Author Archives: Debbie B. Riley, LCMFT

When your teen might need adoption therapy.

When Therapy Is in Order

When Therapy Is in Order

Sometimes, a teen's behavior calls for outside help. What to watch for and how to find the right adoption therapist.

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A mother explaining her teen's adoption story

Answering Tough Questions

As your teen's thinking becomes more sophisticated, she'll want to know more about her adoption.

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Adoption Support Groups

Adoption Support Groups for Teens

An adoption support group can provide a safe and comfortable venue for your teen to explore adoption and his larger identity in a new, more complex way.

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Helping Adopted Teenagers Stand Up for Themselves

For Adoptive Parents: Helping Adopted Teenagers Stand on Their Own

In the middle-school years, parents must step back and help their child learn to stand up for herself, in school and in the larger world.

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Myths about teenagers include "adopted teens are moodier," like this angry girl

Myths About Teens

In a quandary over what's normal — and what's not — about your teen? Here's what you should know.

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Adopted Gay Teen

If Your Teen Is Gay

Bruce had been a cheerful, outgoing child who had many friends. But when he turned 15, his parents noticed a change in him. He seemed more withdrawn and less gregarious. One day, when Bruce and his mother, Karen, were driving home from school, he seemed particularly down. When Karen asked him what was wrong, he said, "I'm not who you think I am."

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identity-formation-in-adolescence

Birth Parents on Their Minds

Your teen probably spends a lot of time thinking (or fantasizing) about her birth mother. Here's how to get some of those thoughts out in the open.

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Tween adoptees can undergo identity struggles

“I Just Don’t Fit In”

Tween adoptees may walk away from their cultural heritage, family outings, and even their family as they try to fit in with peers.

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A group of teenagers working through the "who am I" question together

“Who am I?” The Complex Quest of Adolescent Adoptees

Every teen is involved in the complicated process of forming an identity. For adoptees, the process has a few extra layers.

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Tips for revealing painful adoption details to your child.

Revealing Painful Adoption Details

Children need to know their full stories before the teen years. Why, and how, to explain troubling information.

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Talking about sex with your teenager may be awkward

Talking with Teens About Sex and Dating

Having "the talk" with your teen is necessary — and it can turn into an emotional conversation about birth parents.

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Identity development for teens in blended families can be tricky.

Teens in Blended Families

When their family also includes biological children, adoptees can have complex feelings about siblings and their own sense of belonging.

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Leaving the nest is a big step in a teen's life

All Grown Up

A parent's role changes when a teen leaves the nest. Here's how to start relating to your child as a young adult, and reinforce your bond.

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Cover of Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens

[Book Review] Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens

Originally conceived and written as a guide for therapists working with adopted adolescents, Beneath the Mask is a valuable resource for parents.

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