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Raising RAD Girls: How To Empower Teen Girls To Become Resilient, Audacious, And Daring With Sarah Kenny

Empowering teenage girls with confidence and courage is not just about changing their lives, it’s about changing the world for the better. In this episode, we have Sarah Kenny, a certified teen life coach, mentor, and positive role model for adolescent girls. Sarah discusses how to build confidence and self-esteem in teenage girls. She explores the challenges that young women specifically face, which have become more difficult in today’s world of social media. Sarah shares strategies for raising resilient, audacious, and daring (RAD) daughters who are equipped to lead and succeed and how parents can understand the issues impacting their teenage daughters. Tune in and learn how to build confidence in your teenage girls.

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Raising RAD Girls: How To Empower Teen Girls To Become Resilient, Audacious, And Daring With Sarah Kenny

We are going to be talking to Sarah Kenny. She is a Certified Teen Life Coach. We are going to talk about building confidence and self-esteem for these young women at that age. We are also going to talk about some gender-specific challenges that these teen girls have. Also, more importantly, how parents can help and how they can become role models for both young women and young men because we need to be able to change the system collectively.

 

Sarah Kenny is a certified coach, mentor, and positive role model for adolescent girls. She believes empowering girls with confidence and courage will change the world for the better. It is her personal mission to help girls thrive in adolescence and transform into powerful leaders, all while still supporting parents raising RAD girls. RAD stands for Resilient, Audacious, and Daring. She lives in Austin, Texas and has a Master’s degree in Gender Studies. She also has two professional coaching certifications and is an active member of the International Coaching Federation. Stay tuned for my conversation with Sarah.

Before we go into the episode, I wanted to remind you that there is a free quiz you can take on the NoWomanLeftBehind.com website. If you log onto the homepage and scroll down slightly, you are going to see a section that says, “Let’s find out where you are in your career.” If you click on the radio button that is called Take the Quiz, there will be a popup that comes up. It says, “What is the key blocker in your career path?

 

There are three key blockers you may be operating under, and you may not even know it. If you click on Take The Quiz, it is going to be about ten questions. It shouldn’t take you more than three minutes. You are going to be able to get some additional resources by taking the quiz. Go to NoWomanLeftBehind.com to take the free quiz.

Sarah, thank you for being here. You have done a lot of work with the

NWB 52 | RAD Girls
The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt

genders growing up as far as how the opportunities young girls have versus young men. It seems that one of the major things I have noticed for women in the corporate world is the confidence piece. We can talk about confidence until we are blue in the face for women, but it starts when these young women are girls. How do you help girls build their confidence and self-esteem from the time they are young?

 

Rosie, thank you so much for having me. I’m delighted to be here. I started my career in the women’s leadership space, working with women leaders and now I have backtracked to working with teens. The Confidence Gap, we know, is a phenomenal book. If you haven’t read it, there is a version for girls. Part of the issue stems from growing up. Boys are rewarded for confidence, taking big risks, being bold, allowing them to fail, and trying again. Women and girls are socialized from a people-pleasing and perfectionist angle that leaves little room for failure.

 

There is a great quote that is like, “Boys are raised to be confident, and girls are raised to be competent.” We see it in the statistics. Girls get better grades than boys. They graduate from university more quicker than boys. Yet, when they get into the workplace, they are not rewarded for perfect work. The confidence gap is what starts in middle school. That is when we see confidence start to drop off with girls.

The great quote ‘Boys are raised to be confident, and girls are raised to be competent.’ That is what caused the confidence of girls to start dropping off. – Sarah Kenny Click To Tweet

There is a lot going on there. Girls start to go through puberty. Their bodies start to change. There is a lot that comes around objectification. They start to realize they are being viewed sexually by other people. They start to self-objectify. That is when we see confidence start to plummet. They tend to bottom out in ninth grade and, unfortunately, do not get much higher from there. You see it with women in the workplace. It starts young. Where do we start? How do we solve this?

