After writing my first book, Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life, I realized that what I had to say was directed toward adults. I wondered what teens would make of it, and came to the conclusion that most of their concerns were different from those of adults.
I also wondered whether I really knew what their issues were. I decided that the best way to find out for sure was to ask teens what concerned them and how they dealt with their concerns. I went in search of teens who were willing to talk with me about them. I found a number of teens who agreed to fill out a questionnaire and meet with me to talk about what they had written. This book is an account of that process.
The teens who participated were all from Western New York, some from rural Genesee County and the others from urban Monroe County. As you read on, you will find stories based loosely on teens I have met over the years I have been in practice. These are stories I wrote to give you some examples of how teens might deal with certain issues. None of the characters in these stories are actual people. A teenager named Violet wrote the poems at the beginning of each chapter. She did not wish to have her name published, so we will just know her as Violet.
Each chapter also has a story to introduce the topics found in that chapter. You will also find practical suggestions at the end of each chapter and sometimes within the chapters. These are designed to help you practice some of the things discussed in that chapter. Hopefully they will help you make a little better sense of your life and its challenges.
My hope in writing this book is that you will come away with a better understanding of what weighs on other teens’ minds and how they deal with their concerns. I also hope that as you read this book, you will come to see that your concerns and views are not so unusual. Maybe it will help you accept your own way of approaching life. Perhaps this book will also give you a few new ideas about yourself and the world you live in.
Topics in this book include:
- The author as a teen
- How you feel about you
- Feelings about everything else
- Family Matters
- Problem peers
- Your Health
- Your sexual self
- Being in love
- When life gets difficult
- Spirituality and religion