Teenagers and Depression - Resources for Parents

Rescuing Your Teenager from Depression by Norman T. Berlinger, M.D., Ph.D.

Adolescent Depression: A Guide for Parents by Espen Asrseth

Continue reading Teenagers and Depression – Resources for Parents

Open Circle

For several years, I have been following the work of Open Circle which is a program of Wellesley Centers for Women in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Open Circle is focused on addressing social and emotional learning needs in schools and has been designated as a select program by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Their curriculum is taught in hundreds of schools in Massachusetts and other Northeast locations.

They have some great resources available on-line including their newsletter, literature connection list, and audio and video files of a recent lunchtime talk by Peg Sawyer, B.S. Ed, a trainer and coach at Open Circle. Ms. Sawyer discusses using literature to support childrens’ social and emotional learning.




Moving, transitions, and making new friends

Here are a couple of picture books that explore the challenging transitions that come with moving to a new home and leaving friends behind. Books are a great way for children to put words to their life experiences and to reassure them that their feelings are not unusual.

Neville by Norton Juster and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Ages 4 and up








According to the publisher, Neville, “written by the acclaimed author of The Phantom Tollbooth, is a simply told story about a boy who moves to a new neighborhood and finds a unique way to make friends. With whimsical illustrations by award-winning illustrator G. Brian Karas, here is a read-aloud that’s great for storytime, and is sure to be a hit among fans of Juster, Karas, and anyone who is “the new kid on the block.”


Moving House by Mark Siegel

Ages 3 and up











From the book jacket – “The fog in Foggytown was so thick that people bumped into parking meters . . . and streetlamps . . . and each other!

So Joey and Chloe’s parents decide it’s time to move. But Joey and Chloe love their house. And as it turns out, their house loves them . . . and has a very special and utterly fantastic way of taking matters into its own hands.”

“Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection”

Are you curious about boys’ friendships and social connections? If so, consider adding this recently published book, Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection to your reading list. The author, Niobe Way, is a Professor of Applied Psychology at New York University and director of the Ph.D. program in Developmental Psychology.

Below is a summary from the publisher.

“Boys are emotionally illiterate and don’t want intimate friendships.” In this empirically grounded challenge to our stereotypes about boys and men, Niobe Way reveals the intense intimacy among teenage boys especially during early and middle adolescence. Boys not only share their deepest secrets and feelings with their closest male friends, they claim that without them they would go “wacko.” Yet as boys become men, they become distrustful, lose these friendships, and feel isolated and alone.

Drawing from hundreds of interviews conducted throughout adolescence with black, Latino, white, and Asian American boys, Deep Secrets reveals the ways in which we have been telling ourselves a false story about boys, friendships, and human nature. Boys’ descriptions of their male friendships sound more like “something out of Love Story than Lord of the Flies.” Yet in late adolescence, boys feel they have to “man up” by becoming stoic and independent. Vulnerable emotions and intimate friendships are for girls and gay men. “No homo” becomes their mantra.

These findings are alarming, given what we know about links between friendships and health, and even longevity. Rather than a “boy crisis,” Way argues that boys are experiencing a “crisis of connection” because they live in a culture where human needs and capacities are given a sex (female) and a sexuality (gay), and thus discouraged for those who are neither. Way argues that the solution lies with exposing the inaccuracies of our gender stereotypes and fostering these critical relationships and fundamental human skills.”

Two Homes

“Young Alex introduces himself and his parents, then announces that he has two homes: sometimes he lives with Daddy (in a suburban house) and sometimes with Mommy (in a city apartment). The discussion of his two homes sets up the book’s comfortable dual structure: “I have two rooms. My room at Daddy’s. My room at Mommy’s . . . I have two bathrooms. I have a toothbrush at Daddy’s. I have a toothbrush at Mommy’s.” Each spread includes complementary pictures that show the boy engaged in similar activities at both locales. The ending affirms that his parents love Alex, no matter where he is and no matter where they are.” by Booklist Carolyn Phelan

This book is a helpful resource to use with young children – preschool-1st grade.  The book’s tone is empathic and matter-of-fact while addressing common concerns that come up for children who live in two households. Practical details of living in two homes are illustrated and described and the reader is reassured that no matter what, mom and dad still love them.