 

That’s the biggest question. We know the confidence gap. There is a saying, “Telling isn’t teaching.” The fact that we talk about it is step number one, to have women become aware so that once they become moms, we don’t keep repeating this over and over. One of my biggest goals is to figure out what the next step is.

 

We need to start encouraging and rewarding girls for progress over perfection. All confidence building comes from having a growth mindset. The fixed mindset is my ability. I’m good or I’m bad at math. There is no room for improvement. A growth mindset means all of my skills and capabilities can be learned and improved with hard work and studying.

We need to start encouraging and rewarding girls for progress over perfection. All confidence building comes from having a growth mindset. – Sarah Kenny Click To Tweet

As this ties into confidence, building confidence is like building muscle if we think of it as strength training. It is a cycle. There is a beautiful diagram. I show it to a lot of girls in the work that I do. If you think of confidence like a circle, we need to take action in order for us to develop proof that we are competent, capable, and resilient, and we can mess up and try again. It has to be a cycle of action.

 

A lot of girls tend to get stuck unless they feel like they are already good or perfect at something. When it comes to the actual action cycle, we need to be encouraging girls that it is not about the outcome because the outcome doesn’t need to be perfect. It is about progress, taking action and learning. Did I like this? Did I not like this? What needs to be tweaked? Even something like trying out for a play, a soccer team, or applying to a school. All of those things are examples of taking action and learning from the outcomes of that. You can continue to learn, grow and develop. Due to perfectionism, we have a lack of an action cycle where girls are not building confidence.

 

I want to go back to the example you said. The fixed mindset is not good at math or I’m good at math.” Whereas the growth mindset, and I want to clarify this piece, is, “I’m not good at math right now, but with hard work, I can become good at math.” That is a distinction we need to make there.

 

One of the most powerful things that women and girls can do, and as your parent, when you are listening to the language that your daughter is using, is adding yet to the end of a sentence. “I’m not good at math yet. I’m not good at tennis yet.” That leaves room for, “When I focus, and dedicate my time, energy, and practice, you start to improve those skills.” The power of yet at the end of the sentence.

One of the most powerful things that women and girls can do is add yet to the end of a sentence. -Sarah Kenny Click To Tweet

You talked a little bit about perfectionism and people-pleasing. That is something so ingrained. I finished doing an eight-part episode negotiation series. It was launched at the beginning of 2023. People pleasing, a lot of times, women don’t negotiate or don’t push back because they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. They don’t want to make someone feel bad. We need to be able to overcome that people-pleasing. What are some recommendations you have done, especially for young women that don’t even want to make a phone call these days?

 

Let me share an example. This became abundantly clear to me right at the start of the pandemic. Everything moved online and it was a mess. Parents were trying to homeschool and work from home. Kids are trying to figure out all these new online learning systems. Teachers are figuring out, like, “How do I set up this portal?” There was a lot of confusion, understandably.

 

What I started noticing when there was this massive shift to online schooling, all students started to get behind in their work. The thing I kept hearing was, “I didn’t even know what my assignments were. I don’t know where to find them.” There was mass confusion as to, like, “I think I have a math quiz later this week, but I don’t even know where to go and how to find it.” This kept coming up in my sessions.

 

The girls I was working with were terrified of emailing their teachers to ask for clarification. I kept on saying, “That is their job. It is their job to teach you and help you. They are getting paid to teach you.” When you unravel that more, what was mind-blowing was what was underneath that. They were so afraid of asking the teacher a question, because they were confused, would be indicating to the teacher or sending the teacher a message they think they are a bad teacher. They didn’t want to hurt their teacher’s feelings by asking a question.

 

I thought you were going to say that the young girl was thinking the teacher was thinking they were not doing a good job or keeping track.

 

I’m sure there was some of that, like the fear of exposing like, “They must think I’m a bad student.” That is definitely a layer as well. In a lot of the sessions for me, it was breaking down and having to explain to them, “Everyone is confused now but this is your teacher’s job.” That comes down to learning how to self-advocate.

