Teen fulfilled her bucket list by sacrificing herself to save a friend’s life

water drop

A 17-year-old Connecticut teen is inspiring acts of kindness after her death earlier this month.

On July 2, 2015, Rebecca Townsend attended a fireworks show in Danbury, Conn. with her friend, Ben Arne. As the two were walking back, a vehicle struck them. According to BuzzFeed News, Ben told the family that he remembered Rebecca pushing him out of the way just before the impact. Ben was hospitalized; Rebecca was killed.

(Excerpt from Jaleesa Jones’s article in USA Today)

How a poem helped save a suicidal teen’s life

There are whole books devoted to demonstrating the power of the written word to soothe pain and heal the tortured mind, the most prominent perhaps “The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies.”And there are studies of the brain showing how the healing happens. There’s even a name for the practice of prescribing literature for its rehabilitative effects: “bibliotherapy.”

(Excerpt from Fred Barbash’s article in the Washington Post.)

Walking- A Poem by Violet



A poem by Violet

The snow superimposes
a new palette on reality;
it muffles,
cuts away sound
until all that remains
is itself,
a wet distorted squeak
beneath our feet.

Reflecting the fluffy sky
in piles all around,
it makes the world
a suspended dream,
a quiet empty earth
for our solitude.

We inhale
the soft sharp air,
arm in arm,
faces cold,
hands anonymous in gloves;
We pull our feet through the growing, glittering drift,

like draft horses going uphill.
Our breath turns to clouds,
floating up like a train’s nostrils,
and dissolves into the cold.


Violet describes how she sees herself. When she says “snow superimposes a new palette on reality,” she is talking about what you can see of her on the outside and the inner layers of her being. You don’t always get to see the whole person and there might be much more beneath the surface. She also sees the earth as a “suspended dream.” What we see through our eyes does not always seem real to us or fit with what we know about ourselves.

(Excerpt from Make the Best of Your Teen Years: 105 Ways to Do It)

What Parents and Kids Should Know About Selfies

Young blonde woman taking a photo of herself in a park on a sunny day

With words such as “selfie” and “hashtag” added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary this year, it’s obvious online interactions have made a significant impact on modern culture. And according to Pamela Rutledge, a media psychologist and director of the Media Psychology Research Center in Newport Beach, California, social media is here to stay – whether people like the selfie culture or not.

(Excerpt from Hannah Webster’s article in US News and World Report- Read the rest of the article here.)

Why Teens Intentionally Hurt Themselves

emotional pain

New research shows that self-harming behavior may be on the rise among teens. Those who do it say it’s a way to deal with emotional pain.

The first time Ruth Carter remembers harming herself, she was 13 years old and helping make banners for her eighth grade graduation ceremony.

“We were putting it all together with hot glue,” said Carter, of Phoenix, Arizona, “and I purposely — quote ‘accidentally’ — used too much hot glue on one of the pieces, knowing that when I pushed down, hot glue would leak out the sides and I would burn myself.”

Excerpt from Shawn Radcliffe’s article in Healthline News. Read the rest of the article here.

Teen stress rivals that of adults

APA’s Stress in America™ survey finds unhealthy behavior in teens, especially during the school year.

If you think you’re stressed out, imagine being a teenager in today’s society. American teens say they experience stress in patterns similar to adults, and during the school year they report stress levels even higher than those reported by adults.

(Excerpt from Sophie Bethune’s article in The Monitor on Psychology- Read the rest of the article here)

Welcome to my Teen Blog

Make the Best cover

Welcome to my website for teens.

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.

You will also find practical suggestions at the end of each chapter. 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. You will also find additional suggestions throughout the book.

My hope in writing this book is that you will come away with a little better understanding of what weighs on other teens today 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.