Episode 70

Michelle Dolan Teen Girl Coach on the Suburban Warrior Podcast

Suburban Warrior Podcast (Transcription)

Crissy Pyfer: Welcome to Suburban Warrior. The podcast that will impact, inspire, and empower you to transform your mindset and become the badass warrior that you are. I’m your host and fellow warrior, Chrissy Piper. Former clinician and corporate marketing exec turns multi passionate entrepreneur, performance in life coach, and mom to four not so little warriors. Each week, I will bring you honest conversations with inspiring guests to share their stories of resilience, optimism, success and simple yet effective strategies so that you transform your thoughts and change your behavior to get the results you want in your life.

You will be empowered to take action, worry up, and believe in you. Let’s do this.

Crissy Pyfer: What’s up warriors? Welcome back to another episode. Of the Suburban for your podcast. I am your host, Chrissy Piper, and I have another amazing Suburban Warrior to share her story and expertise with us today. And guys, this is a super special episode because it is the last episode of season three.

Wahoo! But don’t worry if you are sad that you’re gonna not hear some new episodes. Just, guys, you know you miss them. So just go back and check out some of the other amazing episodes that I have from seasons one, two, and season three because even I go back and listen to them and miss things that these amazing experts and super urban warriors have shared with us. So I’m super excited about today’s guests because I think it’s topic today.

That we’re going to discuss, which is really mental health in teens, is super important for the times that we are living in today. I mean, it has been parenting is not an easy job ever, but I just feel like it has been really difficult to parent through these times. And I feel like teenagers really have been affected by the pandemic and the changes caused by the pandemic the most. So my expert today is Michelle Dolan. She’s a certified life coach for teen girls and young women based in women’s in North Carolina.

Starting her practice in twenty twelve in Nashville, Tennessee. She helps teen girls manage stress, sore through life’s complications, have realized their strengths value and potential in the process. Michelle is not only passionate about empowering teen girls to awaken their own greatness. She also cooks parents and volunteers with tools and strategies to increase their level of connection with their teen girls, I mean, their yet teen girls during the ups and downs of adolescence. The shell is available for one on one coaching session and also enjoys facilitating workshops and speaking on an array of issues affecting girls and their parents today.

She has worked with adolescents for over nineteen years in churches, youth camps and schools both nationally and internationally. Welcome to the podcast Michelle.

Michelle Dolan: Oh, thank you for having me. I’m so glad to be here.

Crissy Pyfer: I am so glad to have you here as well because I mean, we need this expert advice that you’re gonna start dishing out for us on this episode.

I mean, I, you know, like I said, I have I have four kids. One is technically not a teenage or anymore twenty one. Then I have a sixteen, seventeen, and thirteen year old, almost fourteen. And, you know, two girl three girls in a boy. And I can just say, you know, I’m in that teenage world.

So I hear from them about friends who are struggling. I feel I hear from parents, about their kids that are struggling. It’s been I I mean, I feel like it’s like an epidemic proportion we obviously know suicide in teens is on the rise. And it’s just we we just need to start getting we we can’t get ahead of it. Like right now.

So we need to start really bringing in the conversation, talking about it with our kids, talking about it with each other. And it has to start being top of mind. So as a coach, I’m super excited to have you on as a coach who specializes in teens. So let’s get right into it. Let’s I would love to hear about your experience working with teens.

I know you started in 2012. What have you seen or have you seen, I guess, is the question a change in teens pre versus post pandemic.

Michelle Dolan: Oh, sure. You know, pre pandemic, it was what you would expect that teens would be facing. I mean, obviously, complicated friendship issues. Definitely, the online piece and interaction with social media, and even even just the idea of the amount that children consume. And if we think about this, you know, girls will tend to try to relax and I say that in air quotes by just binging like a show for eight hours.

And it’s just this consuming all the time and we don’t even realize all the levels of influence that the things that we listen to and watch just influence. And so they’re just online so much. And you know, it definitely the amount of time girls spend online has increased exponentially since the pandemic because it seemed as if, you know, none of us knew what to do. We were just like —

Crissy Pyfer: Right.

Michelle Dolan: Survival mode. And so girls became more reliant on, you know, FaceTiming their friends or getting online and getting these online chat rooms on, you know, the video game apps and and things. And it just became unhealthy And what I found is that what I’ve really heard and even now, I mean, this past two years has just been so busy for my practice. And I’m sad to say it’s because kids are hurting. They can’t handle everything that they see online.

