Why Toilet Paper?

Why Toilet Paper?

The last couple weeks has been a difficult time for many. Even the healthiest of people are being told to change their lifestyles and we are being advised to “social distance” ourselves from others.  Personally, I fluctuate between being extremely stressed and fearful to feeling calm and believing that everything is going to be fine.

I stopped watching the news the other day, put on my sneakers, queued up a mediation app I have on my phone and made myself walk until I felt better. It took me two 15-minute mediation sessions and I was in a better place.

I spoke to a local nurse yesterday and she confided in me that she was “freaking out a bit.“ She has a ten year old daughter. I told her that I certainly understood where she was coming from and that it was okay to be scared, but that her little girl needed calm and strength from her.  

Here are a few suggestions as we all wade through this troubling time:  

  1. Talk to your kids, they know that something unusual is happening.
  2. Assure your kids that measures are being taken to keep people healthy, remind them of what they can do to contribute and help – wash hands, don’t share drinks with people, don’t pick their nose or suck their thumb.  
  3. Try to get the family outside- fresh air and sunshine are all good for your mental and physical health.
  4. Read, cook, do puzzles, watch movies and shows.
  5. Check-in on others, especially the elderly or immune compromised
  6. Stay connected with friends and family by phone or facetime

So why the run on toilet paper? Does everyone really think they will be running to the bathroom incessantly until this is all said and done?

Of course not, but here is the thing.  We are all a little afraid of what this Coronavirus is, we don’t know if we will get it, whether or when things will shut down and if we won’t be able to get what we want or need. The entire situation seems to be spiraling out of control.  For most of us, insecurity and anxiety increases as control decreases. One way to be in control is to stock up, to fill our pantries and closets.   Toilet paper is the perfect product. It doesn’t go bad.  We always need it and  – holy moly – what would happen if we ran out?

Lets all practice god hygiene.  Get sleep and exercise.  Do all you can to keep your body healthy And by all means, go grab up more toilet paper!  

Wishing you good health and calmness during this time.

Julie Bulitt is a licensed clinical social worker and family therapist.  She and her husband, a divorce lawyer, have been married for more than 33 years. Their new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES, is available online and a local bookstores. Follow David and Julie at www.thebulitts.com and on all social media platforms @thebulitts.



At the gym today, an exasperated friend asked if my next book could be written about raising daughters. As I talked with my workout buddy, it became infinitely clear that she is in the midst of raising a hard-nosed daughter who is giving her a run for her money. Her daughter is only four years old. This is familiar territory for me. I didn’t say anything out loud, and instead kept what I knew to myself – things are only going to get tougher. I did tell her that being on the front lines of being a mom to four girls took patience, creativity, solid negotiation skills, and plenty of wine.

Having four daughters with very different personalities required David and me to “style” our parenting somewhat differently with each. Our first daughter was strong-willed, a bit bossy and demanding. At the same time, she had an excellent moral compass and pretty good self-esteem which allowed her to avoid a lot of the girl drama that is a daily part of the lives of many teenage girls. She needed clear boundaries and lots of choices.

We called our second girl an “easy crier.” She was respectful and obedient, easy to parent, and rarely needing too much in the way of discipline. Her feelings were hurt easily, however. Direction and suggestions were often met with an emotional and defensive response, and, as a result, we had to be careful watching not just what we said, but how we said it.

Our third girl, an anomaly if there ever was one, stretched all boundaries and presented us with daily challenges from a very young age. As a therapist who, in my view anyway, has some pretty good skills and a solid understanding of behavior, I really had no idea how to manage her. David, who spends his days often negotiating high conflict divorce matters, also found himself overwhelmed, frustrated, and at a loss.

Our youngest was an easy child to raise until she wasn’t. When things didn’t go her way, she could dig in like it was quicksand.

Looking back, here are a few thoughts for girl’s moms that might be useful:

