This is a blog addressed especially to you. I am very excited about beginning what I hope will be useful for you. I hope you will give me feedback and let me know if it is interesting to you.
But before you start reading my blog, I need to share something very important with you. This is a public blog. Do not write anything personal on this blog: it can be seen by a lot of people. If you feel that you need to talk to someone about your situation, please talk to your parents or other close adults. You can also talk to a counselor at school or to a pastor, priest, rabbi, or someone in your religious community. If necessary, you can even talk to the police to get help.
Who am I and why would I want to talk to teens, both boys and girls?
So, let me start with the “who am I?”
I am a psychologist. A psychologist is a person who studies human development. A psychologist wants to understand why people are the way they are. What happens to change them? How do they become the persons they become.
I have discovered that this is a question that is very important to teenagers. They are the ones that are turning into something. That something is adults. But teenagers have just come out of childhood and they don’t know what adults they will turn into. They are often confused and even scared, if they’ll admit it.
In my work with teens in schools, in shelters, in neighborhood programs, and even in my office where they come for help when they feel stuck, I have found that teens love to talk and to hear about themselves, about what they are going through. This is, of course, not true of teens only, most people want to know what makes them the persons they are. Many people, moreover, often struggle with that and would like to be different.
There is so much going on around us that it is often confusing. How do we know what we really want? How do we get it, once we know? How do we make a plan? How do we stay on track? How do we get back on track when we get lost?
All these are very important questions for teens and for everyone. I think teens are even more in need of explanations as this is their first time trying to understand their world and how to operate in it. I feel teens are often starving for understanding of what needs to happen for them in order to become adults and enter the adult world.
One teen said to me recently: “I want to be me but I don’t know who I am.” That said it all! She was trying to be true to herself but she felt confused, unsure of what she needed. The world is a very complicated place for all of us, but it is particularly complicated for teens.
But don’t be discouraged. Adolescence – the teen years – are very exciting. They are the beginning of your independent life. They are the time you are struggling to find out who you are AND who you want to become.
Most books are written for parents to help them help their teens. Many of those books are wonderful but I think that speaking directly to you, the teen, is a better option. You’re the expert on what you’re feeling and thinking. You can think about yourself and use the tools that I am going to offer you.
I am writing a book to do just that: give you tools to find out who you are and who you want to be.