They can’t handle all of that TikTok. They can’t handle the pressure. Of the phone dinging or not dinging or or alerting them that they’re being contacted about something or not. And so what happened is there was this unhealthy dependence that happened. And none of us could have I mean, how do you know?

We’re just taking it day by day. All the kids that I’ve talked to, the teens and even college students. I was like, hey, tell me about your code experience. We’re like, well, one day we were at school and they said, well, you’re just going to go home for two weeks and you’re like, yeah. And then literally, it never ended.

And then, you know, I’ve talked to girls that lost their senior year walking across the stage and lost homecoming experiences and really just needed the space to process, you know, what was taken from them. But then now it’s like, how do they come out of that? Most kids that I’ve talked to, the social muscles. So I I really wanna encourage parents. If your children are struggling with social skills.

It is a skill, and it’s just like when you go work out. You know, if you keep working on a muscle, it’s point you’re going to gain strength, you’re going to feel better, but there is that pinchy point where you have that soreness. And even in this generation today, if it feels hard kids want to run the other way. And what I try to encourage them is that everything you want, everything you desire is just past some temporary discomfort. And so what’s happening is I’m spending a lot of time helping teens regain their confidence and social skills.

Not to mention that when they consume, consume, consume, consume. Let’s talk about the filters. They are cute. I mean, I get asked. You’re your friend.
You’re like, whoa. I mean, wow. But if you just scroll through things and you are not critically thinking, You’re thinking, wow, that girl never has a zit. She never has a bad hair day, and it’s like, man, that’s just a filter, guys. But it’s the world they live in.

So even just trying to build up their sense of what makes them valuable and special? Like, I’ve had girls that literally kept wearing a mask when it was, like, when you didn’t have to anymore because they were afraid to show their face. They continued onward. And I would just say that that was probably one of the most damaging pieces of the pandemic is that in order to, you know, help our kids stay, quote, connected, unquote, They had to be online. They had to do these video things.

But then it made it where kids’ worlds became too small. And I would say ours did too. And when your world becomes that small where you’re just looking down at a device all the time. Guess what? You are sad.

You are miserable. And so but breaking out of that really takes courage and I always encourage parents if your daughter’s just willing to just show up. Open to try anything. I always focus actually on microsteps. I feel like the world sells you, oh, do these big sweeping things, and it’s just gonna work, and it’s gonna be easy now like, liars.

Such liars, it’s not easy.

Crissy Pyfer: So hard.

Michelle Dolan: Having you’ve got to fight for and, you know, your teams are worth fighting for Sometimes it means and honestly, I’m it’s like a monologue because this is just so on my heart. I mean, I feel like I feel that Week. Countless parents this week. Their teams have an unhealthy codependence on their phones. Yeah.

So what happens is the phone becomes the precious. And when parents have it in their heart, they want to pull back and restructure, rest strategize how the phone is being used. In the house. And then the teens just go crazy, and they feel like it’s punishment. But again, what I what I wanna encourage you is a parent.

You must go with your gut. It is okay for you to lead and guide your team. That is your job. If she’s fourteen, and she’s telling you absolutely not. You are not gonna take my phone mom at night.

Yeah. Yeah. The thing is the girl needs to sleep. She’s one of the core pieces of her being happy the next day and ready to face the things that she’s going to face is just even having that rest going on a bike ride, talking to someone face to face. But those are the things that they’re going to resist because they’re so used to operating the way they’ve been operating.

But again, if parents, it it really takes, you know, fortitude. You’ve got to decide, you have to put your helmet on mom. You gotta just you parents have to put your helmet on and you have to gear up and you have to realize that these moves that you’re gonna make that are gonna make your team unhappy temporarily. Remember that temporary discomfort. In the end, there’s gonna be an enormous payoff.

Crissy Pyfer: Okay. So The

Michelle Dolan: next one.

Crissy Pyfer: Yes. No. So let’s talk about that for a second. So because I’m I mean, I totally agree. I I mean, I think that we’re all guilty of having our phones in our hands basically every waking hour.

I mean, you know, it it’s just it’s such I think it the pandemic made it worse because we were home. And so that our connection with people was through the phone. But I know having teenagers, when they are on it, it is so frustrating, but they’re on it all the time. But you know, they’re talking to people, they’re FaceTiming, they’re Snapchatting, they’re chatting, and when they’re not, then they’re on social media. And, you know, the whole TikTok filter thing or filters in general.

