If you take it really seriously, parenthood is the most challenging job you’ll ever have. The hours are long and the pay stinks. It requires the most emotional investment and the greatest patience. And no matter how well you do it, there will always be that nagging little voice in your head wondering, “Should I have handled that differently?” But parenthood is also the most rewarding and important role you’ll ever play. And the good news is that we're all in this together...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


PFLAG recently released an excellent new publication  "OUR TRANS LOVED ONES: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR PARENTS, FAMILIES, AND FRIENDS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE TRANSGENDER AND GENDER EXPANSIVE that beautifully addresses some of the issues families face, serving as a supportive guidebook of experiences, expertise, knowledge, and resources. 

One paragraph serves as brilliant advice for all of us:
The most important thing for all children to know, at a very deep level, is that they are loved unconditionally. It seems like a fundamental concept of family, but when children are brave enough to look at themselves at such a deep level and share their reflections with those around them, it is crucial to remind them over and over of how proud you are of them for asserting this level of authenticity.  It is the bravest thing a human being can do and when a child is celebrated for doing so by a parent, caretaker, family member, or friend, it can be heartwarming; more importantly, it can be lifesaving.


The website Teen Safe (www.teen-safe.org) is designed to foster better family communication, promote resilience and healthy activities, and reduce risky teen behaviors via true-life stories, scientific evidence, and helpful educational materials for parents and teens/pre-teens. The site offers a free 15-minute video course for parents that is quite informative about the effects of substance use on teen brain development. The section detailing the impact of early marijuana use of mental health is especially worth noting as medical marijuana is beginning to be a part of our culture. It’s only 15 minutes long, and at least one local pediatrician is asking all his patients’ parents to check it out!


Today, as never before, the lives of adolescents are saturated with commercial marketing, targeted through video games, the Internet, and those omnipresent mini-computers -- cell phones. The level of digital activity and saturation is daunting. But I just ran across a website (yes, I know, the internet!) that offers some measure of direct guidance for parents. Boston Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Michael Rich also happens to be a media enthusiast and something of an expert on the subject. He offers advice to parents via the hospital's Center on Media and Child Health. Through “Ask the Mediatrician,” parents can pose questions and get answers about how media use is affecting out children, with topics ranging from cyberbullying to the impact of multi-tasking on brain development, and he's dealing with questions both general and quite specific.  Check it out...


The American psychotherapist, educator and clinical social worker Wendy Maltz came up with a dynamite little acronym for codifying the basics of healthy sexuality that offers a terrific tool to help adolescents and their parents navigate the gnarly ins and outs of social life. The model is  called CERTS, and whether you're sending an adolescent off to college or back into the quagmire of middle/high school, this is a quick and easy formula to help reinforce some basic information about healthy relationships.

When considering romantic entanglements, keep in mind:
   Consent (it needs to be mutual, sober, awake, enthusiastic, verbal – if there are mixed messages, slow down) 

I’d love to see this on every bathroom door of every school and dormitory across the country!