• A Sneak Peek Inside The Teenage Mind | Valerie Grison-Alsop and Blanche Stora | Episode 109

  • peek inside the teenage mindEvery parent wonders what their child is thinking. In today’s climate we also wonder what is weighing on their hearts and what is feeding their anxiety. Today we’ll get an inside look at the teenage mind from people who listen to them regularly. Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler chats with Valerie Grison Alsop and Blanche Stora from Give Us the Floor (GUTF). At Give Us the Floor, teens talk to teens about their problems and the anxiety they feel. Find out what is on the teenage mind, what’s happening with their mental health, and why they don’t want to talk to adults about it.



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    A lot of the time teens don’t feel comfortable talking to adults about what they’re going through because they feel they’ll be judged.

    High Points of Our Conversation About Peeking Inside the Teenage Mind:

    inside the teenage mind on why teens don't talk to adultsGive Us The Floor (GUTF) is a way for teens to help teens.

    They utilize the internet and social media to give teens a space to chat. Groups of 12-15 teens are run by 1-2 facilitators.

    Teenagers in GUTF answer surveys. Being part of the group makes 95% feel less lonely, 97% feel better about themselves, and 85% felt they were helped with struggles.

    The facilitators help kids get comfortable by sharing their own problems and inviting the group to help them.

    We wonder why our teens don’t listen to our advise. Blanche gave us a peek inside the teenage mind. She said the kids feel friends can relate to their problems but parents will judge, correct, teach, and try to fix it if they confide in us.

    Teens are worried about daily issues like college stress, academic stress, and their romantic life as well as coming out.

    They like to get advice from people who have been in that situation.

    Academic pressure is coming from all sides. It’s harder to get into colleges and 78% of teens in GUTF report anxiety about the future.

    Another peek inside the teenage mind shows us the mistakes parents are making, at least in their teens minds. Adults place blame on things. They also tell teens it’ll all be fine later but the teens want help feeling better now. Also, adults just don’t believe the teen’s experience is all that bad even though it feels really bad to the teen.

    Teens feel hurt in that moment and need to so something about that now.

    Parents need to allow our teens to not share everything with us. It doesn’t mean they don’t love or appreciate us.

    Don’t pressure your teenager to tell you everything. Don’t force them to tell but rather let them know you’re there for them.

    Ask if they want to talk about it. 

    In a teen mind these phrases are very off-putting and make them feel like we are disregarding their pain:

    • You’ll understand when you’re older.
    • You’re still young.
    • You don’t understand.
    • It’ll get better.
    • This too shall pass.

    If our kids have the courage to ask for help or request therapy then we need to help them. Ask them what’s happening and what help they need.

    Many or our teens are experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, loneliness and isolation. 25% of girls are self-harming. The LGBTQ community is carrying shame.

    If you want to share GUTF with your child don’t suggest they sign up. Rather, tell them about the Instagram account or suggest they check it out incase they know someone who needs it.

    Resources Mentioned in Show:

    Reaching Academic Goals | Steven Greene | Episode 85

    Career Anxiety In College And High School Students | Dennis Trittin | Episode 92

    Why Finding Your Authentic Self Is So Important For Teens | Cathy Lander-Goldberg | Episode 98

    Understanding And Managing Emotions To Create More Joy, Love, And Peace | Jude Bijou | Episode 103

    Motivating Teenagers And Helping Them Reach Goals | Adam Norse | Episode 105

    Teaching Teenagers How To Bounce Back From Failure and Rejection | Stephen David Leonard | Episode 107

    Our Guests Valerie Grison-Alsop and Blanche Stora:

    Give Us the Floor Valerie Grison-Alsop and Blanche StoraValerie is an experienced advertising and television executive with an entrepreneurial itch and deep expertise in engaging teenagers. After studying teen behavior, reflecting on her own struggles as a young adult and helping her daughters through those torturous years, Valerie had an epiphany: teens are uniquely able to help each other deal with distress and reduce stigma. She founded San Francisco-based nonprofit Give Us The Floor (GUTF) in 2015 to help teens in distress. Previously, Valerie founded and led StoraLab, a company specializing in online and mobile experiences for teens and tweens. She also created and served as CEO and executive producer of Tipitina Films, a Paris-based joint venture with The Artists Company, an American production company. Valerie was born to an Algerian Muslim father and a white Catholic mother and grew up in a diverse neighborhood in the suburbs of Paris. She studied physics at the University of Paris Jussieu.

    Blanche, Valerie’s 16-year-old daughter, is a high school student and participates in GUTF as a Supportive Group Chat facilitator. 

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://giveusthefloor.org 


    Photo credit: Ben White

  • 1 comment

    Hi! I just listened to your podcast on GUTF. Tonight I told my kids (13,15 and 17) about it at dinner and my 15 and 17 year old both thought it sounded really interesting. They loved the idea of a small group of other kids they could talk to about everyday problems. Especially since they would be kids they didn’t Know from school. My daughter has already signed up! Thanks so much for highlighting this great organization! ~Tara Eliason Potomac, MD