Serving You & Your Teen

Does it feel like no one understands you, or takes your view into account as you plan for a future that seems unclear? If the answer is “yes,” there’s good news—you are not alone, even if it feels that way sometimes. And, there’s a good chance that the person who popped into your head when you read that question also answered “yes.” The research is in when it comes to challenges, studies show that everyone faces them. But, not everyone faces the same challenges, or needs to face them similarly.

Encouraging Teens, founded by Desiree Panlilio, is dedicated to changing and improving the relationships between teens and their parents, their communities, and their peers as they plan for the next steps toward the future—no matter how unclear it may seem. Instead of believing teens are challenging, let’s encourage the realization that teens are facing challenges. Instead of giving teens the same roadmap for a collective path, let’s give them the tools and support needed to create their personalized roadmap for the path of their choosing. With this approach, we can turn challenges into opportunities, confusion into conversation, and ambivalence into self-motivation to create…

Clear and Focused Futures.

How to Work with Me


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Join other teens in learning how to be your best self for the future—all in an authentic, inspiring environment.


Join other teens in learning how to be your best self for the future—all in an authentic, inspiring environment.

1:1 Coaching

Ready to dig deeper? 1:1 Coaching provides fully focused sessions that will accelerate progress with continued goals and next steps.  


Prior to its official founding, Encouraging Teens was the passion and brain-child of Desiree Panlilio. As a former nurse, medical manager, and spousal mentor at the U.S. Navy’s Command Leadership School in Newport, RI, Desiree honed the skills needed for her future role as a mother and community leader. It was through her own teen-rearing experiences that she began developing the tools and communicative framework that would be employed in Encouraging Teens’ effective seminars.

From Parents 

This is the perfect job for Desiree! I’m so very glad to hear she is branching out to share her gift with others. Our daughter is now a well rounded successful sophomore in college and still leans on Desiree as a life mentor. 
Kate Robinson

 I was beyond blessed to have Desiree and her family enter my life while I was studying at the Coast Guard Academy. Then, and even now, she and her family have provided me the best counsel and life advice for navigating the military I could ever have asked for.
Meredith Anderson

Desiree has been a wonderful mentor and leader in her various roles within the community. She has always exhibited great moral values and has been a wealth of knowledge and guidance.

Crystal Clark

Desiree is amazing! She’s a wonderful coach and understands teens very well. She’s organized and communicative with emails and appointment reminders. My son has great respect for her and appreciates the skills she uses to help him succeed academically.

Jen Williams

2020 was such a bad year for all of us, but for high school seniors losing out on their final months of school activities and then being expected to march off to adulthood in the midst of a pandemic was a perfect recipe for chaos in my daughter. Desiree was great at helping her realize that while it felt chaotic, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed and helped her reframe her experiences. She worked with my daughter to get herself organized and focused, which helped her self esteem and lead to setting reasonable and realistic goals. She now has a clearer map for her future. We all know there’s no manual for raising children. There’s no definitely no manual on helping them to transition to adulthood while navigating a pandemic. Desiree took time to get to know my daughter and then was able to enable and encourage her to find a balance with school, home, family, and work. My husband and I are very pleased with Desiree’s approach and effort in working with our daughter and highly recommend her.

Tara Dribble

Parents rest assured you can entrust your child to Desiree Panlilio. When our daughter was a very young cadet at the Coast Guard Academy, Desiree and her family became a sponsor to her. Beyond giving her much needed respite from the demands of a military academy, Desiree became a mentor, coach, confidant, surrogate parent, and devoted friend. The bonds of this special relationship have extended well beyond the four-year sponsorship at the academy, throughout our daughter’s tours in the Middle East, Southern Florida and beyond. Desiree’s ability to incorporate skills and experiences from her medical, military, academic and parenting realms make her uniquely qualified to listen to, encourage, counsel and guide youth and young adults through the gauntlet of life’s challenges both on and off campus. As an educator and administrator for more than 40 years, I do strongly recommend Desiree Panlilio as a highly qualified professional. Parents can be comfortable entrusting their son or daughter to her counsel. Desiree Panlilio is truly one of the best!