I think it’s amazing. Like, I I would never know when I’m on TikTok. That that person has a filter on it unless it’s a TikTok where they’re showing, like, oh my god. Look at how different I look with and within this filter. And it’s unbelievable.

So it’s so ridiculous. This crazy world that we’re living in where everything looks perfect and it’s not reality. It shouldn’t be called social media. It should be called an alternate universe because it’s not reality. Right?

It’s going that way. It it is. So but this is what’s happening. And I know it’s happening in every house. It’s happening in my house with these teens.
So there’s obviously a level of healthy and a level of unhealthy. I know you I get it put your helmet on. You’re a parent. But how do you balance that? Because I also have, like, a junior in high school who she’s gonna be going off to college in the year.

She’s gonna do whatever the heck she wants. And I have a twenty one year old that does whatever she wants. It doesn’t mean, you know, so how do you help them form these healthy habits that give them a balance of a need to stay connected to my friends. This is what we do. This is our generation versus you need to get off of the phone, give your brain a break, stop with the blue light, and, you know, give yourself a quote unquote time out from the phone.
Any strategies for helping them understand. It’s not a punishment. It’s for your benefit. What do you say? What do you do?

Michelle Dolan: Right. Okay. Well, This is great because you are at the perfect crossroads to implement some new strategies in your home as you’re going into summer. You can call it a summer schedule.

Crissy Pyfer: Yeah.

Michelle Dolan: And all you’re trying to do is implement balance. Exemplify balance. And, honestly, I so I have a six year old and a seven year old going on, angsty seventeen year old attitude. I mean, wow. He is something, but it really helps he actually really helps me think so much about what I do and actually I mean, as parents, we we’re made to parent.

We I mean, it’s in us. And I actually always tell teams I was like, guys. Because they’ll complain. They’ll say my mom said, I can’t do this or what? And I was like, oh, wow.

Okay. Well, what are your thoughts about that? And I always say, you know, parents, parents. You know, their job is to help you and guide you, and sometimes they’re gonna make calls that you’re just gonna be like, what? But a lot of times you just need to trust your parents’ heart that they love you and they would never do anything to hurt you.

They’re trying to equip you. So in terms of equipping, like the opportunity this summer. What you can do is create balance, like having some structure. Right? So I personally, for me and my home, when I am with my children, I really try to have my phone in my back.

Okay? And so that way, I’m not always because if it’s there and you hear you’re like, oh, a friend.

Crissy Pyfer: Yeah.

Michelle Dolan: Oh, my Instacart order, you know? Or or what? I mean, we work. It’s so much in in our life. So that’s fine.

But there’s got to be balanced. So how do you remain present as a parent? So I would just say first, exemplify things, have some non device time, show them how great it feels to do that. Also, just, you know, especially in the summer, I would encourage you, you know, teens today when you Thrust them, most of them when you’re thrusting them into situations that require risk, even if it’s the best risk. They’re just like, oh, I don’t know anybody.
I don’t know. Yeah. Oh, but wait. The greatest thing happened when when you don’t know anybody. When you go and you just show up, you realize what you bring.

To friendships because we talk about, like, their strengths and their values and their talents and interests and anything they go to, they bring value. So if they know what they bring to the table, they can go in any situation. But there’s so much pushback. Oh, mom, don’t sum me up for that. I don’t have friends in that.

As a parent, if you see things that will enrich their life and and really force them to exercise those muscles, you will be preparing them for what’s to come, like when you’re saying, when you’re twenty one. I coached college students as well. And, you know, those whose parents really, like, immersed them in, you know, multiple activities, I would say, volunteering is so huge, by the way. Anybody volunteering that your child is interested in, go for it, setting way to camps, learning new things. In terms of summer and having, like, a plan of implementing something, I would say, as a parent, go through, get on the Google guys, get on the Google, look at what’s going on in your city this summer.

You probably already done this to some extent. And I would actually go ahead and make a list of super fun options for your teenager to be involved in. Different kinds of things. Okay? And it could be something from like going to yoga outside.

It could be you know, volunteering at a pet shelter if they love pets, pet adoptions. They could be doing all these different things. And then what you do is you present it like, okay. So for summer, we’re gonna try to just really stretch ourselves and not get into the habit like most people equate equate rest with just laying around, lying around the couch and watching the tube. Guys, we can do better.

There’s different kinds of rest. You could actually lay outside and sun and listen to the birds and take in that vitamin d and, like, have space. We just don’t have space in our lives anymore. But what you can do is like have your children elect to do certain things, and they just need to do these things. Have involvement of how they help out around the house.

