Parenting can feel downright terrifying when you don't know what’s going on with your tween or teen. 

You know something is wrong but your child says, “I’m good. Everything’s fine.” You want to believe that but something doesn’t feel right. You begin to worry, “Is he drinking? Could she be depressed? Did I do something wrong?” The more you look for clues, the more fearful you become.

I get it. I really do.

I’m Julie Smith, and I help parents and other caring adults learn to translate adolescent behavior to understand what kids really need to thrive.

I vividly remember my tween to teen years. I was not the perfect child. Rather, I was the instigator, the partier, the drop-out and the runaway. I pushed and pulled and punched and kicked, always struggling to find my place in the world.

Over time, I was labeled the “bad kid,” “the loser,” “the wastoid,” “the lost cause.” The reality is that I wasn’t any of those things. I was just a confused teen silently screaming for someone to listen … someone to understand … to help me see that everything would be okay.

Today, I’m a licensed psychotherapist, speaker and author. I’m also a parent of three teens.

Over the years, I have witnessed the pain children and adolescents experience and the helplessness that parents feel when they don’t know what to do. I see the strain in the families when they feel misunderstood and the fear that no one will understand.  It’s a painful cycle that can have lifelong consequences. Children and adolescents have become masters of hiding what is really going on so they aren’t written off as the “bad kid,”  and parents only talk about their suspicions in hushed voices for fear of being labeled the “bad parent.” 

Together, we can smash through the stigma and stereotypes around the issues affecting our kids to help them thrive each day.