 

This is a perfect example. You are in the workplace. You don’t learn how to self-advocate at a young age. You get to the workplace. You are assigned a project. You are too embarrassed to ask questions. You are set up for failure from the second you’re handed a portfolio, paper, or project. There are a few layers, especially for girls, and you already mentioned this.

 

There is also this belief that we are responsible for other people’s feelings. We don’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings. We don’t want to ask for raise. Underneath that is a belief, “Am I deserving of asking for help?” Women and girls are socialized to believe everyone’s needs are more important than their own. We are the caretakers. We put everybody else first. There is this whole other layer of, “It is okay that you have needs.” First of all, now that we acknowledge that we have needs, we are allowed to have them met. We got step two. Step three is developing the skill and confidence to be able to ask for help and to self-advocate.

 

That’s so important. the okay to ask for help is huge, and asking questions. To go back to the confidence peaking, I had read a study that girls’ confidence peaks at age nine, which is even worse than what you had mentioned. When they are in a lecture setting, college-aged girls are two and a half times less likely to ask questions than their male counterparts. It was things going through their head like, “Are they going to think I’m dumb? I don’t want them to think I don’t understand,” when they don’t understand. They focus on themselves and the feeling of not wanting other people to think they are less than.

 

Much of the work that I do with girls is around the fear of judgment, like, “What are the people going to think of me?” This affects all of us. I’m not saying boys don’t experience this too. In that specific instance, there is the fear of judgment but also the fear of being seen as smart. Girls who know the answers to the questions are hesitant to raise their hand because they are like, “I don’t want people to think I’m a smarty pants. I don’t want people to think I’m all that.” It is like this double bind.

 

You said earlier we are raised differently, boys versus girls. I know you have some gender-specific challenges that teens face. The biggest thing I want you to answer is, how can parents help them navigate? When my kids were teenagers, they didn’t want to tell or share anything with me. As a parent, it is so difficult, even if you tell them, “You can tell me anything,” a million times at the end of the day. Now that they are in their twenties, they are like, “Yes, we used to do this.”

 

That is the reason I have a job. The common and natural part of the adolescent process is you can have the closest relationship with your child and a healthy relationship. As part of their growing up, they are becoming independent and creating their own identity, it means physically and emotionally separating from their parent.

NWB 52 | RAD Girls
RAD Girls: The common and natural part of the adolescent process is you can have the closest relationship with your child and a healthy relationship.

 

Even if you are close, they don’t want to tell their parents everything. It is funny because when I do a lot of parent education, they are like, “Even if I say this, they roll their eyes, shut it down, and pretend like they don’t know.” They still hear it. Whether they are responding and acknowledging is a whole other story, but the more you are educating and pushing those messages, they may roll their eyes like, “Yes, mom, I get it. Right,” whatever the response is, the message is coming from somewhere.

 

When it comes to parent education, there are some great things to be doing. One is I’m a firm believer in handing your child resources in a nonchalant way of like, “I came across this article. I heard this podcast. I overheard this conversation at Starbucks the other day.” Whether that is leaving a printout on their bed or being with a Post-It, “I thought this was interesting,” it is providing information from them, but you are not forcing them to read it and do it in front of you. It is more like, “I saw these resources.”

 

There are great websites for teens. I am constantly sending girls to Planned Parenthood‘s website when it comes to how conversations about how to tell your parents you are questioning your gender or right. How to have conversations around safe sex? This is a huge gap in the coaching industry, even in the work I’m doing. You know this from the way that corporations and the way the world is structured.

 

What’s important is we cannot achieve gender parity and gender equality without male allies and without the systems changing. If you are raising a boy, we have a lot of work to do on educating boys about gender dynamics, misogyny, patriarchy, and gender inequity. We could have those conversations all day with girls. That is still not changing the system we are operating.