It does give me any prepares and look. If your team does not know how to wash your clothes, they’re gonna be in trouble in college. Okay? Or, you know, it’s great to teach them how to fry an egg or, you know, take care of themselves, like get them involved. And then also, you know, be intentional about you know, the time that you spend connecting.

I’m gonna segue into, you know, there’s always hot button issues because we’re all gonna be together this summer. Right? You’re like, oh, gosh. You’re out. We’re all gonna be home.

And we always have hot button issues with their children. Like, you just say one word and be like, you know, and it’s just over. It’s like total disconnect. Right. And so something that I actually really encourage parents about, I call it pacing, your parenting, and you can try this this summer.

And, you know, when your kids are becoming teenagers, your relationship is going to shift. I feel like no one prepares us for this. You know, from the time they were born, all you did was solve problems. We look, mom, guys. We are such great problem solvers.

We can just handle it. That’s what we’re made to do. We do it from the beginning when they’re born. But then when they become teenagers, what we’re trying to do is equip them and draw out their problem solving skills. You know, like you’re coming alongside as a trusted guide, And what you’re trying to do is draw them out.

So it’s not always, you know, when they come to you and say, mom, you just wouldn’t believe what happened with this friend at school today and blah blah blah and she’s talking about this. So it’s easy to just tell them, you know, the answer what you believe is the best path. But just an exercise in terms of, you know, pacing that advice is maybe for the first two times to be like, wow, totally hear you. I mean, that is hard. So, I mean, what do you think is the best move?

And give them space. And if they don’t know, say, well, why don’t you just take some time to think about it? And let’s circle back. And, you know, maybe wait a couple times before you give answers. Or if you have hot button issues, whether they’re keeping up with their responsibilities or their schools.

Make sure that in between those parenting moments where you’re holding them accountable, which course, you should. You’re their mom or dad. You should hold them accountable. But in between that, make sure you have some total connection moments. Where you’re just going out and taking a walk together, doing things you love to do, and just create the space to hold space as a mom.

Nobody taught me how to do that. It was only if you’re coaching where I learned the value of literally holding space is literally doing that. You don’t have to think the next answer. You’re literally so present with her. And you’re listening and you’re validating.

And that is so powerful because if she goes to school and her friends go, well, you shouldn’t tell your mom about that, you know, in her mind she’d be like, no. I can tell my mom anything because she listens to me. Yeah. And if I disagree with her, she’s totally with me. So yeah.

So in terms of summer, summer schedule, kind of like electives where they can pick things, but they have to pick things. They must participate in life. They cannot just check out and not do anything and just veg oil summer because that just creates misery. And there’s no growth in that and were made to grow. Were made to take risk.

We’re happiest. I mean, it’s the truth. It’s the reason why I’m seeing so much misery across the board in teen girls is because, again, going back to. Their world got as small as that phone. And they had this perceived control, like, oh, I can just control everything.

I don’t have to risk. If I wear this mask, people don’t see my face. I don’t have to smile. If I stay in my room, I don’t have to engage with my family. Or I don’t have to go to these things.

They must go. It’s not that they have to they must for their development and to become healthier as teens and and to increase their mental health.

They’ve got to do these things that they’re afraid of. But mom, you weren’t afraid, you can do it, you walk with them through it, and you champion, that inside of them, they have what it takes to face whatever comes their way, and they’re never alone.

Crissy Pyfer: That that’s amazing advice and I I couldn’t agree more. I think the more that, you know, we were isolated, the harder it was for everybody, adults and teenagers to interact and be out socially. It was just all of a sudden it started to feel weird when you were out. So the only way to stretch or to build that muscle is to do it. It’s to just do it and not overthink it.

So here’s a question for for parents that might be listening right now that might have a team that is struggling, you know, with their mental health. And, you know, there’s there’s a huge spectrum on that. Right? So it could just be slightly struggling to extremely struggling. But for a lot of parents, maybe don’t even know how much their their kids are struggling.

They just might see, maybe they’re not themselves, maybe they’re upset sometimes or their personalities slightly different. What are some questions that you could ask your team that could help to start a conversation? With them that might help them to either open up to tell you how they’re feeling or help a parent who, you know, isn’t a coach. Understand how do I get into this conversation with my teams? Because to your point, the healthy relationship is when there’s listening.