Nancy Anderson

Last year in the midst of COVID and imposed isolation on our nation, our son lost his academic focus at college and his grades suffered drastically.  In the past when this had happened in school, he had been able to course correct with a little advice from us, his parents.  Not this time.  Emotions of guilt, anger and shame hung over him and colored any interaction with us on the subject of school.  We did not know how to help him.  However, we knew Desiree Panlilio of Encouraging Teens.  We had seen her success with her own daughters and heard how she had helped numerous other teens.  We hoped she might be able to help our son.

She did.  It has been a true game changer.  Desiree didn’t judge; she helped him focus and realize HE is in control of his destiny.  She then equipped him with a path and framework for him to plan to and execute that control, and for us to effectively engage with him for support and accountability.  With her guidance, he created, refined and actively owns his plan. It has been quite empowering for him.  We see it clearly through the change in his communication, his confidence and his attitude.  He recently commented that “I wish I’d known this from the start, it would have made college so much better.”

Make no mistake:  Desiree gave him something much more than a tool for success at school; she equipped him to own and maximize his success at any stage in life.  Thank you!

Alan Jarrett

From the Blog

Read up on the latest events and musings through a positive and life-applicable Encouraging Teens’ lens.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

It is a new year, a new opportunity. As your teen starts back to school it is the perfect time to examine what the second half of their school year will look like. Take a moment to look at what the successes were from the first half of the school year. What was working well, and is there any way to improve on the skills that were working well? Your teen may be a straight-A student, but do they have study skills, organizational and time management skills that will help them continue their success as the academic workload increases? It is a great time to see if any of those skills needs to be discussed, taught or coached to optimize the skill?
Next, does a teaching opportunity exist to look at areas of concern, or is there a need for some structure or skill training to create the success that your teen would like to have? Make sure the conversation focuses on a plan of action that your teenager is agreeable to. Create goals that are SMART. Once you have the goal, create objectives that are small and easily monitored and achieved by your teen. For example if you teen struggled with turning in homework assignments for math and that negatively impacted the grade, a SMART goal may be: to have a 3.0 GPA in Math by the end of the 3rd quarter. An objective may be to turn in every homework assignment on time. How will you and your teen monitor the ongoing success? Lucky for us that today we have our teen’s grades and assignments all electronically and at the end of the week you can measure the success and create an objective if your teen is encountering any hurdles.
However, look beyond your teenager’s academics and their role as a student. Your teen has many roles and many opportunities where they may want to improve or create goals. Have a conversation on what your teenager would like to improve over the next 5 months or focus on. Is it communication skills? Is it learning to cook? Whatever it is, create a goal and a pathway to achieve the goal.
Each day is an opportunity for your teen to write their own story and to create the pathway to success that your teen wants. Encourage your teen. As their parent, you are their biggest advocate, mentor, cheerleader and coach. It is our responsibility to empower our teenagers to see their strengths and to encourage and build on those strengths while nurturing and building the areas and skills that are not as strong. Creating a well-rounded adult that goes out into the world and makes a difference takes time. Children are our most precious gift and one in which we as parents help to shape the future.
I am looking forward to a year full of growth and new opportunities. I would enjoy hearing how Encouraging Teens has encouraged you. Drop us an email at

And the stockings were hung

And the stockings were hung

Christmas is a time for family, fun and food.             – Desiree Panlilio            Have you ever wondered why we hang fancy stockings on the fireplace mantle at Christmas to then wake up on Christmas morning to find them filled with tiny gifts? It was a tradition...

How many versions?

How many versions?

Some people are worth melting for.            – Olaf          "Silent Night" is a song we all know for the holiday season. What is amazing to me are the number of versions of the song, almost 750! It is the most recorded Christmas song in history. I imagine that for...

Sometimes my children think I’m getting on their back.
What they don’t realize is that often times
I’m the only one who has their back.
– Anonymous