sometimes having a simple conversation
can be the hardest thing to do.

it can also be the difference-maker.

How we approach problems
and tough conversations
can be a game-changer
for teens, parents,
and the parent/teen relationship.

Workbook Excerpt

Talk To Me Parent Workbook:
Navigating Today's
Tough Topics With Your Teen

Lisa Wright, MA, MEd
long-time Texas educator/
current high school counselor

Book Excerpt

Chapter 2: Brain Development

*Your son runs his truck through a fence. The first day he has his license. On the day of his basketball tryouts. That he has been talking about since...yesterday.

*Your daughter skips her 3rd period class and hides in the bathroom at school. Because she saw a social media post about her ex- ex- boyfriend and her ex- ex- ex- best friend from junior high, and the writer of that post is in the same classroom for 4th period, which comes into the same room at the end of 3rd period. Duh. (Insert a heavy huff and an eye-roll emoji here.)

*Your daughter’s school calls to alert you about a relationship your daughter has been having with a much older man she met online that came to light after one of her friends asked the school counselor for help.

*You walk by your teen when she is on one of her social media pages and notice that she has 7500 followers. You wonder how she can even know 7500 people.

*A school administrator calls you about your son when the administrator discovers “questionable” images and videos on your son’s phone after your son was accused of sharing inappropriate images of his girlfriend, which she admits she willingly gave him.

*You learn that one of your son’s closest friends has made a suicide attempt. You are shocked that such a “good kid” from such a “strong family” could ever feel this way. You wonder if your son might be feeling the same way or make this same decision, and you become fearful of saying the “wrong thing” to your son, so you don’t say anything so that you don’t “give him any ideas.”

*You wake up at 3:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom and discover that your daughter’s phone, which should be on the charger in the kitchen, is missing. When you check on your daughter, you find her room empty (on a school night, no less). Later, you learn that she left the house with a friend. You have talked to her about getting more sleep and working on her grades at school but aren’t sure what else to do. *

Yes, these are somewhat stereotypical scenarios (or are they?). Life is not a stereotype, but stereotypical behavior happens every day in the lives of teens, and adults are often the main ones left pulling their hair out. Navigating life with a teenager can be very, very difficult. Or, it can be, well, less difficult. It’s all in your approach, and the better you understand your teen and yourself, the less stressful your lives can be. (Notice that I didn’t say stress-free, because that’s just not how real life works. More on that later.)

It is important to remember that teens are making decisions with teen brains. It only looks like a “bad decision” to you as an adult because you are thinking with an adult brain. Think of it this way: Remember the last time(s) you really (and I mean really) lived in the moment: carefree, no worries about tomorrow, no “what-ifs” about potential consequences, all focus on the here and now? That was you, thinking with your teen brain. Teen life: Fun, but potentially very risky.

Working with (and understanding) your teens and meeting them “where they are” developmentally, however, can lead to more peaceful, productive existence for all involved in the roller coaster ride that is the teen years.


As you progress throughout this workbook, keep the important reminders from Chapter 1 in mind. Review those reminders as needed.

Brain Development

1. Think of a recent time your teen did something that you found so (insert your own adjective here— scatterbrained, irresponsible, frustrating, aggravating—because it seemingly defied logic, etc.) that it made you wonder if anything you had ever said to him/her prior to this event in your lives had sunk in. Briefly describe that situation.

2. Think of another time like above, but one in which your teen told you not to worry about it because your teen “has it under control” or some similar statement, when you clearly could see he/she did not “have it under control.” Describe that situation.

Talk To Me Parent Workbook: Navigating Today's Tough Topics With Your Teens (2020) by Lisa Wright, MA, MEd, High School Counselor is available on Amazon.


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