Finding the "Right" Therapist for your Teen

When I was 15, my mom took me to see a counselor. She thought that I needed someone to talk with since I had been, hmmm, let’s call it acting out after she and my dad divorced.

She chose a therapist who was also a teacher at my high school  I was reluctant, but I knew enough about her to feel that she didn’t see me as a pain-in-the-butt teen.

Despite my initial reluctance, I liked her. It seemed like we were a good fit – even though the selection process seemed to be based on complete convenience since she was right next to the school. (My mom says it was that she just “felt right”.)

 Since that time, I have worked with many counselors – either doing my own work (yes, counselors need to do their work) or professionally. Over the years, I have learned two critical things when it comes to choosing a therapist: choose good over convenient and always trust your gut.

 Good and convenient do not often go hand in hand. You want a therapist...

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Bring your Family’s Story to Life with this Year-End Activity

It’s so hard to believe that this year is almost complete. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was wondering what the next twelve months would bring. Today, I’m a little in awe by all that it did bring. Some of it amazingly good, some epically eh and definitely a bit of “I wanna stay in bed with the covers over my head..”  As I journaled about it all, I remembered a mentor who has once said, “Jules, the story of your life is being written every single minute” and “The days may feel long, my friend, but the years are oh-so-short.”

As a mom of three teenagers, I am ever so aware that time goes by too fast. From the time kids are born, it is so easy to get caught up in the chaos of naps, the tedium of tantrums, and drain of schedules. I’m the first to raise my hand and admit that I spent quite a bit of time in their early years wondering if fast-forwarding all the clocks in the house would get them to bed sooner. As they...

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Three Simple Ways to Show Teens They Matter

Do you remember when you were younger and thought anything was possible? Perhaps Superman was your hero, and you were convinced that draping a towel over your shoulders and jumping off the sofa made you just like him. Or maybe you loved Dorothy Hamill (yes, I’m dating myself now) and promptly got a cute haircut and skated around your house with your shoebox-inspired carpet skates. Do you remember when the possibilities in life were limitless?

Do you also remember when you convinced yourself that nothing was possible? Perhaps your parents said there was no way you could ever fly (breaking your wrist didn't help the case, did it?), or your best friend laughed at your now-not-so-trendy haircut. Whatever the case, mountains may have seemed too high to scale, and confidence no longer fueled your youthful naïveté. Those feelings impacted your choices, and they are impacting your child's, too.

You see, today's youth have those same feelings of power and powerlessness....

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Parenting Teens Can Feel Hard: Musings on Raising Teens

Parenting teens and human natureStarting today with a big ol' parenting teens truth bomb.

(this will be a bit rambling but here goes...) 

Parenting teens is hard, and, then it’s easy. Then, it will be hard again. Then, it will be confusing. Really confusing before it becomes scary, exciting, frustrating, funny, weird, and wild. It will be sticky and shiny and dirty and colorful and lonely and social. Parenting teens is life. Your life and your teens.

Stop looking for the “right” way and choose the way that works for you and your family.  Parenting is not about being the best parent or having the best child. It’s about being the best parent for your kids. It’s about being the best you for you. Being what is best for your teen means letting go … of control, of guilt, of excuses, of perfection to parent the teen you have right now - not the perfect one seen on TV or online. You can aim for perfection every time but you will always end up human. Be human.

The...

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Five Things to Do to Understand your New Normal with Tweens

Help me, Julie! My daughter is getting ready to start 6th grade, and, all of a sudden, she seems like a totally different kid. Overnight she seemed to change from my little girl to full-blown teenager!! It’s making my head spin! Is this normal?

Your new normalPicture this … a 12-year-old girl proudly bats her mascara’ed-lashes at the cute boy in her English class. Hours later, she shrieks that, “Ew! He put a booger on my desk. He’s so gross!.” In the evening, she thinks about the other boy she has been chatting with on her forbidden SnapChat account before falling asleep under her bubblegum pink comforter surrounded by all her stuffed animals. Tweens and early teens often seem dramatic, irrational, and scream-y in one moment and cheerful, giddy, and loving the next.  They have a deep need for independence and for tender care. Many parents shake their heads wondering if their child is crazy or possessed.

Let me assure you, they are neither. Rather, this...

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