Life is about risk management. No risks mean no excitement; too many risks mean danger. When very few adults have mastered the balance here, how can I expect my teenagers to know how to do it?

While neither of my teens are particularly physically adventuresome, they are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to emotional risk. My son is happy to do a metaphorical swan dive into any situation requiring of his emotion and attention. He leaps first, asks questions later. My daughter, on the other hand, brings a whole new meaning to the concept of being guarded. Before she will try, she calculates the chances of success. If she doesn’t feel the odds are heavily in her favor, more often than not, she’ll simply opt out. I worry about both of them, because I’m not sure either approach is healthy.

To love is to risk. Everyone knows that, right?

When you give your heart to someone, you’re opening yourself to the possibility of heartbreak. How do you decide whom to trust with your love? How do we teach our children to make good choices in this arena?

I often joke that dogs are essential in a household with teenagers, because at least the dogs are always happy to see you. Part of the reason I like little dogs (besides the fact that they don’t eat a lot and, therefore, don’t leave horse-sized turds around) is that they have longer lifespans than their larger counterparts. Because that’s the only problem with dogs—they don’t live as long as humans. Deciding to own a pet means opening yourself to the heartbreak of them shuffling off this mortal coil before you’re ready to let them go. Read More