  1. There is no manual.
  2. Girls can have intense emotions- expect ups and downs- that can come slow or fast.
  3. Don’t take anything personally.
  4. You are the safe person in your daughter’s world; keep in mind that what is directed at you most likely has nothing to do with you.
  5. Everybody wants control, even your daughter.
  6. Cede control and offer choices whenever possible. Even if it’s small things like when she might want to brush her teeth or eat dinner.
  7. Girls are often part of cliques, catty, and sometimes downright mean. Be firm, sure, but also hit your “P” (patience) button.
  8. Role model “nice” behavior; show what it’s like to be a good friend, building other girls up and not tearing them down.
  9. Don’t comment on your daughter’s weight. Even if she is too thin or heavy, she already knows. Keep good food choices around the house. Work with her to learn and enjoy a healthier diet. At the same time, though, try not to be over-controlling about it so much so that she responds by sneaking food or even developing an eating disorder.
  10. Take time for self-care and to nourish yourself. Being mindful of yourself, your own needs and pressures help to keep your own tank from emptying. At the same time, maybe your daughter will pick up on it, learn from it, and follow your lead when she is older with her own children.
  11. Adopt what psychologist Carol Dweck calls “the growth mindset.” Compliment her in specific real ways. In other words, don’t just tell her she’s pretty. Tell her something more valuable than that, i.e. that you like the way she treats her friends, or you recognized that what she had to do in a particular situation was difficult.
  12. Be kind, patient and forgiving with yourself. None of us are perfect parents.

Julie Bulitt is a licensed clinical social worker and family therapist. She and her husband, a divorce lawyer, have been married for more than 33 years. Their new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES, is available online and local bookstores. Follow David and Julie at www.thebulitts.com and on all social media platforms @thebulitts.




How a family therapist and divorce lawyer turned more than thirty years of talk into a book.

Remember the story of Rumpelstiltskin? The girl locked in a tower forever unless she can spin straw into gold? Just when she is prepared to accept her fate, an odd little creature shows up, forces her to make a promise and does just that – he spins straw into gold.

      In putting together “The 5 Core Conversations for Couples”, no one was ever locked in a tower.  The analogy, however, is a good one.  Not surprisingly, Julie came up with it.

     “I can’t write for shit,” Julie says.  

     That may be a little bit of a stretch, but her spelling is, shall we say, not exactly inspiring.  My wife has never met a comma either, as far as I can tell.

     “I’m the ideas girl,” she says.  “I am the creative one.  I write the stuff down and send it to you.”

     And I, Mr. Rumpelstiltskin himself, try to turn it into gold.  Or something like that, anyway.

     I am sure that Julie and I are similar to other couples that have been together for decades.  We do talk a lot.  We talk in the morning when one of us is late for work, during an afternoon phone call or two, at dinner and over a cocktail before bed.  Anytime and all the time, it seems. 

     “I do wish you would stop the chatter when I am in the tub,” she says.

     Not likely.  I like to see her in the tub.

     It was a couple of summers back I think when we were on the beach and Julie was guiding me through one of her wacky advice metaphors that I first started making notes.

     “It was a teaching moment,” she says. 

     And, to be honest, she is entirely correct.  I laughed, she laughed and I asked her to remind me of some of the others that she had come up with over the years. We rehashed the Costco story, the wide load, fixing the roof and cleaning the garage, all conversations that made their way into our book.

     From there, Julie started sending me emails, more and more recollections of discussions we had before or, just as often, she planned to have once I read through them. Single spaced, no paragraphs, and no punctuation; the kind of emails that I usually don’t have the patience to read. But, boy, were they creative.  And in a quirky sort of way, a lot seemed to make sense to me.

     Those emails and talks got me thinking.  Sure, most everyone in a relationship talks and communicates. Those that don’t generally end up in an office communicating and talking to someone like me for five hundred or so dollars an hour.  But were these daily conversations between a divorce lawyer and family therapist in some way unique or different from those had by other couples?  

     Once I gathered all the notes, we sat down at the kitchen table and tried to make some sense of all of it. With Julie’s love of puzzles and my desire to write, the pieces started to fit together.  What we figured out was that the very same problems, frustrations and complaints that were expressed in Julie’s office were exactly the same as those that I heard in mine, but from a varied vantage point and with diverse goals in mind.  Julie’s clients complain about their spouses being lazy, not taking care of the children and not paying enough attention to them.  They express angst over money, and not connecting with their spouse or significant other.  They are often frustrated with an unfulfilling sex life.  

      And in my office?  You got it.  The very same bucket of bolts.

      Once we had that “aha” sort of moment, much of the rest came easily.  We figured out that there were five basic areas – cores, if you will – of communication that couples needed to cover in order to be successful and maintain a long and happy life together. Those five communication cores are the foundation of our book: building and filling a relationship, money, sex, parenting and maintaining balance.

