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Rooting for the Mature Side

On Thursday evening, with thanks to our Parents’ Association, St. Clement’s hosted our final speaker of the 2015-2016 LINCWell Speaker Series. The School researches and invites to speak, educational experts whose findings inform our work to develop outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate.

Our speaker, Dr. Lisa Damour, author, researcher, psychotherapist, and Director of the Laurel School Center for Research on Girls, spoke about her recently published New York Times best-selling book Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood.

Dr. Damour was excellent and I left the evening with practical considerations for working with adolescent girls. The audience was reminded of the importance of being a cheerleader rather than a rule maker for our girls as they transition through adulthood. Damour pointed out that teenagers tend to have two sides to them: the ‘awesome, put-together’ one, and the ‘falling down on the job’ one. Damour suggested that as adults we tend to want to insist on the former; however, we must, for development’s sake, let our girls figure out the two sides on their own. If we are able to allow our girls opportunities not only to celebrate success but to experience consequences, they will inevitably mature.

As we teach and learn alongside our girls, our ultimate goal at SCS is to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge and capacity to succeed beyond their time at the School. While we do have parameters within which we guide our girls, I can’t think of a better stance than to always be rooting for their mature, ‘put-together’ side. As cheerleaders, we are supporters demonstrating our belief in our girls’ capacity.

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