Forum Helps Parents Understand Their Teens' Intense Emotional Lives

CHD sponsored the Springfield Public Forum’s Speaking Event, “The Emotional Lives of Teenagers,” with Dr. Lisa Damour on October 2. Damour is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, co-hosts the Ask Lisa podcast, and is also a regular contributor to The New York Times and CBS News. 


Dr. Jalil Johnson, SVP of Medical Services at CHD (also pictured), facilitated the Q&A portion of the program. Over 200 people logged in online to hear Damour share insight into such topics as social media, coping skills, emotional regulation, and when to worry about your child’s emotions. 


Damour shared that the role of a caring adult in a child’s life is to be a steady presence. She stressed that if you’re worried about your child’s safety to ask them directly, stating there is no downside to this approach. If you’ve determined that your child is safe and that the emotions they are expressing fit the situation they are in, then you must come to terms with the unavoidable reality that teens will feel distress. Allow them to feel distress. Feelings are information. Your role is to recognize the feelings and have empathy. These feelings contribute to maturation and helps them grow.


She added that our ability to tolerate our kids to be in distress is how they learn to allow distress in their lives as well. It is our job as loving adults to help them manage these feelings by teaching them Expressing and Taming; expressing their emotions by talking about the situation, and then taming their emotions in ways that are most comforting to them. Damour advised to encourage teens to cuddle with a pet, eat a favorite food, do a relaxing skincare routine. Using distraction to tame feelings can be a good way to bring relief and get a feeling to quiet down.


Damour offers a robust website of resources on the topic of teenagers. Check out for much more information.