Right? When there’s you know, you’re open it’s open relationship. There’s conversation back and forth all the time. You’re listening they don’t feel judged. They don’t feel like they’re getting in trouble all the time.

You know, that kind of thing. But how how do you start to form that relationship? And what quest what are some opening questions that could be asked to start a conversation?

Michelle Dolan: Right. You know, kids always need reassurance. Our teams and even college age students. They just need reassurance. Because, again, remember all the influence from the outside, you know, that is coming to their minds and hearts that can create doubt.

And so you know, you might believe that you’ve said it enough to your team already that they should know, but they need to be reminded all the time. Meaning, so, you know, as I mentioned before, holding space. So first, you know, as a parent, if you have a teenager and they’re getting into those dicey times where you feel like they’re kinda not sharing as much with you, you do create the holding space. That that space to just listen, right, and not give an answer every time. So I would just say that as a first strategy, start listening to your team.

Actually, let there be space. It is kind of cute because every parent that I’ve ever talked to is like, I just knew what’s going on, Michelle. Like, she comes home from school, and I’m like, how was your day? And you’re like, mom, stop interrogating me.

Crissy Pyfer: Yeah. You know what I mean? I think that You know, what’s funny though is as an adult? Like, I think that everybody sort of hates that question. They do.

It’s so generic. Right enough. Even when, like, my kids sometimes as sweet as it is, hey, mom, how was your day? I’m like, yeah, my day was great, but it’s generic. Like, you know, they they don’t really wanna know how my day was.

They wanna know what did you do, what was fun. You know, who did you talk to? Like, Yes. You know, and and so I kinda get why that question sets teams off because it’s like a hot button question. I think it’s like, well, how do you want me to ask?

I just had an entire day. What do you mean? What did I do? Or how was it? It was freaking great.

You know? So I I do as a parent, I hate that question. In our midst. I get it.

Michelle Dolan: Right. It actually doesn’t answer anything. Like, even if you said great, that literally is so big and you’re not really getting an understanding of what their day was like. So, I mean, you just touched on it. You can ask specific questions.

Crissy Pyfer: Yeah.

Michelle Dolan: I mean, you do have to fill your team out. Most teams after they’ve been at school all day. It’s just like us, if you’ve been, you

Crissy Pyfer: know, wanna talk about

Michelle Dolan: We’re exhausted. And you just need a little bit of time to regroup, so maybe give them some space. You know, look at these space. Show them that space. Just hold the space and they might start talking.

If I even even though my son is young, if I say, right when he gets in the car, I was like, oh, I’ve missed you. How was your day? He’s like, oh, I just don’t remember. But if I don’t talk and I just found some chill music, he just starts talking. Yeah

I’m like, oh, wow. That is just so cool.

Crissy Pyfer: You know, do so it’s amazing.

Michelle Dolan: Stop talking as a parent for a little bit and listen. Okay? But then I would just say, you know, as you create that space to listen to them more, validate them more, give them that sense that then at some point and then you have to keep checking in and doing this. You say, hey, I know what it’s like. I know there’s a lot that you see in here and that you know.

But I don’t even know, you know. And I just want you to know. That I love you beyond everything. And I’m here for you. And there’s nothing that you will ever go through, that you have to go through alone.

I know that you might think that I might judge you, but I’m not gonna judge you. I love you. And please know that you can always come to me and that this is always a safe space for you to talk about all the things because I know it’s all on your mind. And, you know, that may sound redundant to state over and over again, but you have to keep reassuring. You just have to keep in there’s an open invitation with parents.

But like you said, as parents, we are so busy. We’re looking at our phones. I don’t I think it’s you have to be super intentional. To create those moments. Right?

Where you’re not distracted and where you can really be present. Right? Okay. And then And then the next piece would be, after you’ve started implementing, creating that space, listening, you’re going to see something happen. You’re gonna see them talking more.

And then, honestly, at that point, it’s not now some kids, some teens will reach out and say, Mom, I think I just need to talk to somebody. Now, if your child is complaining of depression, they can’t get out of bed. You know, they’re so sad all the time. If they’re saying that they’ve thought of hurting themselves or any of those, you need to take that seriously. Yeah.

And that is the moment to start looking for therapeutic support. So really great life coaching and therapy definitely overlap at times. But when I hear those signs, it must there must be therapy first. Or in addition to. It’s great to have coaching, you know, because coaching is forward thinking.

