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

  • finding your authentic self is a protective factor for teensPeer pressure, emotional challenges, and personality development are a few of the hallmarks of the teenage years. The difficulties are easier to navigate and teens make better choices when they know who they are and what’s truly important to them. Cathy Lander-Goldberg shares strategies for helping teens navigate this path. She talks to Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler about finding your authentic self and how that fits into the puzzle of teen development. 



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    “We do not need talent to express ourselves.”

    High Points of Our Conversation About Why Finding Your Authentic Self is So Important for Teens:

    self expression helps in finding your authentic selfA lot of kids are doing great things. They are getting involved in social movements and making a difference in the world in many ways. On the negative side, our teens are showing a lot of anxiety. Many are feeling stressed out from over-booked lives.

    A self-portrait is a photo that says something about who you are and how you see yourself. A selfie is a photo showing the world what you’re doing. The self-portrait is a form of self-expression.

    Self-expression is a way to build a relationship with ourselves. It is also helps in finding your authentic self.

    Journaling, photography, music, and dance are all ways to cope when stressed. 

    Kids will be drawn to different forms of self-expression. 

    The more we get to know ourselves and understand our authentic self, the healthier we are.

    Photography can be a great tool for kids with social anxiety or low self-esteem. They can be out connecting with people but have the camera as a buffer. This works better with an actual camera, particularly a little more advanced camera.

    The great thing about using photography as a form of self-expression is that you can get a pretty great photo right away. Also, cell phones come with good cameras so kids always have a camera available.

    Looking back at what sparked your interest is helpful in finding your authentic self.

    We do not need talent to express ourselves. We simply need to give ourselves permission to  take creative risks.

    There are many ways to express yourself. A common one is journaling. Sometimes people don’t try it because they don’t know what to write. You use a writing prompt and do structured journaling. There are many writing prompts on Pinterest or you can use one of these to get started:

    • This is what I’m feeling
    • This is what’s going on
    • What do I need to tell myself?
    • What action do I need now?

    Some other ways to express yourself are dance, theatre, song writing, photography, crafting, movie making, bullet journals, sewing, wood working, etc.

    Having a quote journal is a great way to get insights into who you are. They’re also good tools for
    finding your authentic self.

    Self-expression can be done as a family as well. 

    However you express yourself, this is for you. It only needs to bring you joy or have meaning for you.

    If your child gives you permission to see their work, it can be a great springboard for meaningful conversations.

    Find your authentic self and knowing who you are is a protective factor for adolescents against peer pressure. They’ll know what they will and won’t do. That helps them stand up for themselves.

    The Resilient Souls project is a photo project that gives girls a voice.

    We live our lives in different personas. These are all parts of us but there’s a time when we feel the most like us. This is your authentic self.

    Resources Mentioned in Show:

    Photo Explorations: A Girl’s Guide To Self-Discovery Through Photography, Writing and Drawing 

    The Resilient Souls Project

    Our Guest Cathy Lander-Goldberg:

    Cathy Lander-GoldbergCathy Lander-Goldberg, MSW, LCSW, is a parent as well as a psychotherapist, photographer, educator and the author of the workbook, PHOTO EXPLORATIONS: A Girl’s Guide to Self-Discovery Through Photography, Writing and Drawing.  She also is the photographer/curator of The Resilient Souls Project, A powerful traveling exhibit of portraits and writing celebrating the individual strength and beauty of spirit in a diverse group of women over two decades.

    She frequently facilitates workshops, which use journaling, photography and other visual arts to help participants build self-awareness, self-expression and resilience.  In her clinical practice, she often incorporates these same expressive techniques into therapy sessions with children, teens and adults.

    Cathy holds a master’s degree in social work from Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in photo-journalism from the University of Missouri.

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://www.clgphoto.com

    Our Sponsor — Ecree

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