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A Word to Parents of Preteens and Adolescents:


Understanding the Terrifying and Terrific 

Journey of  Tweens and Teens

Phew! Parenting teenagers is a wild and wooley ride for all concerned. One minute you’re up and the next you’re down, holding on for dear life. What is a perplexed parent to do?

It is your job as a parent to ride the wave and hold an invisible cord to the surfboard of your child’s life, acting as the stabilizer no matter how rocky the seas. When parents add to the already choppy and turbulent waters of adolescence, family relationships begin to erode. You can learn ways to react less and respond more, absolutely.  When you are able to remain calm and steady, it becomes harder for a surly teen to act out. 

Adolescents struggle with a great deal of confusion as they try to become their own unique person. Parents give them a gift when they can be clear about  expectations and consequences. As a teenager’s job is to experiment with the lines parents draw for them, a parent’s job is to hold these boundaries steady, with clarity and compassion. This developmental milestone in not unlike the stages of the “terrible two’s,” when children similarly seek to understand and experiment with their own unique place in the world. 

One of the most challenging aspects to raising a tween or teen is learning how not to personalize their reactivity while staying connected to the fuller picture (i.e. age appropriate behaviors vs. red flags). When you come to understand adolescent development and stages, you will lessen your own anxiety and see that there is a true purpose to adolescent misery . . . promise!

Do you want your tweens and teens to feel good about 

who they are and where they are headed? 

Would you like your child to develop skills for a lifetime, to learn to be assertive without tipping over into aggression, to communicate well, to give and gain respect, and to understand the underside of their actions that can sometimes create difficulties?

When you give your child the gift of ongoing therapy, you provide them with the opportunity and space to develop a healthier, more whole relationship with themselves. When we feel good on the inside, no matter how young or old we may be, we are more at peace with the larger world. Our surroundings and relationships begin to feel more certain because we experience ourselves as having value and purpose. Like all human beings, adolescents need to feel they belong, that they are wanted and appreciated. As home takes on less importance, teens venture out and seek affirmation in outside relationships and experiences. Therapy provides a forum to explore and understand the many shades of gray that coexist with all that is new and exciting, helping ot put on the brakes and to take time to really look at the often overwhelming choices that young people are faced with in a day-to-day way. It’s not easy!

Building resilience, developing self-leadership, harnessing and strengthening existing inner and outer resources, distinguishing between reactivity and responsiveness, creating tools to manage stress, anger, compulsivity, depression, and low self-esteem . . . these are just a few of themay outcomes in store for your child when he or she works with me. Teens begin to grow a healthy expression of feelings, becoming less frustrated with the many emotions that live inside of them. They come to understand what black and white thinking looks like and how this rigid world vview limits their choices. They learn reflective listening. They step into greater awareness about peer pressure, friendships, and family connections. They come to believe that each of us has a unique set of talents and abilities to be cultivated and shared, creating a bigger and better world for ourselves and others. Most of all, when you put all of this wonderful learning into the mix, adolescents step into a more authetic and empowered life, where there is less conflict and more joy. This is my greatest wish for your child, and all children.