When you think about growing up as a young girl, do you wonder if your life be any different if you'd made different decisions?
What if you'd received better advice from your mother?
Psychologist, author and speaker, Dr. Joan Rosenberg, joins Wellness for Life Radio to share what every mother should be telling her daughter in order for her to grow up confident and make the right decisions for success.
RadioMD Presents: Wellness for Life Radio | Original Air Date: May 8, 2015
Host: Susanne Bennett, DC
Guest: Joan I. Rosenberg, PhD
You are listening to Radio MD. She is a chiropractic, holistic physician, bestselling author, international speaker, entrepreneur and talk show host. She is Dr. Susanne Bennett. It is time now for Wellness for Life radio. Here is Dr. Susanne.
DR. SUSANNE: When you think about yourself growing up as a young girl, doing things at different aspects of your life as a young girl, do you ever wonder if you made different decisions that your life would actually be different today? What if you got better advice from your mother or she intervened a little bit more? Well, my next guest is here to share some tips on what every mother should be telling their daughter about self-esteem and relationships. Please welcome world renowned psychologist author and speaker Dr. Joan Rosenberg.
DR ROSENBERG: Thank you so much.
DR. SUSANNE: Alright. Let’s jump right in. besides being a good role model what can mothers do to support their daughters in developing healthy self-esteem?
DR ROSENBERG: You know, one of the things that when I was thinking about this whole topic was that it is really important for mothers to help girls trust their instincts and to have the girls set high standards for themselves, particularly about being treated well and keeping this idea of safety in mind. So, let me, if I elaborate just for a moment on that. A lot of times, girls will put themselves in situations where they subject themselves to poor treatment, that they allow themselves to be put down, they are diminished in certain ways, they may feel coerced by a boyfriend or, if you like, they are going to lose a relationship if they don't behave a certain way and what I really want mothers to convey to their daughters is that a girl should have high standards of how they get treated, and I mean with kindness and safety-- never being a threat as two key examples.
DR. SUSANNE: So…
DR ROSENBERG: There is more.
DR. SUSANNE: Go ahead, please, I want to hear more.
DR ROSENBERG: Okay. Well, I also want mothers to emphasize to daughters that they should learn how to speak up with ease. Again, so my thinking around self-esteem is that if an individual has a hard time speaking up and saying the things that they want to say, to whom they want to say them, when they want to say them, and, again, hopefully with kindness and discretion, that if they don't do that, they will never, I think, solidify their sense of self or their self-esteem, and that so being able to speak up with ease is kind of like super gluing the self-esteem. So, I want mothers to also encourage their daughters to speak the truth of what they think and feel because that will help them.
DR. SUSANNE: So…
DR ROSENBERG: Go ahead.
DR. SUSANNE: Yes. I hear you. I'm sorry. I was thinking about what you were saying. I remember my son when he was really young, I actually used to role model with him because there were times he would come home all upset about this and that and because his friend said something mean to him and he was like four, five years old and I would role model and act like that friend so that I can get him, Cody, to speak up use his voice in a way not to be hurtful but to share the feelings. You just reminded me of that as you are talking about it.
DR ROSENBERG: Absolutely and, again, I think what ends up diminishing a girl’s sense of self-esteem is because she doesn’t speak the truth of what she is experiencing nor does she necessarily act on the truth. So, it’s rather she feels like sometimes not right in a situation rather than speaking to it or rather than leaving the situation, she stays in it and then she begins to devalue herself. So, this is why I think setting high standards, being able to speak up and say things she needs to, that say she is a super important element in any relationship whether it is a peer, a girlfriend, or it is an emotionally intimate partner, a sexually intimate partner that you got to be able to pay attention to those kinds of things in order just to maintain that high sense of self-esteem.
DR. SUSANNE: Right. You actually wrote a book about this, about relationships that girls have, Mean Girls, Meaner Women.
DR ROSENBERG: Yes.
DR. SUSANNE: Tell us a little bit about that.
DR ROSENBERG: You know, the book is really about the kind of multiple influences on why women treat each other poorly, and, again, one of the key elements in that book is really about the need for girls and women to be more authentic with themselves. So, we have to tell the truth to ourselves and then we need to be telling the truth to other women. So, it is being authentic with ourselves and authentic with each other, and the key here around that I see that really undermines things is that, by and large, girls are not socialized well. They are not taught well to handle anger and competition. And I think that this really gets in the way of girls, again, having high self-esteem because they are asked to shut down on important protective experiences and they don't learn well how to go after things that they want because they are afraid to be in completion with somebody else. So, those are two of the things that were talked about in that book.
DR. SUSANNE: That’s great Mean Girls, Meaner Women. That is an excellent book. So, what can we talk about when we talk about signs that, as a mother, signs may indicate that your daughter might be in a toxic relationship or friendship?
DR ROSENBERG: You will see withdrawal. You will hear your daughter speak poorly about herself. You will hear her devalue herself she will describe not being worthy of good things kind of going back to this whole idea that high self-esteem involves feeling worthy and also feeling capable of going after what you want and so, again, the withdrawal. You will see depression. You might see more anxiety and this fear of going after things, this fear of being able to speak up, being afraid that the fear of losing a relationship that is hurtful she is more afraid to do that than she is to be on her own. So, those are some of the things that a mother can look for.
DR. SUSANNE: Yes. I also think that even your grades start going down.
DR ROSENBERG: Oh, sure. Absolutely. Grades going down, isolation, all those different kinds of things. Yes. Even a child that changes mood abruptly so that she has gone from being a sweet child to being an angry, aggressive, pessimistic, abrasive child. Those are also signs that something is going on underneath.
DR. SUSANNE: Yes. Yes and what age do we start talking to our daughters? Like I said, for my son I talked to him when he just pretty much started going to school, kindergarten and pre-school, I mean really when is the best time to start talking to our girls?
DR ROSENBERG: You know, my thing is you start as young as they can understand what is taking place. All you do is change how you approach language-wise, how you talk about content so that if your son was coming home at four, five or six where he was not being treated well, you just find the right language and the right way to interact with him around that, and I would say the same is true for mothers with daughters. You want to start young. You just want to use language that the child can understand about how important it is to feel safe; how important it is to begin to say stop if they don't want somebody to do something or also encouraging them to be able to go after things that they want and to be able to handle things if they don't work out.
DR. SUSANNE: Gosh, we are in the last minute here. Is there one thing that a mom can do today for Mother’s Day to be able to talk to their daughters? Is there one thing that you advise?
DR ROSENBERG: That they can do to talk to their daughter? You know what? Reach out. Make the connection. If there is any kind of estrangement, my thing is, and there is some distance, go repair the distance and reach out and tell your daughter how much you love her and that you want to be there for her to support her in whatever she wants to go after.
DR. SUSANNE: Fantastic. So much great information. Everyone go to Dr. Joan Rosenberg’s website at www.drdusanne.com/drjoan. I so appreciate you coming on the show and then, of course, you can also go to the Wellness For Life Radio show page on RadioMD.
This is Dr. Susanne sharing natural strategies for ultimate health and wellness right here on Radio MD. Until next time stay well.