Evelyn Resh

Sensual and sexual health and satisfaction for teens and adults

Archive for the category “Oprah”

How to Help Your Daughter Manage College Stress

Sending your daughter out into the world can be tough—especially if she moves far from home. Luckily, Evelyn Resh has six loving ways to help you support her through the stress of living independently at college.


I spent the better part of 20 years as a college student. This was as a result of going to school while working and raising a family. The pressures were intense at times, compounded by my drive to graduate with the highest GPA possible. What I didn’t realize through the entire experience was that, as a well-educated professional in my field,

none of my employers would ever ask me what grade I received for any of the classes I took in college. This has proven to be an important fact to refer to when advising my own daughter. At the first glimpse of a rise in her temperature over the demands and rigors of her college curriculum, I remind her of this truism, and a relaxation effect begins to take hold.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a parent who says, “Hey, don’t worry about your grades, as long as you pass.” Nor am I unaware of the importance of an impressive transcript should my daughter decide to apply to graduate school. As the CEO, Bank of Mom, holder of graduate degrees and a professional person, I do have a vested interest in my daughter’s achievement and academic success. However, I am a realistic parent and experienced adult who knows better than to ride my daughter about maintaining a 4.0 in college to the detriment of her own health and sanity.

At almost 20, my daughter is facing many developmental tasks as she advances into normal, healthy adulthood. What concerns me most as I watch her navigate through the high seas, rogue waves and occasional Bermuda Triangle of classes in college is how she manages the successes and failures she will undoubtedly face. Will she attribute all her good grades to her own skill and acumen while blaming her failures on her professors? Does she always have an excuse for why she didn’t do as well as she wanted to, or does she humbly acknowledge that she didn’t work hard enough or spent too much time partying? I know that good grades are often an indication of organized living, a sense of responsibility and diligence. But I also know plenty of outstanding students who are shiftless cheaters and plagiarists who spent their undergraduate educations mastering their manipulative skills.

6 ways to be supportive

That said, here are my suggestions for helping your college-age daughter manage the stressors of academia while fostering her growth into a healthy, well-rounded adult:

Don’t Intervene

Don’t get overly involved with her assignments or in the middle of any disputes between her and her professors. Success in college is her responsibility, and you need to let her accomplish this on her own steam.

Reward with Praise

When she tells you she received a good grade, ask her what she loved about the assignment or the class. Then, validate the new and exciting things she’s learned and remind her of the relationship between interest, effort and success.

Be a Health Advisor

If she expresses feeling overwhelmed or stressed by the demands of school, review the benefits of adequate sleep, eating well, exercising moderately and effective time management. And, if she’s involved with many extracurricular activities, help her prioritize while keeping in mind that she needs downtime from studying too.

Practice Listening First

If your daughter sounds like she’s completely falling apart from pressures related to school, before you tell her to hop the first bus or plane home, remind her that nothing is more important than her health—mental and physical. Talk her down without taking over for her. This is a great opportunity to help her develop coping strategies.

Laugh with Her

Look for the humor in what she’s telling you and help her see it too. Adding some levity doesn’t mean you’re dismissing her distress; you’re helping her see things from a different perspective.

Beware Perfection

Keep an eye out for persistent perfectionism and unrealistic goals. No one is good at everything. If perfectionism is ruling her life, suggest she talk with one of the counselors at the student health services.

College is a time to for expanded thinking, learning and setting goals in life. It’s also the time when the foundation for sturdy adulthood really takes hold. As a parent, remind your daughter of all of the above, and if she’s struggling with her GPA for realistic reasons, remind her that her future employers won’t ask about her grades. And, there’s always next semester or a different class that she can look toward to bump up her GPA if need be. Your concerns as her parent shouldn’t be just about her grades; they should include her development into a well- rounded, happy adult who can take pride in knowing she did her best in college—whatever her grades end up being.

Evelyn Resh is director of sexuality and relationships programming for Miraval Resorts in Tucson. She is a certified sexuality counselor and nurse-midwife and continues her practice in both fields in Tucson and Western Massachusetts. She has taken care of teens and women of all ages in OB-GYN and primary care settings for more than 20 years and specializes in working with women 25 and under. She is also the mother of a 19-year- old daughter. Evelyn speaks all over the nation on topics related to women’s health and sexual satisfaction and is the author of the new book The Secret Lives of Teen Girls: What Your Mother Wouldn’t Talk about but Your Daughter Needs to Know published by Hay House Publishers.