But if there are past hurts in deep wounds, and just these cyclical thinking that keeps them weighed down, they need a therapist. They need a great trusted counselor. And so, you know, as a parent, as you’re approaching teen years, just be open to having help and encourage your teams that, you know, I’ve actually heard a lot of teams tell their parents like, well, I don’t want a therapist. I don’t even want a life coach. There’s nothing wrong with me.

I don’t need to be fixed. Okay. It’s like, guys, what happened to just having people on your team? Right. You know, most successful people in life.
If you ask them, if you interview all the most successful people, guess what? They have a team that supports them. Therapeutic, coaches, doctors for their health, like everything. Right. They’re always having people point to them.

You know, part of really being successful in life is knowing how to choose the right people for to be on your team. And so, you know, maybe just helping them know that, hey, that it’s not about being fixed, but everybody needs someone on their side at times. I love counseling. I have so much respect for it. There were times in my life.

I needed so much help. And when I went, I mean, that healing I I kind of describe it as if you want describe it to your team like what therapy is like, it’s like, when all of our emotions, when we’re at that lowest point and we just can’t dig out. And we need professional help. It’s like you’re in a file room and there’s just papers everywhere. It’s like someone blew up all the files of your heart.

All of your emotions never you just blown up and you’re literally sitting in this mess and you look around and you’re like, I just don’t know where to start or how to put this all back together. Well, a really trusted counselor helps you figure out, okay, well, where does everything go? And how can we file this away appropriately so it doesn’t have however were you to hold you down anymore? So parents, if your children need a counselor, get them a counselor. And also, they’ll be discouraged if the first one you try It’s not the greatest.

She’s telling me, hey, it takes some time to find someone who’s a fit. There’s no shame. I’m never offended. If I’m not the right fit, you have to find the right fit for your child. Now, if it’s more like the self esteem piece, there are levels of anxiety where there’s diagnosing where, of course, you know, therapy is definitely you know, in in in in line to to be done.

But there are practical ways of disarming fear. That’s why I call it, dismantle and disarm it. And Teams can find their power over their emotions. Look, feelings lie. If I can say that, guys, feelings lie.

You cannot always trust your feelings. You always have to hold the truth up and you have to verify, like, wait, is this true? If I wake up and say, man, and I do this as a teenager, I’m fat and ugly. And nobody likes me. That’s how I felt.

Right? But is that really the truth about me? No. I was cool. I had your capabilities.

I was really funny. I love people. But because all these kids like homie names and I just had no sense of self esteem, I just had a perceived sense of deficit, so I made lame sauce decisions. Okay? Totally lame.

And it’s because I perceived that I had this deficit. Well, you know, when I kinda awakened to the gifts that I had, like, everything changed. I got to see how, like, I brought value to everything I came to, and you know, if I have the emotion or if I’m having a you know, an emotional moment, I’m like, oh, man, this this is I just don’t add up or whatever. It’s like, wait a minute. This is just a low moment, guys.

Let’s just see this feeling right back out the door because that is not the truth. I’m gonna take a bike ride and regroup. Take some time and regroup. So anyhow, you know, coaching does focus more on, like, now, where are you? Who do you wanna become?

It’s so fun. It’s positive. Teams always get on their first session. And first of all, they’re afraid because they’re thinking, like, who’s the old head? My mom hired for me.

They think I’m, like, I’m the technical lady, that mom hired. And then I got I still had bangs. I still look like a middle school. Nobody knows how old I am, and that’s totally fine with me. Barry lights in the background, and I wear big earrings.

We’re going to have fun. Like, this is fun. And and as you know, being a coach, coaching sessions literally fly by. And like the sixty minutes is over and they’re like, what? It’s over?

I was like, yeah. You totally survived. They’re like Yeah. And I was like, was it what you thought? She’s they’re like, no.

It’s so much better. It’s so fun. And and so that’s beauty. So Obviously, if you’re seeing signs for therapeutic support, you need to address that first. But if you’re if it’s self esteem, if it’s navigating, oh my gosh, the friendship situations we’ve had to navigate, like, the strategy, like, army ranger guys.

You’ve gotta just, like, you gotta really think hard and get in there. And figure out, like, you know, positioning. How do you deal with these things? That’s coaching, you know, future. Don’t be afraid of the future.

You’re going to show up to the future. It’s going to unfold, and it’s going to be so great because you’re going to show up. You don’t have to have all the answers. I know I’m just, like, talking about everything, but,

Crissy Pyfer: no, I love it because there’s I mean, I that’s that’s the whole thing. There’s just so much to talk about because — Right.

