Teen Speak launching this September

Teen Speak: A how-to guide for real talks with teens about sex, drugs and other risky behaviors.

Take yourself back to your teen years. Many memories—and probably regrets—come to mind. If you were a 70s teen, you’re probably thinking of bell bottoms and feathered hair. Or if you were an 80s teen, you are probably dreaming of listening to Madonna on your Walkman. And then there were the 90s—the the era of Spice Girls, Scrunchies and Hot Wheels.

How would you sum up today’s teen? A smartphone-addicted Justin Bieber fan? There’s something much deeper behind every teen than meets the eye. It’s an important time where lifestyles, attitudes and beliefs are molded and identities are created. It’s also a time where teens are engaging in risky behaviors that can cause unfortunate consequences such as serious injury or death.

As parents, we can have a tremendous amount of influence on our teens. Although that’s not new news, it’s important to remember how vital it is to to foster strong, trusting relationships with our teens.

In just three months, I will be launching my first book on this very topic. In Teen Speak: A how-to guide for real talks with teens about sex, drugs and other risky behaviors, I combine my professional expertise in adolescent behavior with a mother’s wisdom to help parents build strong relationships with their teenagers. If you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable talking to your tween or teen about sex, body image, substance use, or issues such as suicide and depression, you’re not alone.

Millions of parents struggle to engage in difficult discussions with their teens.  But it’s critical to know how to tackle these difficult conversations to keep our teens safe.

This book presents practical communication strategies based on the ways teens think, act, and do the things they do—to help them make safer decisions when it comes to risky behaviors. Strategies are presented in an easy-to-use guide for parents and others interested in helping teens.

The book provides a detailed road map on how to get the conversation started, using real-world examples of teen-parent interactions and sample responses to common scenarios to support positive change and safer decision-making. In this book, you’ll gain practical strategies for connecting with your teen to reduce their risks, set them up for long-term success, and develop trusting relationships that will continue into adulthood.

Teen Speak presents practical strategies that encourages parents to ask directive questions, let your teen do the talking, and really listen to what they have to say. Your teen telling you how they plan to stay safe is key in them actually following through with that plan. Some conversation-starters include:

  • What are your thoughts about sex?
  • How will you handle being offered a drink at a party or when you are at a friend’s house?
  • Where can you put your phone so that you are not texting and driving?
  • What would it take for you to feel more in control of your emotions?

As you can see by these questions, it’s all about empowering your teen to take control of their decisions. The earlier you can get them talking about risky situations and the more they think through and plan, the less likely they are to engage in unsafe behaviors.

If you’d like to read excerpts from the book before it’s launched this September, please contact me at jsalerno@raaps.org. I’d love to give you sneak peek!

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