#TimesUp – The Ultimate Self-Advocacy Guide for Teens

Have you and your daughter had an opportunity to talk about the #metoo, #timesup or #whywewearblack movement?

Even though the glass ceiling hasn’t quite shattered or the hinges torn off the doors of inequality just yet, I’m hopeful that Oprah’s speech at the Golden Globes will bring positive change … for your daughter and mine.

It’s no secret that sexual harassment, discrimination and disempowerment towards woman reaches far beyond the entertainment industry.

Just ask your teenage daughter.

She probably feels the sting from these negative behaviors regularly.

As a parent and teen coach, I wholeheartedly agree when Oprah said, what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

Sometimes, though, it’s not easy for a teenage girl to self-advocate and speaking her truth may feel far too scary.

In addition, society often sends young women mixed messages:

  • be bold yet respectful
  • be nice but not a pushover
  • be purposeful without being arrogant

So, what can your daughter do to break through the social barriers, courageously speak her truth and find her place in the world?

It’s time for her to root down, stand bold and RISE … imagine a giant Sequoia tree!

This Self -Advocacy Guide is designed to help your daughter grasp the power of choice and influence she has over the outcomes in her life.

Recognize the role her “roots” are playing and who she is, below the surface.

  • Explore your daughter’s private self – what are her values and morals and how do they impact her day to day choices and interactions?
  • Consider her public self – what’s your daughters identified “persona” and how she presents herself to the world?
  • Is her environment providing sufficient nourishment and support so she’s able to thrive?

Investigate how her “trunk” will withstand adversity when it crops up.

  • Self-care is essential – is your daughter getting enough sleep, water and movement?
  • Focus her energy on where she has control – your daughter gets to choose what to think and how to react to her situation.
  • Setbacks will happen – brainstorm alternative options ahead of time to help her stay on course when she hits a rough patch.

Stretch her “limbs” to build her sense of belonging and purpose.

  • Where can your daughter build connection in her community?
  • Volunteering or helping others provides a sense of accomplishment – where can she share her gifts and talents with the world?
  • Hug it out! Find a safe person your daughter can hug or hold hands with – because compassionate physical contact releases the hormone oxytocin – promoting a feeling of bonding and trust.

Evolve and grow her “leaves” so that she may show up in her world.

  • Continue to cultivate your daughter’s strengths and find areas where she can shine.
  • Embrace negative emotions and perceived weaknesses – allow them to teach her what it means to be a whole person.
  • Embrace the gift of time – as life ebbs and flows, your daughter will begin to recognize what “works” for her and what doesn’t feel right.

Learning to speak your truth involves a great deal of courage, true connection and a willingness to feel vulnerable.

As, Brené Brown says:

Vulnerability – the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome – is the only path to more love, belonging, and joy.

The downside? You’re going to stumble, fall, and get your ass kicked.

Worth it? Yes.”

I’m here to stand with you and your daughter.

Let’s continue the conversation while also taking action.

It’s time to hand your daughter, and mine, a new world.

What areas are you and your daughter passionate about?

How would you like to contribute?



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Posted in: Your Teen's Sense of Self

2 thoughts on “#TimesUp – The Ultimate Self-Advocacy Guide for Teens

    1. Hi Fran,
      I’m happy to hear that you like the tree metaphor!
      And, thanks for sharing the article with your daughters – I hope they find the tips in the Self-Advocacy Guide empowering and motivating.
      If there is another topic you’d like me to write about, please let me know, and I’ll do my best to create another relatable metaphor.
      Here’s to more resilient teens,

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