About This Book

Being a teenager is difficult even under idyllic circumstances. But when bad things happen, the challenges of being a teenager can be overwhelming, leading to self-destructive behavior, eating disorders, substance abuse, and other challenges. In addition, many teens are faced with illness, car accidents, loss of loved ones, divorces, or other upheavals. This book includes 101 of our best stories about the toughest teenage times — and how to overcome them.

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Five ways for teens to get through difficult times
Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Tough Times
By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark

Your teenage years can be one of the most challenging times of your life. Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed and alone, so it's helpful to remember that other teens are going through the same things that you are. It will get better. In Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Tough Times, other teens just like you share their experiences overcoming trials like substance abuse, self-destructive behavior, eating disorders, death or injury of loved ones, and family dysfunction. Here are five tips to help you through a tough time.

  1. You can make a new path for yourself. Growing up with an alcoholic mother, Monique Fields learned firsthand the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. So she always orders a Shirley Temple when she goes out. "The sparkling Sprite with grenadine and a maraschino cherry allows me to pretend, to fit in with my friends somehow," Monique writes. When her mother drank, she became violent and would disappear for days partying. One of the several times she entered rehab, Monique pleaded with her to change. It took thirty years, losing her marriage, her children and her home before her mother stopped drinking. She's been sober for five years now. "Meanwhile, I kept my promise. I didn't drink, either," Monique writes. "I stepped outside my mother's footsteps and walked in another direction."
  2. Love instead of blame. The Whites became like second family to Kathy Johnson Gale. Unlike her family, they never placed blame when something went wrong, and Kathy bonded with them immediately. One summer she went on a road trip with the three White sisters: Sarah, Jane and Amy. No one knows why, but Amy, a new driver, drove through a stop sign at an intersection. Unable to stop in time, a tractor-trailer smashed into the car and killed Jane instantly. The Whites were devastated, but never blamed or accused Amy. Kathy later asked why. Mrs. White told her that blaming Amy would not bring Jane back, and it would ruin the rest of Amy's life. That was a powerful lesson for Kathy. "I learned from the Whites that blame really isn't very important," she writes. "Sometimes, there's no use for it at all."
  3. Speak up. Maggie McCarthy worried about her friend Hannah, who got more depressed as the eighth grade school year went on. Hannah withdrew from her friends and seemed to hate herself. One morning, Hannah confessed to Maggie and their group of friends that she had almost committed suicide. Maggie and her friends didn't know how, but they knew they needed to help Hannah. So they made the difficult decision to tell the school counselor, who in turn told Hannah's mother. "It turned out she was relieved and grateful that she didn't have to keep her secret any longer," Maggie writes. Hannah began counseling and got better. "If we had not taken that long horrible walk to the counseling office, we may not have been able to share high school memories with Hannah. I know now that when we took that walk, it gave us the ability to give her the greatest gift of all… her life."
  4. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Jenny Deyo's new boyfriend seemed great at first. But after two months, he became controlling and easily angered. He would yell, push and kick Jenny. The abuse progressively got worse. "I tried to justify his actions by believing they showed how much he cared about me," Jenny writes. "As a ninth grader, it made me feel important to be in love and have a steady boyfriend." But it wasn't love. She lost her friends and her family "became my worst enemy." Her parents tried to help her countless times. When the violence escalated, Jenny finally realized she had to break off the relationship. She confided in her parents. "They helped me," she writes. "They took me straight to the police station to file charges." That was the first step in her healing process. "I have learned instead to focus on living my life to the fullest and cherishing the people I truly love," Jenny writes.
  5. Appreciate your parents. Diana Carson always thought her mom would be there for the special events in her life—prom, graduation, her wedding. But when her mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in both lungs, Diana learned her mom did not have long to live. Over eight months, Diana and her siblings watched as their mom lost her battle with cancer. Her mom, and family, became the most important thing to her. "I can't even count how many times I told her that I loved her," Diana writes of the last time she saw her mom. Though Diana still struggles with her mom's death, she shares her story because she learned an important lesson the hard way. "I'm sure that at least one of you reading this thinks that life would be so much better without your parents," she writes. "I have a little tip for you: Live life to the fullest and love your parents. It's hard to go on without them."
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