Does My Daughter Have an Eating Disorder?

 According to the National Eating Disorders Association, as many as 11 million Americans suffer annually from eating disorders. That’s why Evelyn Resh wants to make you aware of six warning signs to watch for when it comes to your teenage daughter’s relationship with food.

The parents of teen girls have plenty to worry about: high school grades, college expenses, unsafe sex, drugs and alcohol—and whether they or their kids will

even survive adolescence in the first place. The teen years are demanding on kids and on parents. And then, in addition to all these worries, throw in the risk of an eating disorder and you might as well push parents off a cliff before their daughters turn 12—just to spare them the years of angst!

Bulimia, anorexia and obesity are serious health problems that often begin in adolescence and can affect girls throughout their lives. It’s sad but true that these problems often become remitting relapsing conditions; in other words, problems that hang around forever, rearing their ugly heads repeatedly when life’s stressors get overwhelming. While parents need to loosen the reins on girls as they pass through adolescence and give them increasing amounts of independence, this doesn’t mean ignoring what they’re doing; it means paying attention with a consistent and watchful eye from ever-increasing distances.

Here are some things to watch for to determine whether something is going haywire with your kid’s relationship with food and eating:

Her definition of a normal weight

When you talk to your daughter about what a normal weight would be for someone her size (and you should definitely have this conversation), if she disagrees with the numbers over and over again, you both have a problem. Girls who dispute what’s considered normal for their height and frame—give or take 5 to 10 pounds— have traveled to another planet and have lost their grip on reality. If this is reemphasized by her LOVE of ultra- thin models or her rebuking of Queen Latifah as an example of plus-size and healthy, then you need to address it and not waste a moment getting help.

What and how she eats

Skipping breakfast and lunch and having only small salads for dinner every night is not normal eating. Also, if she is obsessed with the calorie content of food, then your ears should perk up. Investigating calorie content is not one of life’s details that teen girls with normal eating habits are thinking about. On the other hand, eating three large meals plus snacking reflects an indulgence with food that may be problematic in the opposite way.

4 other warning signs to watch for

Her dental health

Make sure your daughter goes to the dentist every six months for preventative checkups. If she’s frequently vomiting or starving herself, it will show up in her mouth.

Her clothing choices

Look at the clothes she’s wearing. Girls who conceal their bodies in clothes that are way too big or girls whose excess fat is spilling out beyond the slight “muffin top” need intervention. You can get meaningful clues by looking at what your daughter chooses to wear and how she looks in her clothes.

Her menstrual cycle

Do your best to track her menstrual cycle. I don’t suggest putting it on the family event calendar. But, you could make a note in your personal calendar after you’ve casually and privately asked her about her period. If your daughter had started her period and then stops for three months or more, you should be concerned.

Her exercise habits

If your daughter has created a training schedule to match that of Lance Armstrong, she may be overexercising, which may be an additional manifestation of an eating disorder.

The thought that your daughter might be starving herself, vomiting after meals or oblivious to her ever-increasing girth is terrifying. As a healthcare provider to teen girls and as a woman who has struggled with being overweight her entire life, I empathize. I know only too well from personal experience the feelings of both attachment and disdain for my favorite cookie. Neither adults nor kids need to be paragons of virtue when it comes to healthy eating and exercise. After all, no one is perfect. But keeping an eye on our developing teens and how their relationship to food and eating is taking shape is critically important.

Reflect on your own relationship with food, as this will influence your daughter. If you always complain about your weight or are beyond thrilled with new low-cal foods, then you too need some fine-tuning when it comes to your own eating habits. Unprocessed foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, lean meats and fish or a sound vegetarian diet with portion control is the way to go for lifelong health. Adopt healthy habits of eating, and your chances of influencing your daughter to do the same will increase dramatically. Take advantage of being your daughter’s best teacher when it comes to a healthy relationship with food.

Evelyn Resh is director of sexuality and relationships programming for Miraval Resorts in Tucson. She is a certified sexuality counselor and nurse-midwife and continues her practice in both fields in Tucson and Western Massachusetts. She has taken care of teens and women of all ages in OB-GYN and primary care settings for more than 20 years and specializes in working with women 25 and under. She is also the mother of a 19-year- old daughter. Evelyn speaks all over the nation on topics related to women’s health and sexual satisfaction and is the author of the new book The Secret Lives of Teen Girls: What Your Mother Wouldn’t Talk About but Your Daughter Needs to Know published by Hay House Publishers.

