Surviving Adolescence

Dear Parents,

I  am not sure if the title of this post is meant to be read as tips for parents on surviving their child’s journey through adolescence or tips for parents to help their adolescents survive themselves. I see now the answer is both. Even the idea of having to “survive” something gives me pause–adolescence is dramatic and there are risks all around that do seem to ratchet up to a life threatening level.

Bigger bodies; wilder ideas; intrusive thoughts of self- and other-destruction; constant pressures and stressors; greater external demands; perennial shifting sands of identity confusion; tsunamis of self doubt and shame; impending dread of adult responsibilities; emotional delay and 4 to 8 years of developmental gaps in executive function; the perfect storm of hormonal, traumatic, and systemic dysregulation; and the scorching, yet implicit, projective fire from primal wounding make the teen years tantamount to terrifying for all involved.

When teens with disorganized attachment, despite years of therapeutic intervention, have not made it over the jagged peaks of attachment challenge into the cradle of parental love and acceptance, the clear path to harmony, peace and love is scrambled.  The way is obscured and left strewn with jagged debris, crater-sized pitfalls, emotional quicksand, and a constant fear of lost footing that could cause a child to impulsively leap over the edge or a parent to give a little shove right at the end.  Resist the urge to let them go down or push them over. Adolescence passes. It really does. Keeping everyone safe through the ordeal might end up being the only true mission.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

I didn’t actually title this blog Tips for Surviving Adolescence because those kinds of tip lists are for ordinary children.  This is an extraordinary time for you and your child.  There are few right answers and certainly no useful tips. While many will offer advice, don’t be fooled.  You must live lovingly every day on this treacherous journey to keep your adolescent safe from their own inability to make sound decisions.  Sometimes that will seem harsh or cruel, too strict or too permissive. Sometimes it well seem abandoning. From your child’ eyes, all parenting may seem unloving.  Only you can know what steps are best right now. And only you can know just how “not right” all the steps feel.  I have done my best, when walking in similar shoes, to gather wise counsel around me, and ultimately I have relied upon my trusted better angels for guidance.

Steady on. Carry on. Press on. Love on. Love trumps fear and adolescence.  I promise.

Love matters,


Attention monthly adoptive parent support group attendees:  

Our Monthly Support Group for Therapeutic Parents will not be held on the 2nd Wednesday in September, 2016.  We will have an alternative group meeting on the 3rd Wednesday of September, which is September 21st at 6pm at our office at 3406 American River Drive, Ste D, Sacramento, CA.  Childcare provided.

Next Therapeutic Parenting Class is scheduled for October 1, 2016 from 9am to 5pm.  Sign-up on  Sorry this date moved around a little. We are about to move our office and the new office is taking longer to build out than expected.  We will go forward with the original Oct. 1st date.  Sign up on our website:


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