On April 15, 2014, licensed counselor and author Karren Garrity led a workshop for parents or teens and tweens that focused on building better relationships. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor, Garrity has been a therapist in Kent, CT since 1998. She graduated with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters of Science in Counseling from Western Connecticut State University.

In January 2013, she published a book, The Tool Box: Building Better Relationships with Teens. Today’s teens live in a very complicated world, and that makes parenting and teaching them more complicated too. Parents, caregivers and teachers need simple ways of doing the day-to-day difficult things. The Tool Box is intended to coach adults who live and work with adolescents, in such a way that the adults survive and the kids thrive. It will allow people to build successful, strong and positive relationships with the adolescents in their lives. The Tool Box offers hands on, easy to understand, practical strategies used by many therapists to help parents, mentors, and teachers navigate their relationships with teenagers.

In the workshop, Garrity cited real-life examples as a way to coach participants through some of the more common parent-teen dilemmas. She referenced a list of Toolbox Feeling Words from her book that gives parents and teens the vocabulary they need to communicate better. During part of the discussion, Garrity called up an image of a lady that can be viewed two ways to highlight the fact that parents and teens do not always see things the same way. Do you see the old lady, the young woman, or can you see the image both ways?

Garrity also pointed to the following resources:

“Don’t Lecture Me” – The Power of Story With Your Teen by Reese Hendricks
Teenagers Fail—Why it Matters by Chris Hudson