     Julie and I are not social scientists. We did not set out to put together a study of human behavior, nor are we qualified to do so.  Since Julie and I are fairly open about a lot of what we have lived through and struggled with during our own marriage, we decided to bare a great deal in the book. Our struggles with spending, parenting a child with mental illness, adoption, infertility and arguments about sex – its all in there and set against the backdrop of what we have seen professionally in our offices. We tried to keep in mind that talking does not come all that naturally to everyone and, as a result, each section ends with a series of questions and topics  – we call them “couples kick-starters” – to get the conversation going.

     The take away from our 5 Core Conversations for Couples is this – we are not experts in the world of relationships.  We have, however, seen much of what causes relationships to fail and what couples can do together that increases the odds of their staying together.  Its really not all that complicated. Keep talking.

Julie and David Bulitt, a licensed clinical social worker and divorce lawyer, have been married for 33 years. Their new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES, is available online and a local bookstores. Follow David and Julie at www.thebulitts.com and on all social media platforms @thebulitts.



The long awaited release of Julie and David Bulitt’s “THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES” is just around the corner.

In advance of the launch, the book remains available for pre-order on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1510746129), Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-five-core-conversations-for-couples-david-bulitt/1135124008?ean=9781510746121#/) and all major on line book sellers both in the United States and abroad.

Please join Julie and David who are celebrating the launch with upcoming several events (all times ET):
FEBRUARY 3, 2020 @7:00pm – Julie and David’s interview on Blog Talk Radio.  Listen as it airs or on demand at https://www.blogtalkradio.com/big-blend-radio/2020/02/04/big-blend-radio-the-five-core-conversations-for-couples
FEBRUARY 4, 2020 – all pre orders are shipped and The 5 Core Conversations for Couples will be available on line and in your local bookstore
FEBRUARY 10, 2020 9:30am – Julie and David appear on Fox 5’s “Good Day DC”  
FEBRUARY 11, 2020 5:00pm – Julie and David appear on The MoCo Show (https://www.mocoshow.com/)
FEBRUARY 12, 2020 9:15am – Julie and David appear on ABC/WJLA’s “Good Morning Washington”
FEBRUARY 15, 2020 4:00-7:00 pm   – Official Book launch hosted by the Rockville, Maryland Barnes & Noble (https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/event/9780062108497-0 )

Stay in touch with Julie and David @thebulitts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more news, appearances and updates!



This past Monday, I was working in my office with a couple that I have been seeing together for the last several months. They were in the midst of one of those couple’s crises that all of us run into now and again during the course of a long-term relationship. A new baby at home was followed with John losing his job. Those two events sent John and Karen far into a code red on the stress meter individually, as parents and as a couple.

John in particular was not handling things well. During one argument a few days earlier, he lost his temper and punched a hole through a kitchen wall. Another dispute led to him driving erratically, running off the road and ultimately threatening to get out and leave Karen and the baby in the car, on the curb, to fend for themselves.

For her part, Karen was angry and made it clear she was at the end of her rope. “I’m done,” she said more than once during our 45 minutes together.

Much of the session was spent speaking to John, walking through some strategies that may provide help in handling his recent “short wick” temper. He was accepting of the advice and also agreed to meet with a psychiatrist to see if medication, even if for just a short time, might be helpful to keep him calm and less reactive. That is not to say that he was without complaints or criticisms of his wife. From John’s perspective, he was really trying but getting nowhere. He did the laundry, took care of the baby and also ran out in the evenings to do food shopping. None of that helped and only served to fuel his temper. “I do all I can,” he said. “I mean, I know she is the breadwinner now so I get that I have to do my part with Emma and around the house. But I get no respect, no appreciation. I’m just running in place. So yeah, I get angry.”

A week later, John came in by himself, still reeling from the constant bickering with Karen, the most recent incident having occurred after he returned home from the grocery store. Karen needed sugar, a specific kind of sugar. “She wanted confectioners sugar. I came home with granular sugar. My first mistake,” he said, implying there was a second.

Karen also asked that he bring home some oranges. “The bags were on sale, so I grabbed one of those,” he said. When John got home, Karen immediately laid into him about the sugar. “I’m sorry,” John told me, “but I really never knew there was more than one kind of sugar. That was nothing compared to the fuzzy orange though.”

Apparently after giving him the business over bringing home the wrong sugar, as Karen was emptying the bag of oranges, a rotten and fuzzy one bounced out. She had a meltdown, screaming at him for wasting their money on rotten fruit. “The fact was,” John said, “that even counting the rotten one, I still got a better price on the bag than if I had just bought a couple of the others that were not on sale. Not that it mattered any. She was pissed.”

