Lucie Hemmen discusses raising teenage girls on The Steve Harvey Show
Last December, Lucie Hemmen, licensed clinical psychologist and Santa Cruz resident, received a phone call from a producer of The Steve Harvey Show about making an appearance on the show. Later that week, she was flown out to Chicago to tape the episode “Fourteen is the New Eighteen,” which is scheduled to air on ABC at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 29.
Hemmen moved to Santa Cruz in 1995 to begin a post-doctoral internship working with teens and their families at the Mental Health and Substance Abuse division of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency.
Shortly after, Hemmen began working at Youth Services, at the Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center, and developed an interest in working with teenagers.
“Teenagers are very demanding as clients,” says Hemmen. “They want a psychologist’s approach to be authentic, and I love the challenges of working on that level.”
Hemmen, who specializes in working with teenage girls, has been operating her private therapy practice in Santa Cruz since 1997. She found motivation to write her first book, “Parenting a Teen Girl: A Crash Course on Conflict, Communication, and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter,” when her daughters, now 15 and 19 years old, became teenagers.
“Working with teen girls gave me a whole new understanding of what it’s like to be a teen in this current culture,” says Hemmen. “What teen girls are going through today is different than what their mothers went through.”
“Fourteen is the New Eighteen” features three teenage girls and their parents, with Hemmen as the featured expert.
“Parents don’t know what’s going on with their daughters, so it’s very easy to make the teen girl go in the wrong direction with the way she dresses and acts,” says Hemmen. “However, it’s not right pathologize them. But, this is the norm, and it creates a lot of stress for them and their parents.”
With girls growing up quickly in this day and age, Hemmen points the finger at the media.
“These girls are being marketed to and sexualized at a young age, with the message that if you want to be valued in this culture, you have to be sexy,” says Hemmen. “They are not prompted to be smart and powerful, as much as they are to be thin and attractive to men.”
In the episode, host Steve Harvey shows photographs of the girls to a panel of teen boys. The boys were filmed as they commented on what they thought about the girls based on their pictures, and the footage was shown to the girls for their reactions. According to Hemmen, the girls felt exposed and overwhelmed by the experience, but took powerful messages away from it.
“These girls are living in a very stressful culture, and although they might not realize it, they are immersed in this idea that they need to grow up fast and be appealing to men,” says Hemmen. “It’s better to realize this, talk about it, and work with our daughters. It’s not right to victimize them, because they need guidance, love, and understanding.”
Visit luciephd.com to learn more about Lucie Hemmen and her practice.