About This Book

The teenage years are tough, and when bad things happen, the challenges can be overwhelming. Faced with illness, car accidents, loss of loved ones, divorces, or other upheavals, the obstacles to happiness can seem insurmountable. The 101 stories in this book describe the toughest teenage challenges and how other teens, with the same struggles, overcame them. This collection will be a support and companion for teenagers and will encourage, comfort, and inspire them, showing them that, as tough as things can get, they are not alone/

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Five Ways Teens Can Cope Through Tough Times

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times for Teens

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Amy Newmark.

Being a teenager is exciting but it can also be hard. Everyone has ups and downs during those years between childhood and adulthood. The teens in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times for Teens have had it worse than most, but amidst challenging circumstances they manage to provide comfort and give useful advice to others in similar situations. Here are some tips to help you when you find yourself in tough times.

1. Make great friends; they can make a world of difference. When Janine Russell went to visit her suicidal friend in a hospital where she was receiving treatment, she didn’t know how her friend would respond to her. "Is she going to cry? Is she going to hate me for making her come here? Maybe she won’t even come out of her room at all," she recounts. After they spent hours silently putting a puzzle together, Janine could no longer hold it together for her friend. As Janine fought tears and got up to end the visit, her friend grabbed her hand and tearfully thanked Janine for coming to see her. Janine squeezed her tight and told her it was going to be ok, even if she didn’t entirely believe it. She just hoped the next day’s visit would prove easier and more hopeful.

2. Believe that you are great. Angela Bell enjoyed ballet until her instructor told her to, "Suck in that afternoon snack." Those five words set her on a path to secret diets, which were followed by guilt when she gave in to delicious smelling temptations. By the time M-Day — the day measurements are taken and announced in ballet class — came around, her self-esteem was poisoned by the announcement of her 26-inch waistline. Her parents noticed a change and pulled her out of the class, and began to encourage her by telling her how beautiful she was. Though skeptical, Angela also began to read the Bible and noticed the passages that said she was made in God’s image and began to silence the voice of her dance teacher, realizing that she really was great just the way she was.

3. It’s ok to be "not ok." It had been two years since Sarah Sawicki’s friend, Rachel, lost her battle with cancer. Every time Sarah returned home she’d visit Rachel’s grave, thinking it would help her heal. But, after the one-year mark it got worse, not better. She would burst into tears when something would remind her of Rachel; she’d become sad when she’d experience something new and think about how Rachel didn’t get to have the experience. Her friends would have to convince her to get out of bed and go to class and she began to see a counselor. But, it was one October on a visit home to Rachel’s grave that she noticed the grass on the grave hadn’t grown back yet, unlike the graves all around hers. It was then that Sarah realized how perfect this metaphor was. "I knew that since even the ground hadn’t healed yet, there was no need to rush my mourning process," Sarah said.

4. Realize what’s really important when things get tough. When a deadly tornado hit Chelsey Wright’s small, northern Alabama town, she and her friends and family had no idea how much they would go through in the following months. But through the whole process, they also realized how much hope they have. Chelsey recounts how they learned some valuable lessons: they need each other — and they were forced to get rid of everything that kept them from each other; material things are just that — material things; a strong will and positive outlook are very important qualities to have; there is joy in the simple things: a sweet smile, a hug from a friend, or a listening ear. These things and many more have shown Chelsey and her community that tough times can bring out the best in others and put things in perspective.

5. Take advantage of second chances. Joshua Stephens admits he’s always been a "go big or go home" kind of guy, and when it came to partying there was no exception. In ninth grade, his first drink was a 20-ounce bottle of vodka that found him passed out and his mom pleading that he’d be okay. During his first year out of high school, he and some friends threw a party where he consumed a large amount of drugs and alcohol. On his way home to tell his parents he was joining the Marines instead of going to college, he rolled his car and had to be rushed to the hospital, where the prognosis was bleak. The doctors didn’t expect him to make it through the night and if he did they expected his inhibitions, motor skills, short-term memory and sight would be affected. After a three-day coma, he woke up panicked because he had no vision. On day six, he regained some motor skills. On day seven, he woke up hungry and was able to go down to the cafeteria as if everything was normal. Now a triathlon runner, Joshua says he’s learned a lot since then and that he’s here for something more than himself. "I’m not invincible. I’ve learned to be humble, and that not many people are as lucky and blessed as I have been."

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