Crissy Pyfer: I mean, it it is there’s there’s so many that’s why the coaching sessions fly by because there’s so much to talk about and there’s so many strategies and so many ways to get these teenagers the help that they need. And Quite honestly, I feel like so much of what they’re dealing with. I mean, listen, they’re they are age old issues. They they’re not things that we didn’t deal with as as teens. No.

No. I just feel like they’re heightened in today’s environment because of the expectations. Right? The expectations of there’s higher expectations on these kids, their expectation of perfection in every way, the expectations that social media puts on them. And I I loved what you said about feelings lie.

Right? And about a perceived sense of a deficit. Because I think those two things really highlight a major issues. Right? That teams don’t understand that their thoughts affect their emotions.

Right? So their thoughts are thoughts that It’s negative self talk. It’s thoughts that are in their head. It’s things that most of the time that they’re that are not real. They’re their own thoughts that we all have.

We all do it, but teens do it a lot. Right? That then they’re creating these emotions that could be anger and sadness or depression or frustration or anything in the moment. And it’s a complete lie. Like, if it’s like a they took one little thing that someone said and next thing, you know, they have an entire situation that is completely not even true.

Right? So it’s it’s helping them understand how to really sort through those thoughts. And and harness those emotions so that they’re not spiraling downward and thinking that they’re the only ones and that they’re alone and all of these terrible emotions that these teenagers are feeling. And to your point, they’re not even you know, it’s not that just therapy. It’s really normal everyday things that if they start to learn these strategies now in life, they’re not going to be twenty five and thirty year olds that are still experiencing the same thing.

Because, yes, we all do it as adults, the same thing. So I love that. I love that, you know, really to focus on looking at the truth. And, you know, understanding that that feeling’s lie. I think it’s, like, such so important.

Okay. So one last piece of advice. If there was one piece of advice that you could give to parents of teens, I know there’s, like, so many. I know because it’s, like, it there’s so much to talk about. But as we wrap up, if there’s one thing that you could say to parents of teenagers besides what you’ve already said, which is amazing and letting them know they are loved and that they’re not alone and all those wonderful things of holding space.
What if what else? One more hot topic, hot tip you can give us. You know,

Michelle Dolan: the thing that just really is on my heart right now to say is, like, as a parent, you know, trust your gut. There’s no one like you. You are made for this moment. There is a war on our kids. I hate to say it, but, you know, just all they’re just so bombarded all the time.

There’s so much that has access to them Right? I mean, difficulty. Look, that phone is literally computer. And as much as they have access to the world, the world has access to their mind and their their hearts and their you can just assume that there’s things that they’re struggling with. They need you to trust your gut and make those tough moves as a parent out of love And and so, you know, don’t hold back.

Get get in that trench and and just keep fighting for your team. Don’t give up. Don’t think it’s not hopeless. Look. If they are willing to show up, it’s possible.

If you were willing to make those hard moves that you know need to happen in your family, that you know need to happen for them. And I know, like, the backlash, you know, when they’re upset with you is so hard but they need you. I mean, this is the time you’ve got to just be the strength and and, you know, walk with walk them through that our kids need us to recalibrate after the pandemic. Yeah. I mean, pandemic was kind of like a runaway train in so many ways.

And I know we talked focused on that quite a bit in this call, but But now, the need is to recalibrate, sit sit down, and think, you know, what would I love my household to look and feel like? Yeah. How do I wanna

Crissy Pyfer: create it and then create it?

Michelle Dolan: Right. And then create it and, like, what kind of mom do I wanna be look after a long day of like fighting fires as a as a mom and if you work and you’re doing all the things and you’ve got all these plates spinning and then you’re your team needs you or needs something, you just like, ugh. And I don’t wanna feel like that. I wanna have an abundance. So mom, dad, what do you need to do to recharge your heart, take care of yourself.

Do you need therapy on your side? Do you need a coach on your side? Give the help that you need to navigate these things. And I would just say that right now in the world, if parents recalibrated, that would help all of the teenagers immensely. But just want to know that there’s going to be pushback, but just be ready for it, expect it.

But they need you to be strong in this time. And one of my actually one of my favorite pieces. I love all the parents. I’m like, guys, let’s all be best friends. It’s so much fun for these parents.

I hear how much they love their teens. And I know how hard it is and, you know, I’m on the outside. I guess that’s the beautiful part. When you have someone that’s just kind of on the outside of your normal sphere and here’s your patterns and your triggers. It’s so great because, you know, I might have something, you see something, you can’t see because you’re just so in it. Right?

