Adolescence has been called the "second toddlerhood." Unfortunately, in this stage there are more words, stronger physiques, and headier arguments than any parent of a three year-old ever sees!

As a therapist I find this age group amazingly rewarding and unendingly fascinating to work with. This is handy, as it's not easy for frustrated parents to recall their own fascination for a child they may no longer recognize.

I try to be as helpful as I can to parents, while respecting how difficult it may be to allow someone else in to this important relationship with their child. Often it helps to refer parents of my adolescent patients to colleagues who help them learn how to deal with their own feelings about this sensitive stage in parenting, as well as to adopt new parenting techniques, when necessary.

I am partial to the writing and work of Michael Riera, Ph.D., whose books have served to guide me in my thinking. I especially recommend "Staying Connected to Your Teen-Ager: How to Keep Them Talking To You and How to Hear What They're Really Saying." If you want to be well prepared to keep the lines of communication open with your teen, this is a book you should read.

When other resources such as testing psychologists, educational therapists, or psychiatrists (for medication referrals) are needed I rely on a trusted group of professionals who can round out the team your child may need in order to navigate this difficult time. However, most often, what she needs is someone who is hers alone, outside the family circle, to help her explore new feelings, new ways of thinking, and develop a more mature perspective and healthier coping mechanisims.