parent, and you set the pace. If there needs to be a consequence of an action you don’t have to come up with one on the spot. You can give yourself time to think of something that makes sense for the situation and come back to it. Many of the parents I see don’t realize that they can give themselves this option and when they try it, they feel freedom.

If it’s a conversation that you want to end, it’s ok to end it. You don’t have to keep going around in circles. If you don’t think it’s a productive conversation anymore, it’s ok to take a break. You can be both loving and respectful while still holding firm boundaries. This teaches her that she doesn’t have to let others walk all over her to have a relationship. It teaches her to make and respect her boundaries while respecting others’ boundaries.


Step 5. Make room for both success and failure. She can’t always succeed, and she won’t always fail. She’ll need to learn how to manage both. Many parents are afraid to celebrate their child’s successes out of fear that they will become over-identified with them, entitled, or unable to deal with failure. This is understandable, but minimizing success is not a way to teach failure-management. The idea is to be curious about both. Why was she successful here? How does it feel when she is successful? It’s ok to praise her experienced success. The same goes for her failure. What made for the failure? How does it feel to have failed? It’s also ok to offer condolence and encouragement. She will take these lessons and reference them. She will remember that both success and failure happen and that neither defines her.


Step 6. Ask for help. If you would like more clarification regarding these steps, do not hesitate to ask me for help. Asking your support system for help takes the burden off of you and provides more balance. It shows the young woman that, instead of suffering alone, she can increase her capability by asking for help when she needs it. It puts her in touch with her resourcefulness.      

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