5 Parenting Tips for Talking with Your Tween about Puberty and Sex

  Mother daughter
      Use These Tips to Talk to Your Tween

Need some parenting tips for talking about puberty and sex? Our expert parenting author, Dr. Madeline Levine, is sharing 5 tips from her new book, Teach Your Children Well. Let's see what she advises.

5 Parenting Tips for Parents of Middle School Children:

1. Start early. Sensitive conversations are less sensitive when you've had a history of them in your family. But it's never too late to start. Middle schoolers may find it easier to start talking about sexual activity once removed than about their own.

Portrayals in television shows, movies, or magazines give us great opportunities to bring up touch issues. A movie like Juno, about a pregnant teenage girl, would give you an easy opening for questions like "How did Juno decide what to do when she found out she was pregnant?" "How" questions are always more likely to be answered than "why" questions that just put kids on the defensive.

2. Figure out when your child is most receptive to discussion. Almost every important talk I had with my sons was in the evening around bedtime. Probably because everyone was relaxed. Don't ambush your child when he first comes home from school or when she has a big test the following day.

3. Don't be oblique. Preteens and young teens are confused enough about what is going on with their bodies and so questions like "Have you had any new feelings? are incomprehensible (and anxiety provoking) to them. Much better to be direct and say, "You're probably getting pretty close to having your first period. Let's make sure you're prepared." Often it's easier to ease into feelings after logistics are attended to.

4. Do not impute feelings to your teen. "You must be worried about when you're going to look like the other boys." This is probably the fastest way to shut down communication. The feeling part of these discussions has to come from your kid; otherwise he or she will feel misunderstood, controlled, and even judged.

5. Let your kid know you're available for conversation. "At some point you might want to talk about the changes in your body or about sex, If you do, I'm here to listen." Provide openings but don't push if you get no response. Most children will come to you..(To find out more go to page 103)

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I appreciate the advice, Dr. Levine, has given us. If we want our tweens and teens to ask questions about puberty and sex, we have 5 wise parenting tips to follow.

Let's APPLAUD Madeline Levine, PhD for share these tips with us.

     Madeline Levine              Applause_18229118
         Dr. Madeline Levine

Pick up her book, Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success

Cover Teach Your Children Well
            Available at Amazon.com

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Teenagers Share How They Grieve When a Loved One Dies

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Parents Want to Help Teens Deal with Grief

If your teenager is grieving with anger and guilt over the death of a loved one, keep reading. Our parenting experts authors Drs. Heidi and Gloria Horsley will discuss 2 of the big three emotions teenagers experience using words from the teens themselves.

Big Three Emotions

There are basically three emotions that may keep your grieving teenager in a state of suffering. The big three are: Anger, Guilt, and Shame.

Anger

Anger at losing a loved one is huge for a teenager. By dying, this person has really screwed up their life. Anger can stem from many places. Teens might be angry at the person for abandoning them, angry at God for allowing this to happen, angry at the world for not understanding how difficult it is for the teen. In addition, parents often become overly protective following a death.

Teenagers tell us that it is as if  their parents have a magnifying glass on them at all times. Teens feel like their parents want them to account for every second in the day. Teens claim that parents are reluctant to turn the car keys over to the teenager, and they want almost constant check ins from the cell phone.

One teenager told us, "It's like I'm under house arrest. Why should I suffer" I didn't wreck the car. I have a valid driver's license. I took Drivers Ed."

Teenagers feel cheated and angry when they are treated differently than they were before the death. Their developmental task of becomeing more independent has been interrupted.

Guilt

Although your teenager may not really be able to translate feelings into words, the second cause for teenage suffering is guilt. Many teens have guilt and regret that they didn't spend more time with the deceased, or remorse that they didn't treat them better.

Here is one example of teen guilt from our Internet radio show, "Healing The Grieving Heart."

Darrel Scott, whose daughter Rachel was murdered in the Columbine High School massacre, discussed on our show the fact that Rachel's brother Craig was very withdrawn for about six months following Rachel's death.

Darrell said that he was sure there was something Craig, his son told him that he had had a fight with Rachel the morning of her death and they had left for school on bad terms. Craig felt that it should have been him. Darrell said that after the talk Craig started to show some marked improvement.

Craig's dad helped Craig to see that their argument was one of a normal response between siblings and that it did not change their love for one another. "It should have been me" or "I should have treated my sibling better" or "I should have prevented the death" are common responses that cause teenagers to suffer. Pages XIX-XX

To find about about the shame the surviving teenager feels, pick up Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding, Support and Guidance

 

It's available on Amazon.com
Cover Teen Grief Relief

 

Let's give Heidi and Gloria Horsley and BIG THANK YOU for sharing their knowledge and experience about grieving teenagers.