What Your Daughter Needs to Know Before She Leaves for College

If you have a daughter leaving for college this fall, you’re probably going through a roller coaster of emotions— but this is no time to lose your bearings! Get the four most important things you need to tell your daughter before she walks into her first college dorm room.

Those of you with daughters graduating from high school this year are facing a maelstrom of activity and emotions. There are graduation festivities to organize,

forms to fill out, plans to solidify and the countdown of days before your girl leaves home. If you’re like most, you’re in a state of awe, upset and terror. On the one hand, you have the feeling school can’t start soon enough. On the other, you know you’ll cry all the way home after dropping your daughter off at her dorm.

The month before my own daughter left for her freshman year in college, I sank into three weeks of depression and I couldn’t figure out exactly what I was so sad about. My daughter was still at home. She was still demanding, still making messes all over the house and generally driving me crazy. Furthermore, her senior year in high school had been a real workout; I was exhausted from parenting my teenage girl! Didn’t I need a break and wasn’t I looking forward to it?

Eventually, a wise and experienced friend a few years my senior told me I was depressed because I knew deep down that my daughter was leaving home—really leaving home—and our relationship would never be the same. But sad or not, I knew that despite my daughter’s enthusiasm about college, she was probably as nervous as I was upset. So I had to rise to the occasion and pull myself up by my bootstraps. This was no time to lose my bearings as senior adviser—I had advice I needed to give.

College campuses are worlds unto themselves, and the communities they provide for our kids are shaping and significant. They make lifelong friends, learn new and exciting things about the world and often meet the person they’ll end up loving more than anyone they’ve ever known. This is big stuff. Giving our young adult daughters good advice is important, and we need to provide this advice with insight and humor—otherwise, they won’t listen to or remember anything we say.

Get the four things you must tell your daughter before she goes to college

The following four tips are what I consider to be the most protective and important pearls of wisdom your daughter should hear from you before she slams the trunk shut and runs into her dorm, leaving you in a puddle of tears:

1. Take precautions against sexual assault. Your daughter will be shocked that you said this and undoubtedly will accuse you of being crazy. But the truth is rape on college campuses is a real problem and so are roofies—the “date rape drug.” We need to discuss rape prevention with girls in an open and direct way. Somehow, those of us graduates of the feminist movement feel that doing so is like pre-emptively blaming the victim. Not true. Prevention of anything bad makes sense, no matter what it is.

2. Learn about and acquaint your daughter with the health services provided by her college, including the mental health counseling services. College health services are staffed with healthcare professionals experienced in caring for young adults. They can be invaluable resources, and your daughter should be encouraged to take advantage of these services as needed.

3. Remind your girl of the importance of sleep. And, if she comes home for a visit and spends most of her time sleeping, don’t be angry about it. College kids are often sleep deprived, and this can lead to increased susceptibility to illnesses, depression, weight gain and poor academic performance…not to mention a miserable day-to-day life.

4. And lastly, make sure your daughter has an effective contraceptive method. Ideally, you had this conversation with her in high school, but in case you haven’t, do it before she leaves for college. And remind her of the importance of condoms for STD prevention, because now that she can vote and join the armed forces without your permission, she can certainly decide to have sex without consulting you first. Remember, your values may be very different from hers, but you need to speak the language that says: “I care for you first and want you to be safe, whether I approve of your choices or not.”

Sending our girls off to college is rough. The transition is huge for parents and for kids, and we need to give our daughters sensible and useful advice. Despite your sadness over her departure, continue being her loving parent and send her off with information to help her stay safe as she takes this giant step into the big world. And if you feel depressed because she is leaving, just remember that it’s a phase…and phases pass. Before you know it, she’ll be calling you for advice about something you could never have imagined, just like she always has.

Evelyn Resh is director of sexuality and relationships programming for Miraval Resorts in Tucson. She is a certified sexuality counselor and nurse-midwife and continues her practice in both fields in Tucson and Western Massachusetts. She has taken care of teens and women of all ages in OB-GYN and primary care settings for more than 20 years and specializes in working with women 25 and under. She is also the mother of a 19-year- old daughter. Resh speaks all over the nation on topics related to women’s health and sexual satisfaction and is the author of the new book The Secret Lives of Teen Girls: What Your Mother Wouldn’t Talk About But Your Daughter Needs to Know published by Hay House Publishers.

