© 2023 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Do You Really Know What Your Teen Is Thinking?

Credit chiesADIbeinasco / Creative Commons
Creative Commons

It’s not easy being a teenager today. Teens need to do well in school, give back to the community, participate in extracurricular activities, and keep up with a social scene intensified by social media. We also ask them to act responsibly, make good choices, and think about their future.

We're looking for "adult behavior" from people forced to live under our rules. It's a tough balancing act that comes with a lot of pressure.  

Sometimes, their friends are looking for something different and peer pressure can lead to bad decisions and risky behaviors.

It may not sound like they have to deal with much -- but that’s part of the problem. Adults have a tendency to underestimate what teens feel, and how powerfully they feel it.

And if kids have friends, don’t get in trouble, and get pretty good grades, parents and teachers don’t always notice the kids struggling to cope with emotions hidden beneath the surface.

The World Health Organization says depression is the most common cause of illness and disability for teens between 10 and 19 years old and suicide is the third most common cause of death in adolescents...just behind traffic accidents.

The problem is that we don’t often see it. And, let's face it - teens don’t always want to talk to adults. They think we minimize their problems, don’t always take them seriously, or are sometimes just too busy to help.

Connecticut teacher and author Cindy Rodriguez joins us to talk about her debut novel, When Reason Breaks, a story about two troubled teens navigating the turbulence of family, school, and sexual relationships.  She got us wondering what it's like to be  a teen today.

This hour, we talk to teens about what it’s like to be a teen. You can join the conversation. Leave your comments below, email us at wherewelive@wnpr.org, find us on Facebook, or tweet us @wherewelive.

John Dankosky is the host of Where We Live. Chion Wolf and Tucker Ives contributed to today's show.

Maria Rodriguez helped make cookies for the show. Thank you, Maria!

You can reach Patricia Graham at the Institute of Living Family Resource Center here 


  • Cindy Rodriguez is a middle school reading specialist and the author of "When Reason Breaks"
  • Debra Dean-Ciriani is a marriage and family therapist at The Bridge Family Center
  • Shamoya Hanson is a student at Journalism and Media Academy satellite campus at the CPBN Learning Lab
  • Vi’Quan Herring is a student at Journalism and Media Academy satellite campus at the CPBN Learning Lab
  • Olivia Smith is a student at Classical Magnet in Hartford
  • Corinne King is a student at Farmington High School

This show was made possible in part by support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen initiative. 

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content