Ginny Moris and Dad's New Girlfriend

by Mary Collins Gallagher and Whitney Martin

“Grade 3–5—Ginny’s parents have recently divorced, and the fifth grader wishes that they would get back together. When she realizes that her dad has a girlfriend, she fakes being sick and calls her mom from school, even though it is her week to be with her father. Her mother gets to the bottom of the problem and suggests that Ginny talk to her dad and try to work it out. All of the problems, including the fight she has with her best friend, are easily resolved by the end of this short chapter book, providing a perhaps inauthentic view of the ease with which relationships can be mended. The text is easy to read, and the story line has enough action to hold children’s interest. The simple line drawings are well executed and add to the book’s appeal. Although written specifically to help youngsters who are dealing with divorce, this title is less didactic than most children’s self-help books. In the back of the book, a psychologist gives readers advice about how to handle having a dating parent. It will be useful to both children and their parents.” ( School Library Journal)

In my work, this book is popular with many upper elementary age children, either as part of a group curriculum or in one-on-one settings. The book describes many of the concerns, fears, questions and curiosities that come when mom or dad has a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Ginny Morris and Mom's House Dad's House

by Mary Collins Gallagher and Whitney Martin

“Ginny Morris is in the fourth grade, and her parents have been divorced for two years. She goes back and forth between her mother’s apartment and her father’s house, switching each Sunday (“switch day”). As Ginny confronts challenges, she finds practical solutions for the things in her control and ways to feel better about and accept the things that are not. She also manages to assert her feelings and needs appropriately with her parents and to negotiate some compromises. This book (and the other two volumes in the series) deals with the “other” issues of divorce, namely joint custody, dating parents, blended families, and the associated practical and emotional challenges.” (Publisher’s description)

This book is a popular resource for upper elementary-age children either as part of a group curriculum or in one-on-one settings. The book’s main character, Ginny, experiences challenges, frustrations and questions common to many children who go back and forth between two homes.

When My Parents Forgot How to Be Friends

by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos and Marta Fabrega

“My parents used to be friends and I was happy. We did everything together. Then things started changing. My parents were always sad, and when they talked it was only to argue. I used to think it was my fault that my parents weren’t friends any longer… but now I understand that they can get along better if they each live in a different house. Whatever happens, my mom and dad will never stop being my parents… best of all… they will always love me.” (Summary from the back cover)

This book is a resource to use with children, ages 4-8 who are or have experienced separation or divorce in their family. The story reassures children that their parents will still love them, even when they cannot get along with each other or live together anymore. It also reminds children that they are not to blame for their parents inability to be friends with each other.


Encouraging Movement - Cooperative Game Ideas

Children spend a lot of their school day sitting. But we know that movement provides benefits for body and brain. Below are some resources to help incorporate more physical activity into the classroom routine.


Learning to Play, Playing to Learn : Games and Activities to Teach Sharing, Caring, and Compromise by Charlie Steffens and Spencer Gorin

Great Games for Young Children by Rae Pica

99 Activities and Greetings by Melissa Correa-Connolly

Energizers! 88 Quick Movement Activities That Refresh and Refocus K–6 by Susan Lattanzi Roser

36 Games Kids Love by Adrian Harrison

Silver Bullets by Karl Rohnke

Quicksilver by Karl Rohnke and Steve Butler

The Trick Bag: A Handbook for Anyone Reaching Out To Kids by Michelle Karns

Children’s Book of Yoga: Games & Exercises Mimic Plants & Animals & Objects by Thia Lub

My Daddy is a Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids by Barron Baptiste

Om Yoga Today: A Yoga Practice for 5, 15, 30, 60, and 90 Minutes by Cyndi Lee

Internet Resources:

Activities and Energizers – Responsive Classroom is a great resource for movement ideas.

Is Sitting Lethal?” New York Times




Summer Reading List

As we head into summer, I want to share three books that I have read and recommended this year. Perhaps you will want to add them to your summer reading list.

Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades by Michelle Anthony, M.A., PH.D and Reyna Lindert, PH.D

This is a must read for parents and educators of girls – ages 5-10. Over the years, I have read many books about girls and their social relationships and this one is excellent. Informative, easy to read, with practical tips and strategies that can be implemented right away. The concepts described in the book are illustrated with real life examples. Shared throughout the book are common social challenges girls face as they navigate friendships in elementary school. If you want to learn more, check out the link below for a summary of some of the key concepts in the book.

That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week: Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life by Ana Hoayoun

Although this book is directed towards the needs of boys, I recommend it for parents of boys and girls, upper elementary and older. The author, Ana Hoayoun, owns a tutoring/educational consulting business in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her book, Ms. Hoayoun shares insight and understanding, gained through her work with many young people. This book is a resource that can be read as needed, one chapter at a time. Chapter topics include “Identifying Your Son’s (Dis)organized Style, “Strategies for Quizzes, Tests, Projects and Finals”, “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: Helping Your Son De-Stress, Recharge and Grow.”

You can learn more about the book at

The third book on my recommended reading list is a long-time favorite.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

This book has been around for quite a while and continues to be a great communication resource for parents. How To Talk… is described as a tool-kit, and is based on a series of workshops developed by the authors. One review of the book describes it as a “step-by-step approach to improving relationships in your house. The “Reminder” pages, helpful cartoon illustrations, and excellent exercises will improve your ability as a parent to talk and problem-solve with your children. The book can be used alone or in parenting groups, and the solid tools provided are appropriate for kids of all ages.”

Happy reading!