Crissy Pyfer: Yeah. Of course.

Michelle Dolan: People to encourage parents is one of the greatest honors to be because really in terms of team life coaching, you know, I really care about that family. And and everyone being successful, you know. I always feel they towards their parents. Not a way. Right.

Of course. Well, keep pressing in. You know, keep asking questions. It’s okay if you disagree, but gosh, I know your I’m guessing that your parent would do anything for you. You know, isn’t that the truth that they love you to the core and, you know, the teenagers of me like, yeah.

So are they really trying to ruin your life? No. Okay. So is there a way to trust them? Is there a way to push into this?

So yeah. Get help. Don’t love it. Make the tough calls. You are this is the moment.

We’ve got the right way after this pandemic. We’ve got to, like, get get things back. The not the way they were, But there’s a new reality now. And, you know, you were saying, I just wanna touch on this. You know, even the expectations that teenagers have on one another, has been tough.

I noticed, like, friendship issues because now everyone has access to one another. And they have expectations like, Well, if she didn’t answer my text in two seconds

Michelle Dolan: Yeah. — and not being a good friend, I’m like, guys. Do you know what co dependency is? Right. We don’t want to be co dependent.
So, you know, again, look and assess your household. Look at your children, you know, through your loving heart and eyes, and look and think, you know, what are they struggling with? What can I do to equip them? What can we change up that will help them, you know, grow through this? What echo chambers?

Are they stuck in? How can we create, you know, new playlist? That’s what I like to like in it to, like, change your playlist. Like, if you’re in this echo tent like, snap out of it and, like, start listening to something new because as you said, if you’re thinking changed, like when I realized what I carried in my heart, my whole life changed. When I when I because then I don’t care if those people don’t like me because it’s like, oh, well, I guess it’s gonna be your loss.

Not mine. You know, if that job doesn’t hire me, Well, I mean, too bad for them, guys. You know, something is out there for me. I bring value. And it’s not cocky.

It’s just good to have a healthy understanding. Your team needs a healthy understanding of what they bring so they don’t sell themselves short in relationships, their future, you know, you can do something now. There are things you can do now to equip them and help changes. This is exactly why I became a life coach. Because that teenager that I was, I had great parents, I had all the, like, support you, think, oh, Michelle will turn out to be great.

But I had a secret struggle with self esteem and I thought I was horrible inside. And I needed someone outside of my life to be as safe, judgment free space so I could share my heart and all the things I was going through and just help me to sort through it. Look, I don’t give teens all the answers I help them sort through and find their answer that they can stand on, but they’re not just gonna take the advice of their friends that have just as little of life experiences they do, they have someone on their side.

Crissy Pyfer: Yeah.

Michelle Dolan: No problem. So so important. Yeah.

Crissy Pyfer: It’s so important. And The work that you’re doing is so great. And thank you so much for sharing all of your expertise and advice with us today. And Thank you for sharing your gifts and doing what you do. And, you know, I am grateful that you showed up today, and thank you for being honest and vulnerable and, you know, really just sharing all of your expert advice.

So where can people find you? Are you on Instagram?

Michelle Dolan: Okay. So I am and it’s marked private right now, but that’s going to change tomorrow, guys. So go ahead and frame me up. It’s @teengirlcoach. Okay.

At teen girl coach. And then my website is just teengirlcoach.com. That’s how

Crissy Pyfer: you can find me. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Michelle Dolan: Feel free to reach out.

Crissy Pyfer: Awesome. Michelle, thank you so much for being here with us today. This is such an important topic. I’m so glad we got to discuss it. And guys, I wanna thank all my listeners for being with me here through season three of Suburban Warrior.

Like I said, go back, check out past episodes, comment, tell us what you love. And don’t you, Barry, we will be back next season with season four and another slew of suburban warriors here to share their expert advice and stories with you. And so then have an amazing summer and good luck with all your teens. And I can’t wait to see you again. Talk to you soon.

Michelle Dolan

Michelle Dolan is a Certified Life Coach for Teen Girls and Young Women based in Wilmington, North Carolina. She helps teen girls manage stresses, sort through life’s complications and realize their strengths, value and potential in the process. Michelle passionately empowers teen girls to awaken to their own greatness. She also equips parents and volunteers with tools and strategies to increase their level of connection with their teen girls.

Schedule Free Inquiry Call with Michelle