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Drs. Heidi and Gloria Horsley



 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

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Teenage Drinking: Don't Make This Parent's Mistake!

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Should Parents Allow Teens to Drink?

Many parents let their teenagers drink. Is it a mistake? Today our parenting expert, Dr. Parnell Donahue, will share a true story from his practice as a pediatrician. Find out what this teenage girl told him. Do you agree with her parents?

Adult Responsibility

Some parents mistakenly think that kids will eventually drink, so why not provide them a place to drink safely? I remember Sharon, a girl I saw for her college physical the day after she graduated from high school.

When I entered the room she was sitting quietly holding her head in her hands. She was a pretty girl that it almost distracted me from the reeking smell of alcohol on her breath.

"Don't talk," she said as I entered the room. "I had too much to drink last night and my head is killing me. Can I just go home and we can do this some other time?"

"That's fine with me," I replied, "But you'll have to explain to your folks why we have to reschedule."

"Duh," she replied, inferring I was some kind of dinosaur. "We had a graduation party. They were there."

I was a naive young doctor just starting my practice and couldn't for the life of me imagine her dad, a professional, allowing an underage daughter to drink to excess at his party. Maybe she's not telling the whole truth, I thought, so I asked, "So your folks had a party and let you have too much to drink?"

She lifted her head from her hands and looked at me through her beautiful but bloodshot, deep brown eyes. She opened her mouth and stared at me, but did not say anything. I'm sure she couldn't believe my incredulous attitude.

Finally she said, "The purpose of a graduation party is to get drunk and celebrate. I'm going home."

Fortunately, she did not add "stupid" to the end of the sentence. I followed her to the waiting room where her dad was waiting.

"Dad, I'm sick," she said. "Let's go home and do this some other time." Then she walked out the door." (pages 126-127)

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To read the conclusion of this and hear other true stories, pick up:

Messengers in Denim: The Amazing Things Parents Can Learn from Teens

Cover Messengers in Denim
                

On pages 129-130, Dr. Donahue offers 10 parenting tips for parents who want help dealing with teenage drinking.

Available at Amazon.com
 

Let's APPLAUD Dr. Donahue for sharing his wealth of stories and wisdom so that parents can raise their teens wisely.

     Blog Optimistic Dr. Parnell Donahue         Applause_18229118
  Parnell Donahue, M.D.

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Parents, Do Your Kids Trap You in Gotcha Wars?

Teenage boy stubborn
Can Parents Avoid the Gotcha Wars with Kids?

If you're the parent of kids and teenagers who love to make you angry, our expert parenting author, therapist, and mother will share 2 stories from her parenting workshop. Katherine Gordy Levine is the author of When Good Kids Do Bad Things. Here's an excerpt from her book:

Gotcha Night

It was frigid outside, but the atmosphere in my office was steaming hot. This was another Gotcha Night at Parent Tactics, parenting workshop I created.

How This Teenager Trapped His Parent

"I don't know if I can take it," shouted Tom, a burly man who had always reminded me before of the young John Wayne, slow to anger, riding hard on his emotions. Recently granted custody of his thirteen year-old son, he soon found himself locked head to head, horn to horn, in a Gotcha War. He was, as George Bush likes to say, about to go ballistic.

“Last night was typical. We were going to go to a movie. Mark came in from sledding with his clothes all wet and I told him to change. He mumbled that he didn’t have any clean clothes. We went to his room and there was plenty of clean stuff, but he didn’t like any of it. Two pairs of pants and three shirts were brand-new. Mark picked them out himself two weeks ago, but now he can’t stand them.

“I got angry. He refused to change; I refused to let him go to movies. What was supposed to be a good family time became just another dammed run-in. It drives me crazy. I pride myself on being in control of myself, but when I spend any time with my son, I’m ready to kill. He loves to make me angry.”

Parents Understood the Gotcha Wars

Everyone else nodded sympathetically. They were all fighting Gotcha Wars at home. Anne, the willowy blond mother of twelve-year-old twins, complained about the “nothing-to-eat” song she heard every day.

How This Parent Felt Trapped by Her Kids

“It happens as soon as I come in from shopping. I’ve caved in to all of their junk food fantasies. There’s food everywhere!

