Using Literature to Help Troubled Teenagers Cope with Family Issues

By Joan F. Kaywell | Go to book overview
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Preface

This volume--focusing on family issues--was written in hope that the caretakers of our nation's distraught youth can acquire understanding and new knowledge on how to better help troubled teenagers cope with various family problems in healthier and more constructive ways. By combining the expertise of literacy experts with psychologists, psychiatrists, or therapists, perhaps together we can provide a means to increase these adolescents' literacy while offering them the special help they need.

As mentioned in the Series Foreword, my escape and my salvation during my teenage years came from books--not drugs, alcohol, sex, food, gangs, or guns. Think about young people who are both illiterate and in pain! Not too long ago--after experiencing extensive therapy for being a "severe trauma survivor"--I asked myself, "Is there anything we can do to help unfortunate teenagers with their problems while increasing their literacy skills?" Since most of our nation's prisoners are illiterate--the actingout side--and most homeless people are not exactly Rhodes scholars--the withdrawal side--it seems logical to try to help these adolescents while they are still within the educational system. I believe we can help, but all involved parties must learn how to communicate better; much can be learned by combining the expertise of different helping professionals.

Like education, psychology as a profession has become research based. Educators and parents, by and large, have not been exposed to various terms frequently used by counselors. I did not even know, for example, what a "severe trauma survivor" was, much less realize that I was one. With the exception of the opening chapter written by Chris Crutcher, who is a writer and

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