YOU HAVE TO SAY I'M PRETTY, YOU'RE MY MOTHER! (the authors' interview)

YOU HAVE TO SAY I'M PRETTY, YOU'RE MY MOTHER! <i>(the authors' interview)</i>
Stephanie Pierson has written books and magazine articles on parenting. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and The Oxygen Network.

Phyllis Cohen, CSW, is a psychotherapist who has a full-time private practice in New York City. She lectures on issues of adolescence and is a cofounder of the Brooklyn Center for Families in Crisis.

Adolescence: How did the two of you meet?
SP: I was researching the subject for a book and needed professional expertise. A psychotherapist referred me to Phyllis and we worked well together and complimented each other's experiences.

Adolescence: How did your book, YOU HAVE TO SAY I'M PRETTY, YOU'RE MY MOTHER, evolve?
SP: From that initial meeting, we agreed on a co-authorship. The intro to our book tells about my personal experience with my daughter being the inspiration for the book - Phyllis's years of experience in private practice with girls and mothers added another dimension to this.

Adolescence: What was the most challenging part of researching the book?
SP: There are so many areas to explore in body image - both teens and their mothers.

Adolescence: How much time did the research take?
SP: It took us 2 years to research, write and deliver the manuscript.

Adolescence: From that research, what has become your greatest concern for
today's teenage girls?

PC/SP: It's harder for teenage girls to maintain a solid sense of themselves and distill the various toxic body messages.

Adolescence: What are the three most important tools a mother has?
SP: Maintaining a loving relationship, learning about her own important role in her daughter's body image issues and developing her own self-awareness, developing the skills to listen and learn from her daughter.

Adolescence: What is the one thing you want mothers to remember from reading YOU HAVE TO SAY I'M PRETTY, YOU'RE MY MOTHER?
PC: The greatest gift you can give your daughter is to help her separate, become her own person, and have a strong sense of self-worth.

Adolescence: What books would you recommend for parents of teenage boys?
PC: A Fine Young Man: What Parents, Mentors and Educators Can Do to Shape Adolescent Boys into Exceptional Men, by Michael Gurian and The Courage to Raise Good Men, by Olga Silverstein

Adolescence: Any final words?
PC: We want mothers to remember that adolescence is a phase of life in which there is a lot of struggle between girls and their mothers. We want to encourage mothers to stay close to their daughters and remember that every slammed door will open one day.
SP: Mothers need to know (and it's quite reassuring) that their daughter may seem like a stranger who no longer loves them - the truth is, your daughter loves you and needs you - that primary bond is still there and will re-surface once she (and you!) have matured.

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