“But it never fails. One of my kids slouches into the kitchen, opens the refrigerator door, Refrigerator
and moans, “There’s nothing to eat." And like a fool, I list the contents of all the kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator, the storage cellar, the cookie jar.

I’ll even mention the hidden stash of candy. Finally, when I’ve given up all hope of finding anything that might pull him back from the brink of starvation, his face lights up with a little smirk and I know he’s won again.”

“Yes,” chimed in Joan, the normally cheerful mother of three teenagers, “I know that smile of victory and I hate it. At our house…"

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To find out Joan’s story and the author's solutions to your Gotcha Wars go to: When Good Kids Do Bad Things: A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers

Let's give THANKS to Katherine Gordy Levine for allowing us to share an excerpt from her excellent book.

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I like how Anne recognized how her kids pulled her into the Gotcha Wars. It's so easy to get trapped when you're trying to be helpful. What would you do to avoid being pulled in?

Sit back, relax, and share your opinions about this blog post. Please comment in the tiny comment link below. We want to hear from you.

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Why Do Some Parents Rescue Their Teens from Consequences?

Alcohol teenager

Can Parents Rescue This Out-of-Control Teen?

"If you know parents who rescue their out-of-control teens from consequences, ask yourself, "Do those teens behave better?" 

Our expert authors actually work with teens and see the kids who don't. From their book, The Whipped Parent, I'll share how natural consequences can be great learning experiences for out-of-control teenagers and why rescuing often doesn't work.

Natural Consequences

The first type of consequences your adolescent will experience are natural consequences. Natural consequences happen as a direct result of your child's behavior and may have nothing to do with you.

Slug refused to go to school, and he failed some of his classes. Brandy had sex with many different boys and caught a sexually transmitted disease. Top Dog got into fights and ended up with stitches and scars on his face. Target got caught shoplifting and was arrested.

Natural consequences are very important. They will occur throughout your child's life, into adulthood. As a child or teenager, Jack may experience a consequence you've developed. He will experience natural consequences forever. It's what will help him think through his behavior. Natural consequences will influence the choices Jack makes, long after he's moved out of your home.

Parents are sometimes in the position to keep natural consequences from happening for their children. Top Dog's mom spent years "saving" her son from some natural consequences of drinking and fighting. When he was thirteen years old, a peer pressed assault charges.

Top Dog's mom went to court and convinced the judge to let her son attend therapy instead of being put on probation. When Top Dog couldn't get up for school because of a hangover, his mother called to excuse him. "I had to help him," she would say. "He's my son, and he's already been through so much.

After she began attending Al-Anon meetings, Top Dog's mother realized she wasn't truly "helping" her son. She was simply rescuing him from the natural consequences that went along with his choices.

Once she stopped rescuing him, Top Dog started to put more thought into his decisions. Often times he still decided to drink and fight, but at least he thought about what could happen."

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It's hard to avoid rescuing kids from their own bad behaviors. We love them and we fear they'll be hurt. The authors have presented us with situations where resuing has made things worse. What are your experiences with rescuing?

Let's give a BIG HAND to Kimberly Abraham, Marney Studaker-Cordner, and                 
K
athrynO'Dea for their outstanding book and for choosing to be counselors helping teens and parents. You'll find helpful solutions in their book.

The Whipped Parent            Applause_18229118

The Whipped Parent is available on Amazon.com


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 Sit back, relax, and then share your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping out-of-control teens? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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Parents, Why Did This Teenager Compare Peer Pressure to Fleas?

Boys Teenagers
                 What Peer Pressure?

Parents, are you worried your teenager will give in to peer pressure? If so, you have to read the response Dr. Parnell Donahue received from 14-year-old Marc. Dr. Donahue, a parenting expert and pediatrician, asked Marc about peer pressure. Let's listen to this story.

Marc's Story about Peer Pressure:

Dr. Donahue: "Do any of your friends smoke?" I asked.

Marc: "Not if they want to be my friends," Marc answered.

Dr. Donahue: "How much alcohol does your best friend drink?"

Marc: "None."

Dr. Donahue: "Do you have any friends who use marijuana of other drugs?"

"No. I have really good friends," he said proudly. "You'd like them." He paused for a moment and then asked, "Can I tell you something?" He leaned over conspiratorially, as though he was about to tell me where Osama Bin Laden was hiding. "If you sleep with dogs, you'll get fleas," he said quietly.

Dr. Donahue: "Hmmm, I guess you're right," I replied, but I really wasn't sure where Marc was coming from with that statement, or where he was going with it. I'm not a vet, I'm a pediatrician. So I repeated, "If you sleep with dogs, you'll get fleas means...?"