NWB 52 | RAD Girls
RAD Girls: Gender parity and gender equality can’t be achieved without male allies and without the systems changing.

 

 

I push this in my own home. I have this conversation all the time with friends of mine who have sons and daughters. Make sure you are role modeling in your home the dynamics you want to be seeing. Don’t let your son only sees you cleaning, goes off to college, and never learns how to do laundry and how to make a grocery list. It is both sides.

 

My kids now being in their twenties, you are right. Sometimes, when I have conversations, my daughter is like, “Mom, I hear your voice in my head.” My son folds the towels the way I fold the towels. He cleaned, does the laundry and dishes. When they were growing up, I was a single mom. Every other weekend, when they were with their dad, I would clean. When they were with me on the weekends, the three of us would clean. It would take us 2 or 3 hours to clean our entire house. I would give them their list. They each had their chores. At the end of the evening, we hung up and had movies, and the house was clean.

 

It was always like we were a team. The three of us are going to clean together. My daughter says some of the best memories she has were because we were together. We were doing things and accomplishing things. Interestingly enough, when she became a teenager, her room was never clean. Now that she has her own place, she cleans her place.

 

I do see what you’re saying. When Bobby was in high school, I always made sure to tell him, “You need to respect women. You need to make sure that you treat them with kindness.” I always told my kids, “If I ever catch you bullying someone, you are going to get it because there is no bullying.” You are right. A lot of that comes from the parents, and we have to model it. What are some things you recommend to your friends when they have sons? How do we make them allies? The bigger question is, how do we start changing the system?

 

I wish that were an easy answer. Before I answer that, two things popped into my mind as you shared that tidbit about your children. Two extra tips for parents. The best time to be having conversations in the car. It does not require making eye contact. It is time-bound, like, “Within five minutes, this conversation is over.” They know they can get out of the car.

 

Here is a perfect example. A study came out from the CDC about teen mental health and the alarming statistics we see around anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, and all of that. Parents are deeply alarmed about that, understandably. I saw that as a coach, and I went like, “This is why I’m doing the work that I’m doing.”

 

Your child may not be receptive to having that conversation with you immediately. It has been all over the news. It was on CNBC, Washington Post, New York Times, and was everywhere. Say, “There has been a lot in the news about this study. I’m curious. Do you see this happening with your friends? Do you think a lot of kids at school are lonely?” Make it about other people, not right them. That is an inroad into what is happening in their world without being like, “I’m worried if you are depressed. Tell me how you are doing.” You get the shutdown.

 

The other piece is you mentioned your movie night. Documentaries and movies are a great door to open that conversation. If you haven’t seen the Social Dilemma on Netflix, that is a great example. I made that a movie night in my home. We are watching this together and having a conversation about technology use or addiction to social media. Those are also avenues where maybe you are a little uncomfortable about your kid not wanting the information from you. Those are great ways to be giving the information you want them to have, but where it is not coming down from the parent.

 

If you are raising a boy, the best thing we can do is we need to be talking about the objectification of women, how women are sexualized, how boys talk about girls at school and the way they talk about their bodies. They make awful, crude comments. It may not even be when the girls are around, but it could be the guys being guys and hanging out. Those are opportunities to educate your son to say, “This is how we live in a rape culture. This is why we live in a culture that considers it standard that it is okay to sexually and physically abuse women. This is where that starts.”

NWB 52 | RAD Girls
RAD Girls: Boys need to be educated about the objectification of women.

 

Having conversations about pornography. I know that is horrifying and mortifying for most parents. There are some good podcasts about this. I don’t want to misquote the statistic, but it is safe to say that over half of the twelve-year-olds at this point have seen online pornography. You can only imagine how violent and degrading that is. That is educating how kids are now having sex, how boys are expecting from girls, and how girls are expecting to perform.

