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12 Ways To Nurture Your Teenager (The Kids Are Alright!?)

A couple of days ago I published a post inspired by the suicide of teenager, Michael Blosil – Marie Osmond’s son. I encouraged a discussion of why our teens are in such distress and dying. I’d like to start a chat regarding what we can do to turn things around.

As I said in the first post, not all teenagers are emotionally or mentally ill. Nor are they all junkies. Nor are they all punks. Nonetheless, we have a serious problem here in the Good ‘Ole USofA and we need to embrace it and take action.

As much psychiatric emergency work as I do, I’ve seen a wide variety of very tragic and sad situations. A few examples – cannabis induced psychosis, self-injury, suicidal/homicidal ideation and attempts, acute mania, severe opposition and conduct issues, runaways, and alcohol and drug abuse.

It’s heartbreaking, and you can’t know how many times I drive home from these crises in deep gratitude that my two teens (and, yes, their mother and I) aren’t dealing with the same circumstances.

If I were writing a book about what we can do to relieve or cure the problem, I’d have to approach it in sections. We’d need to design prevention strategies that would begin in childhood. And, of course, we’d have to discuss maintenance and intervention strategies for the adolescent years. But this is a post, so how ’bout we cut to the chase and work on a list of very basic ideas.

“The Kids Are Alright!?” Nurture List…

  • Express your love in a simple and consistent manner – it’s unconditional or it’s useless
  • If you don’t feel love for your child, seek immediate counsel
  • Listen – and skip the judgment
  • Be a role model – how can you ask something of your child for which you aren’t the example
  • Be there – no mater what you’re doing or the severity of your child’s circumstances
  • Be firm but fair – this is no popularity contest
  • Encourage open and honest expression
  • Don’t use your child to resolve your past frustrations and inadequacies
  • Encourage quiet time and spirituality
  • Keep your word
  • It’s about your child, not you
  • With permission, be a mentor to someone else’s child(ren)
  • Your input…

To make the best possible list we need your input. Won’t you share in the comment box?

  • Excellent post and topic!
    I think another prevention topic is talking about what happens when there is undiagnosed and/or untreated alcohol abuse or alcoholism in the home. That kind of “craziness” — the drinker’s behaviors, the non-drinker’s behaviors towards the drinker and other the family members and the various family member’s changing coping strategies and attitudes towards one another as they all try to cope with the elephant in the living room — is a huge source of anxiety and depression – especially for children. When children grow up in this they have no idea that it is not a normal situation, that they are not the cause of it…. It is critical that we expand our alcohol education programs to include secondhand drinking — a term to describe the impacts of a person’s alcohol misuse on others.

    • Bill

      Excellent point Lisa; and I really like the term “secondhand drinking.” Thanks for participating. Readers – I mentioned Lisa’s blog a few days ago. It’s an excellent resource for anything having to do with alcohol abuse/dependence. Check it out at