Marc: "Well, say you're at a party and everybody is smoking pot, but you're not, and the cops come in," Marc began. "They will take you all away and it won't matter what you say. They and everybody will think you smoked too. So you will have their fleas, and no one will believe you're innocent."

Then he smiled that all-knowing smile kids use with adults to say "Gotcha!"

Dr. Donahue: "That's great!" I exclaimed, trying to reclaim face for not understanding initially. I was in awe, too. "I wish I had been as wise as you when I was 14. Too bad all kids don't know that." pages 112-113

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Why not share Dr. Donahue's story about Marc with your teens? Ask them what they think. You never know where the conversation will lead.

Let's give Dr. Donahue a BIG HAND for sharing this story in his book, Messengers in Denim.

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 What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping teens deal with peer pressure? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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The Big Mistake: When Parents Go Ballistic about Kids' Homework

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Calm Parents Can Teach Kids Self-Motivation

Parents, if you want your kids to do well in school, don't make the mistake our parenting expert and author, Neil McNerney, warns about in his book, Homework: A Parent's Guide to Helping Out without Freaking Out. Find out why he says, "When we stay calm...we keep the focus on our child."

The Big Mistake

"Why do we want our kids to do well in school? Seems a pretty obvious question. We want our kids to do well so that they will be successful. When we can stay calm, we are increasing the odds of success. The calmer I am, the more likely my kids' energies will be focused on their own actions instead of mine.

If I am not calm, then their thoughts and emotions are focused on me, instead. My emotional reactivity is saying to them: "Calm me down." So, instead of thinking about doing well in school for their own success, they think they should do well in school to change our emotions.

When we are over-anxious or losing our temper , we have lost a chance to help with self-motivation.

Story About a Parent Going Ballistic about Kid's Homework

I remember a teenager I worked with who was struggling in school. Everytime he missed a homework assignment or got a bat test grade, his mother went ballistic. When I would ask him why he wanted to do well in school, he would tell me "so that Mom won't yell at me."

When I would ask if there were other reasons, he would just shrug. All he was focused on was doing well to calm his mother. So what do you think happened when he went away to college? Your guessed it. He lasted one semester and dropped out with failing grades.

He told me: "When I went to college, it was great. I was having fun, meeting new people, and the biggest part was not having Mom yell at me and check my homework all the time. The problem, though, was that I never really learned to study in order to be successful. The only reason I studied was to get Mom off my back." pp. 11-12

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Neil McNerney shares the best way to teach self-motivation and avoid the big  mistake of going ballistic. Self-motivation is exactly what you want to teach your children. To find out how to teach it pick up Neil's book, Homework: A Parent's Guide to Helping Out without Freaking Out

Cover Homework

Let's give a BIG HAND to Neil McNerney, a counselor, faculty member, speaker, and parenting expert, for sharing information all parents need about homework.

  Neil McNerneyApplause_18229118
   Neil McNerney

What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for dealing with kids and homework? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Do You Blame the Parents for Troubled Teens?

 Mom and teen jpg

Parents Aren't Always to Blame or Are They?

If you're the parent of a troubled teen, do you feel blamed by society? If you know you were a good parent, the expert authors of The Whipped Parent support you. Find out more.

"During the past decade, there has been an increasing focus on violence among youth. Recently, the severity of school violence has let to an intense, nationwide scrutiny of the crimes committed by children.

Blaming Adults for Adult Crimes

When an adult commits a crime, he or she is typically held responsible for the action by society and its laws. But when a child or adolescent engages in the same behavior, the tendency is to look for an adult who is at fault for the crime, especially if violence is involved.

Blaming Parents for Teenage Crimes

Typical questions:

As a society, we have a hard time accepting that children and adolescents may be violent. We want to view childhood as a time of physically  assaults a classmate, who is accountable for that act? If a thirteen year old chooses to sell drugs, who is ultimately responsible for that decision? If a fourteen year old refuses to attend school, who should be prosecuted?

The focus often comes to rest on a child's parents, and people point to the type of upbringing that was present. Do the parents take the child to church, help him with his homework, set rules and enforce them?

Do the parents monitor his television shows, listen to him and spend time with him? Do they do all the things that good parents are supposed to do?

Surprise! The answer to these questions is often yes.

Many children and adolescents who come from what appears to be a "good home" still make bad choices, push against everyone and everything, and even commit crimes.