 

They are so deeply uncomfortable. These are conversations we have to be having about respecting women and not even being kind but also educating. When they are in a group of their guy friends, they should have the courage to say, “It is not cool that we are talking about Summer like that.” That starts with guys. That needs to be coming down from the husband. Men need to be having these conversations.

 

I think it is beautiful that one of my girlfriends is doing this. She is educating her son about girls’ periods and saying, “The girls you are going to school with are dealing with this. They don’t feel well. They are physically in pain. They are cranky.” All of these things where boys make jokes like, “She must be PMSing because she is a B.” She was like, “No, I’m being serious about educating my son of half the women in your life are dealing with this once a month.”

 

Back to the girls. What are some life skills you think are important for us to develop in girls so they know that there are better ways of them thinking about themselves and acting in the world?

 

This is all part of building self-esteem and building self-confidence but the top two that come to mind is being able to validate yourself. It is internal validation. Social media has made this but put it on steroids. We are constantly seeking external validation to feel good about ourselves. Whether that is praise from your boss or a compliment from a boyfriend, we need to be able to do that for ourselves regardless of all the other noise.

We are constantly seeking external validation to feel good about ourselves. But we need to be able to do that for ourselves regardless of all the other noise. – Sarah Kenny Click To Tweet

We live in a world constantly telling women and girls, “Stay physically small. Do not take up a lot of space, and stay quiet.” Being able to make ourselves feel good without needing to get on Instagram and seeking attention from other people, the ability to self-validate will serve you your entire lifetime. The ability to self-advocate. We talked about this earlier, but being able to say, “I have needs. I need help getting them taken care of,” whether that means saying, for girls, “This is hard.”

 

They are tired after school. They play sports. They are in all these clubs. They legitimately want to stay home on a Friday night. They know it is better for their mind, body, and spirit if they can get some sleep and have a relaxing weekend, but they don’t want to miss out on a party. There is FOMO. All of that is real. Social media makes it worse. They start running themselves into the ground because they are not taking care of themselves.

 

Being able to self-advocate and say, “I would love to go tonight, but I’m going to feel a lot better if I stay in and have a movie night.” Talk about self-care and protecting your boundaries. That ability to say, “This is what I need. I’m going to voice that because I deserve to take care of myself,” everybody needs to learn this skill, especially because girls tend to feel they are not allowed and supposed to do that. That feels challenging.

 

When it comes to the people-pleasing thing, all genders, and it does not matter, from an early age, need to learn we are not responsible for other people’s feelings. The emotional burden that girls take on for how other people feel, I’m not kidding. I have had multiple clients who know they are in relationships and they are unhappy. One of them was emotionally abusive. Know like, “This is not a good relationship for me to be in.”

 

This is in high school. They are afraid to break up with their boyfriend because they don’t want to hurt them. This happens in all of our relationships. You are not responsible for your parents and siblings’ feelings. It is on all of us to manage and regulate our emotions and not constantly feel responsible for how their teacher, boyfriend, and parents are feeling. That is another skill I spend a lot of time working with girls on. All of that ties together because you are not going to self-advocate if you are afraid of hurting your friend’s feelings. It is like, “I don’t want to say no to that party because I don’t want her to feel bad.” They go to the party, and they feel bad.

NWB 52 | RAD Girls
RAD Girls: It is on us to manage our own emotions and not constantly feel responsible for how others are feeling.

 

That is huge because as an adult, especially when you are trying to be in a relationship, the biggest thing is you can’t make people happy. You have to be happy yourself, especially with women. Once you start working on that self-confidence and taking care of yourself, and once you get to a place you are happy with who you are, the biggest thing is loving yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anybody else to love you? Once all those pieces fall into place, that is when you start attracting people. That is hard for a teenager, both male and female, to understand that because it is such a journey. There are adults that still don’t love themselves.

 

You reminded me of one word in there, and this goes for adults even, is learning how to be alone. I don’t mean lonely. I mean alone. Can you spend time with yourself without immediately going on your phone, Netflix, Amazon, or online shopping? It does have to do with social media and technology. Most people, at this point, cannot be alone with ourselves.

