Untangled by Lisa Damour

One of the pleasures or perils of reading multiple books at the same time is how suddenly one captures your attention, shutting everything & everyone out in the process. It can be fun to disappear down a rabbit hole with your newest favorite author.

Such are the powers of the author of the book I just finished namely Lisa Damour, an expert in her field.

Lisa Damour PhD. is director of the Laurel School Center for Research on Girls. I’m embarrassed to admit that this even sounded a bit odd to me, that there might be a need for a centre researching girls. Dinosaur alert (moi that is)….

Yet of course that’s so (the need for such a centre I mean), and the appetite for Damour’s best-sellers is de facto evidence.

Please check out this video, it’s very good.

I have so much to learn.

I’ve followed her on Twitter (and this is her Twitter photo).

She also has podcasts. This week’s topic is “What Should My Kids Do This Summer?”

Excuse me..! I almost vanished into another rabbit hole, namely Damour’s online content.

Let me get back to the book I just finished. It’s Untangled: guiding teenage girls through the seven transitions into adulthood. Although my children are grownups (and I’m old enough to be a grand-father) that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for me or other old dudes to learn.

Quite the contrary, I think it’s valuable to look at the predicament of the 21st century parent, both for insights of the grandfatherly sort, and even for some retrospective insight about parenting. I found myself feeling so grateful that my kids didn’t have to deal with social media in their century. It’s getting harder for parents. I started out reading with the ambition to better connect with a grandchild. But it was closer to home than just a parenting book, much more universal, as I suddenly had insights about being a dad, flashbacks to my own time as a teen, as well as my time as a manager & employee, as a music-director & performer….Damour sheds light on human relationships.

I find myself intrigued by the differences between girls & boys, and Damour is an expert. We hear of the strategies girls use, often quite different from the ones boys use. The divergences might be the key to understanding the trajectory of our society: its weaknesses, its future. Any person fascinated by human behaviour can learn from Damour’s book.

The seven transitions in the title correspond to seven pathways for discussion, each with a chapter.
One: Parting with Childhood
Two: Joining a New Tribe
Three: Harnessing Emotions
Four: Contending with Adult Authority
Five: Planning for the Future
Six: Entering the Romantic World
Seven: Caring for Herself

After laying out the basics, each chapter ends with a “When to Worry” segment for that topic. While some might read parenting books to guide their way, navigating the treacherous waters their children may be in, yet when we read psychology books we come to understand ourselves, to make sense out of our life (for better or worse), how we got into our present predicament & the lives being lived around us.

Untangled may be a book about teenage girls but it has a great deal to say to anyone in a family. I’m finding it opens vistas upon the future and the past, ways of understanding dynamics that never occurred to me before. It isn’t just for parents of teenagers, and it’s absorbing reading even if you don’t have a teenaged child.

Damour has an effortless prose style.

I’ve obtained Damour’s next book, Under Pressure. It seems that girls growing up in the 21st century are experiencing a kind of epidemic of stress, anxiety & depression. Wow.

I must keep reading.

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