Society has sent the message, loud and clear, that parents are responsible for their child's behavior. The definition of a responsible parent has changed over the years. Responsibility to feed, clothe, shelter, and love your child was the old days. Today you're held responsible for how your child behaves, what he says, what he looks like and how he turns out.

If your adolescent breaks the law, you'd better hire a good lawyer. Not for him - for you. You're the one society will want to prosecute. Just read the latest poll from any newspaper or talk show.

If a kid is violent or commits a crime, the first and loudest question asked is "Where were the parents?" If you have an answer, you may as well save your breath. It won't be good enough." pp. 26-27

The authors, Kimberly Abraham, Marney Studaker-Cordner, and Kathryn O'Dea, give us hope. You'll find out their solutions when you pick up their book, The Whipped Parent: Hope for Parents Raising an Out-of-Control Teen.

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Let's give a BIG HAND to the therapists of The Whipped Parent for their excellent work.

The Whipped Parent                      Applause_18229118

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What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping parents of out-of-control children who are blamed for their kids behaviors? Please answer in the comment link below.

 

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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How Teenagers Grieve After Losing a Friendship

 Grieving Teenager
 
Teenager Grieving at Losing a Friendship

When teenagers grieve the loss of a friendship, parents know. It breaks their hearts to see their teen so sad. Here’s a typical teen reaction. It’s brought to us by the authors of Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding and Support and Guidance. Perhaps you’ve seen it in your child.

“What Happens to Friendships”

“As a parent, you know friendships are pivotal relationships for your teenager. Friends help set the trends and let teenagers know what is cool and what is not. Teenagers tell us that, after a few weeks, many of their old and trusted friends drop by the way side. Listen to Ashley:”

“After about a month, I stopped getting invited to hang out with friends. Sure, I could call them, and they would invite me to go along, but I wasn’t being asked to go to the movies or party with them. I was so angry that I finally stopped carrying my cell phone.”

“Ashley’s comment is typical of some of the suffering teenagers to thought. Bereaved teenagers tell us that they final gave up on many of their old friends. They tell us that people expected them to get back to “normal.” The expectations were too heavy, and they often turned to new relationships. They talk about some new and positive friendships being formed, but on the whole they feel than many of their past friends turned out not to be “true friends” – another loss.

As new friends come along, your teen may gravitate toward angry teens who are dealing with losses of their own. These unhappy, belligerent teens understand what anger is all about and can handle their bereaved friend’s mood swings. These are rocky shores, and teens need special support at this time."

******Let's give a special THANK YOU to Drs. Heidi and Gloria Horsley, the authors of Teen Grief Relief. We appreciate their knowledge and research.

Cover Teen Grief ReliefApplause_18229118

Pick up their book, Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding, Support and Guidance. All teens go through grief at some point. Learn how to help your teenager with their treasured solutions.

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What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping your teen with grief? Please answer in the comment link below.

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Grief: 4 Tips for Helping Teens When They Suffer Big Losses

Sad Teenager

Help Teens Grieve with Teen Grief Relief

When Teens grieve over a big loss, what do you do? Below you'll find four ideas on what to say from Dr. Heidi Horsley and Dr. Gloria Horsley. They are the authors of Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding, Support and Guidance. Rainbow Books publishing company sent me this book to share excerpts with you.

"How You Can Help Your Teenager ~ 4 Tips

1. A good thing to say in sibling loss is, "I am here for you, but I do not know how you feel."

2. Or you may even say, "I have lost a child, but I have never lost a sibling. It must be difficult."

3. Or you can acknowledge any loss by saying, "I have never lost a friend. Tell me about it."

4. Another example is a woman who had lost her father at age 8 and her daughter at age 45 to breast cancer. She told her granddaughter, "I know what it is to lose a father, but I've never lost a mother. Could you tell me about it?"

Just a reminder that teens need their loss acknowledged and validated, while at the same time they need reassurance that the intensity of their grief won't last forever. This is a fine line to walk because while your teen does not want their pain or grief minimized, they do want to know that they won't always fee this bad...teenagers really suffer over loss of friends, while loss of family simply undermines their world." xxii

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Grief is a heavy burden. Knowing what to say and do to help relieve your teenager is good for your teen and good for you. This book is a treasure. Please pick it up at:

Teen Grief Relief

Let's give a grand hand to Dr. Heidi and Dr. Gloria Horsley for their helpful guidance in this important book.

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Parents, it's your turn to speak up:

What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping your teenager deal with grief? Please answer in the comment link below.

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