 

What ends up happening is we are constantly seeking things outside of ourselves to feel good. I know a lot of girls who don’t know how to be by themselves. They are making decisions. They don’t know how to be alone but know they are tired of going to a party. They go to a party because it feels uncomfortable to stay home by themselves. That is where we get to know, meet, and learn about ourselves.

 

As you get into being an adult, when it comes to the relationship component, there will always be nights when everybody else is busy, someone doesn’t respond to a text message, we are left out, or we are not invited to a wedding. How can we be with ourselves? Much of that is where self-love and self-validation come in. If we don’t even give ourselves the head space to be alone, we never get to meet ourselves.

 

I love that you said, “We never get to meet ourselves.” That is crucial for teenage girls. What I love about the conversation we are having and the work that you do is that awareness is the first step. Telling isn’t teaching, but at least now, we are trying to make these young teenage women aware that these are possibilities they can explore. That makes such a huge difference.

 

When I was in high school, it was ’83 to ’87. There was nothing like this back then. There was no, like, “Where can I get information?” We didn’t even know what self-confidence was at the time. Now, at least, I feel that from all the conversations being had in the world, it’s a beautiful place for women. Many of us are collectively pushing towards the same goal. That is when I think things are going to start changing. I love the work that you do. I want to ask you. You live in Austin and have a Master’s degree in Gender Studies. Tell me a little bit about your story about how you happened to go into Gender Studies and how did you end up doing the work you are doing?

 

Glennon Doyle says, “Follow the flicker.” What are the things, as you were little, that piqued your interest and weirdly obsessed with? Looking back, for me, that was always something feminist. As a child, I was obsessed with the Salem Witch Trials. I have no idea why. I wrote all of my book reports on Joan of Arc. You have all these things as a kid. It is part of my DNA. I was born naturally feminist. I grew up in a household where my parents were progressive and equal in terms of household stuff.

 

It ended up happening. I get to college. At the time, it was called Women’s Studies. A lot has changed between when I was in college and where the Gender Studies field is now. It was one of those things where I took a Women’s Studies course. I was like, “This is it. This is so fascinating.” That was the track that I wanted to be on. It was interesting to me. I’m realizing, “I don’t like the way the world operates. I don’t like the state of affairs right now.” That was the case in the ‘90s, early 2000s, and even more now, unfortunately.

 

As soon as I graduated with my Master’s in Gender Studies, I moved back to DC. That is where I got involved in the women’s leadership space. I was doing a lot around women’s political participation, democracy building, and conflict resolution, but specifically, I focused on training women leaders to become better advocates, whether within grassroots organizations or getting into the political system.

 

That process, as much as I loved it and that work, to this day, holds a special place in my heart, I realized, through that work, I love working at the individual level, the one-on-one, and seeing the transformation. I’m a heart-centered person. It is the actual one-on-one connection versus doing all of this massive policy work where you don’t see the results right away. The mission felt important, but I felt I wasn’t getting satisfaction from the amount of work being put in.

 

I discovered coaching, and I was like, “I want to be a coach. This is it.” I went through a radical transformation as a result of going to my coaching program. One of the first things I thought was, “Why didn’t I have this when I was a kid and a teen?” I was miserable as a teenager. I struggled with crippling perfectionism, people-pleasing, anxiety. I’m trying to get into the best colleges and was a competitive athlete, all of the pressure cooker girls are living in.

 

For me, the gender lens has always been there, and then realizing, “I wish someone had taught me at fourteen about emotional regulation, communicating my needs, and setting boundaries and goals.” That was for me rather than other people. That was the light bulb moment. I was like, “Girls need this badly.” It is desperately the work that I love doing.