Help Your Teenage Daughter Manage Her Weight

Sometimes it feels like it’s easier to talk to a wall than to your teenage daughter! When it comes to tricky topics like her weight, you might not even know where to begin. But as her mother, you are responsible for showing her how to take care of herself. Evelyn Resh shares six proactive and loving ways to help you talk to your teen about food and exercise that will help build lifelong healthy habits.

Childhood obesity rates are at an all-time high. This is the first time in our history as a country that childhood and adolescent obesity has been highlighted as a public health crisis. Kids and teens in the United States are facing lifelong health problems because they’re overeating and underexercising.

The onus of responsibility for helping kids eat well and stay slim is ultimately on their parents. We know changes in family habits can go a long way with kids. And, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But, what if you already have a teen girl who is tipping the scale way above her recommended weight? The horse is out of the barn by this time, and parents, especially mothers, often feel completely hopeless in this situation. Mothers’ responses can vacillate between trying to shame their girls into eating less and exercising more or becoming so prescriptive that they create a police state around food at home. The truth is, neither of these approaches is likely to be effective.

As a healthcare provider to teens, I suggest you take a proactive but behind-the-scenes approach to helping your daughter gain a better relationship with food and exercise. Parents need to keep in mind they are personae non grata for teens. Adolescent girls are in the process of becoming their own people, so the strategies that work for kids won’t necessarily work for teens. Plus, being right “up in someone’s business” about something they’re having difficulty managing is annoying at any age. Teen girls need a kind-of MapQuest intervention from parents. Here are some examples of ways you can be helpful when you’re daughter is desperately trying to beat the battle of the bulge.

First: Eat out less often

Americans used to go out for meals only on special occasions. Not anymore. There are folks who eat out two and three times a day! Not only is this costly, but the portion sizes are always too big, and as patrons, you lose control over what you’re actually eating. Cooking and eating meals at home is less expensive and leads to less consumption.

Next: Never shame your daughter or call her names
Referring to your daughter as my “chubby little cherub” or my “plump little hen” is a mistake. Remarks like these will lead your daughter right to her favorite cookies for comfort—or possibly to something worse, like an eating disorder. You need to be complimentary toward your daughter and help her establish a friendly relationship with her flesh and reduce her feelings of “body as enemy or point of mockery.”

Next: Eat as many foods as possible that don’t have an ingredient list

Have you ever really read the ingredients in Cheetos or Oreos? You practically need to be a chemist to understand them. Apples have one ingredient—apples. Stop buying and eating stuff you can’t understand; keep it out of the house. If you crave cookies, make them yourself and limit the frequency and quantity to one batch per week—for the whole family.

Next: Make healthy snacks easily available

Teens often snack and graze versus sitting down to meals. So mitigate possible damage by keeping healthy snacks in the house. I’m not talking about unadorned pieces of celery—nobody wants to eat that. But fruit and string cheese is far better than a granola bar. There are myriad options for healthy snaking available.

Next: Encourage exercise in your daughter’s life

When your daughter starts a new semester or there is a change in season, ask her what sport or physical activity she’s planning to participate in. If none of those offered at school appeal to her, sign her up at the local gym, adopt a dog for her to walk (pay her to do this, if necessary) or take a yoga class with her.

Next: Be a shining example

As I’ve said before, your daughter is always watching and taking things in, which means that your view of health and wellness is important. Make it clear to everyone in your household that interfering with your fitness time is a crime punishable by death and that if you don’t exercise, you’ll be a witch to contend with.

Helping girls lose weight and keep it off is difficult—especially when your daughter is keeping you at a distance. But the process may feel less daunting if you change your perspective and think of this problem as a puzzle to solve. And remember, we need to partner with our daughters with an eye on health, not skinny. And if you do all this and your daughter remains a bit full-figured—so what? People can be healthy, even when they’re not lean.

Evelyn Resh is director of sexuality and relationships programming for Miraval Resorts in Tucson. She is a certified sexuality counselor and nurse-midwife and continues her practice in both fields in Tucson and Western Massachusetts. She has taken care of teens and women of all ages in OB-GYN and primary care settings for more than 20 years and specializes in working with women 25 and under. She is also the mother of a 19-year- old daughter. Evelyn speaks all over the nation on topics related to women’s health and sexual satisfaction and is the author of the new book The Secret Lives of Teen Girls: What Your Mother Wouldn’t Talk about but Your Daughter Needs to Know published by Hay House Publishers.

Post Navigation