 

I am glad you had that transformation because that has led you to coaching. What you said reminded me, and I have to do a shout-out to my niece, Allie. She is getting ready to go to college. She got a result from a college she wanted to go to, and she didn’t get in. She put a social media post saying, “I didn’t get in, but that is okay. I know that I’m secure in what I’m doing.” She wants to go into the arts. She processed that quickly and beautifully. She said, “I don’t need validation from the outside.” I was like, “Thank goodness.”

 

Going back towards the beginning where you were saying, “Parents can leave little articles, send a podcast, or lead by example.” You are right because our young people are listening. They are internalizing the information. Even though they may not want to admit it, they do listen to the conversations you are having. It is crucially important for moms specifically to teach these things to our young daughters, so they are better prepared. You can’t teach someone confidence, but you can show them actions to become more confident. Confidence comes with age.

 

I tell girls this all the time. I will say, “This is the happiest and the healthiest I have ever been. The older you get, you care less.”

 

Oprah was interviewing Marianne Williamson. Marianne Williamson announced her presidency run again. Marianne and Oprah were talking. Oprah was like, “Ladies, if you think you are having fun in your 30s to 40s, wait until your 50s and 60s. When you are in your 50s, you now have money, you know what you want and don’t want, and you don’t sit around waiting for your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner to give you permission to do X, Y, Z. You go and do it. You are confident. Women that are in their ‘80s say whatever they want, and they don’t apologize.”

 

It is such a beautiful evolution of a woman’s growth over her life. We are having these conversations because we want our younger women to know and realize there are options and ways for them to get information. The internet is good and bad depending on how you use it, but there are many resources. The work you are doing is so important.

 

You also bring up such an important point, which is even if that information is not coming from you as a parent, depending on however your relationship is, role models matter. Whether that is hiring a coach, her soccer coach, lacrosse coach, swim coach, or someone who she admires who is older and she looks up to, maybe it is an aunt or cousin, whoever, surrounding her with people.

 

There is a psychology behind this. When you are in your adolescence, there is this limiting belief that life is always going to look this way. What is happening now is how everything is going to look. Even if girls don’t want to hear it from their parents, being reminded, things get better. This is one of the hardest periods of your life. Adolescence is rocky.

 

I heard a therapist say, “It is the hardest time to be a teenager. It is the hardest time to raise a teenager.” We are living in the Wild Wild West of technology, social media, and stuff that feels wildly out of our control. The reminders of, “It gets better. You may not get into your top school, but you will go to a school. You will learn something about yourself. Every person you meet there will be another thread in your life.” Something that has caused a lot of the anxiety that teens feel is there are no dead ends. Everything is a detour. We may think like this is the end of the road. No, we are taking a hard right. We are going to end whether that comes in terms of doing a major career transition. That is at every stage of our life.

 

Sarah, this is one of the best conversations I have had when it comes to young women because your work is critically important. I would like to ask you, do you have two actionable, concrete tips that young women can use to get better at dealing with their lives now?

 

I am a big pusher on this and will be on my soapbox forever. It is important that girls develop mindfulness. All of us, every human, develop more mindfulness. Meditation has changed my life. I am someone who used to experience crippling levels of anxiety. I developed a solid meditation practice throughout the pandemic. I know when I miss a day. When it comes to learning to meet yourself and how to manage stress and anxiety, YouTube has thousands of free videos, and they are for teens and kids. You can search based on, like, “I want one for sleep. I want one before I need to study.” I’m like, “Mindfulness. I will push that as hard as I can.”

 

The other thing I would recommend girls start doing is we need to be giving ourselves compliments every single day. It is called a did well journal. I have one right next to my bed. What did I do well now? At the end of the day, you write down three things you think you did well. It has nothing to do with other people. It could be small. It is like, “I saw a kid at lunch. He looked lonely. I scooched down at the table and created whatever it was. I cleaned up my room without my mom nagging me.” It could be something as simple as, “I washed my face.”

 

I was going to say it could be as simple as, “I took care of my skincare, like taking off the makeup.” I’m good at taking off my makeup all the time, but there is a routine and ritual you go through, but taking off all the chemicals from your face is important. Washing your face is one.

 

“I sat down and studied for a test when I didn’t feel like it.” A way to build confidence is constantly acknowledging the stuff we think we are doing well. Keep it next to your bed. Maybe it is the middle of the day, whatever your system needs to be, but that is how we learn to self-validate.

 

Sarah, tell me a little bit about how young girls can find you because it is important for you to tell them how they can find you.

 

Follow me on Instagram. I post multiple times a week about leadership tips and a lot around stress and anxiety management because those are for me. Whatever I am up to, I am sharing that with other people. Follow me on Instagram, and trust me, I have a lot of feelings about social media and boundaries. It is a tool I’m using to educate people. Find me there. Follow me on Instagram. It is for everybody. Sign up for my newsletter. I have a bimonthly newsletter for parents with tips, tools, articles, and information to be sharing with your daughters and kids.

 

Thank you again so much for the wonderful conversation. Any final words on anything that you want to leave the audience with?

 

You asked this earlier. How do we fix this? It feels so big. There are days when I’m like, “Why are any of us doing this work?” It feels hard and challenging, whether you are in the corporate space, life coaching space or whatever. It starts small and it starts in the home. It could be a small thing that you can do within your house, community or church. If I think every day about changing the world, I almost can’t get out of bed. However, if I think I can have one small impact on a client or do something like this on a podcast, even if that is with your kids at home or your job, start small. It’s one thing a day, and we start there.

 

Sarah, thank you again for being on the show. This was a fantastic conversation.

 

Rosie, thank you so much. It has been fun to be here.

 

Thanks.

Sarah Kenny is an incredible teen life coach. I would highly recommend any parents struggling with your teenagers to reach out to Sarah because it is critically important for us as parents to get through our teens. Sometimes, unfortunately, and I say this from experience, teens don’t want to talk and open up to their parents. If you have a third party, whether it is a counselor, a therapist, or a life coach like Sarah, there is a chance for you to be able to figure out how to help your teen. It is highly recommended for you to contact Sarah. She is on Instagram and LinkedIn. Her website is SarahKennyCoaching.com.

 

Sarah left us with two great tips. Tip number one, she said, “Develop mindfulness skills.” That is important because, as she said, meditation changed her life. Meditation is one of those things that people believe is hard, but it takes practice like anything else. I’m also going to link a website that I use. It is an affiliate link for me, and it is called Positive Prime. That is meditation without meditation. Positive Prime is based on neuroscience. It is a series of beautiful pictures. If you watch them for three minutes a day, it impacts your brain positively for the next 6 to 8 hours. It does the same thing as meditating without having to sit there and try to “clear your mind.”

 

Tip number two, she says, “Do a did well journal.” At the end of the day, have a journal by your bed and write down three things you did well. It could be washing your face, putting a dish in the dishwasher, and doing your homework when you didn’t want to. It is important for us to acknowledge the things that we have done well throughout the day. Those are two great tips that Sarah provided us.

 

It was a great conversation. I am hoping this reaches teens out there in the world. They can realize and understand there are optional things you can do when you feel that stress and anxiety. Things will get better as you get older. For now, mindfulness and journaling are great tips. With that, I want you to remember to be brave, be bold, and take action.

 

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About Sarah Kenny

NWB 52 | RAD GirlsSarah Kenny is a certified coach, mentor, and positive role model for adolescent girls. She believes empowering girls with confidence and courage will change the world for the better, and it’s her personal mission to help girls thrive in adolescence and transform into powerful leaders while also supporting parents in raising RAD (Resilient – Audacious – Daring) girls. Sarah – who lives in Austin, TX – has her Master’s Degree in Gender Studies, two professional coaching certifications, and is an active member of the International Coaching Federation. In her free time, she loves reading, yoga, taking long walks while listening to podcasts, cooking, trying new restaurants, traveling, and watching comedies and British dramas “with a strong female lead.”