As he was telling me the fuzzy orange story, I was laughing a bit because David and I have had similar disputes over me buying bad produce. I am not really a fruit eater and usually just grab the first apple or box of berries that I see. That often results in our tossing away a bad apple, some rotten fruit and yes, a fuzzy orange now and again.

John and I talked about how he might diffuse Karen’s reaction, should it happen again. I suggested that he calmly tell her that he was sorry, but at the same time remind her that he went to the grocery store, did his best and, after all, it was one less thing that she had to do.

The two of us laughed. “Tell her to embrace that fuzzy orange,” I said.

-Julie Bulitt, LCSW-C is a licensed clinical social worker, having worked for more than 25 years with individuals, couples and families. Her private practice focuses on family, couples and individual therapy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Executive Functioning coaching. She presently serves as the in-house therapist for The Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES is co-authored with her husband, a Maryland divorce lawyer and will be published by Skyhorse Publishing and Simon & Schuster e-books in February, 2020.



There are a lot of books out there on relationships. Many of them start with a number. A hunt through the “relationships” section of the bookstore will turn up 5 love languages, 7 principles for making marriage work, 8 dates and more. When our book comes out in February, “The 5 Core Conversations for Couples” will be there as well.

As a therapist, Julie has spent years working with couples, families and individuals who need help with relationships. We all, at one time or another, struggle with our romantic relationships, friendships, our relationships with children, parents and co-workers.

The people that come to David’s office most certainly are there, first and foremost, because their relationship with a partner is at risk or already irretrievable broken. It doesn’t end there, though. If a person is looking to divorce, you can be certain that her other relationships are also affected. Divorce inevitably affects someone’s patience as a parent, can lead to stress at work, disconnecting from friends and even parents.

We have spent a lot of time over the years talking about what we see in our two offices, our clients’ struggles as well as their successes. We have come up with what to us looks like a three link chain to relationship success. And guess what? We can use not only a number, but each link begins with the same letter!

Its not rocket science, but here goes:

The first link to our chain is communication. Couples who communicate regularly, openly and honestly have a much higher likelihood of staying together, and not making the move from Julie’s couch to David’s office and divorce court.

The second link is connection. Stay connected to your partner, what he or she needs and wants, when he is upset or happy, had trouble at the office or a falling out with a friend. That emotional connection and understanding of each other is integral to a successful relationship.

The third link is consistency. Try to be even and balanced in your relationship with your partner, avoid the pendulum swings from over the top highs to mind numbing lows. People in Julie’s office often complain about a partner from whom they don’t know what to expect and spend their lives walking on eggshells. Was it a good day at the office? Is she going to come home angry or tired or upset? By the time they get to David, the imbalance in the relationship has been redirected to: “I’ve had enough”, “I cant take the mood swings every day” or “One day he’s fine, he next day he is horrible.” Not knowing what to expect from a partner causes anxiety and anxiety causes stress. Stress in a relationship builds and often leads to divorce.

A couple came to see Julie a month or so ago. She asked them when the last time was that they some quality time together, without interruption of kids work and technology. They both looked at each other and couldn’t remember. Between parenting their two young children, and working full time, neither could remember when they just did something for the two of them to visit, talk or laugh. Life had gotten away from them. Julie broke out the 3 C’s. She understood that their lives were busy but told them that if they didn’t find time to get busy communicating and connecting, the next appointment one of them would make would be with a divorce lawyer. They had to find time for themselves, not just once, but consistently.

The couple returned to Julie’s office a few weeks later and told her hat after they left the last session, the two of them did not rush home but instead went to lunch together. They talked and laughed and decided that they would meet on the porch that night after the kids were in bed. The wife told me that the lunch was “flirty and fun”; it led to their planned get together on the porch that led to “some great sex” as well, according to the husband. The two of them have decided that they will meet for lunch every other week.

We understand that it’s not always simple. Relationships can be hard, exhausting even. We get that. We do think, however, that if you keep those 3 C’s in the chain linked together– communication, connection and consistency – your relationship stands a better chance of adding an S to your 3 C’s– success.

Julie and David Bulitt, a licensed clinical social worker and divorce lawyer, have been married for 33 years. Their new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES, will be published by Skyhorse Publishing and Simon & Schuster e-books in February 2020



One of our favorite things to do when we go out is sit at a bar, have a drink and meal there. Very often we will strike up conversations with the bartender or folks sitting near us. The other night we met a fellow named Colin. He was a very friendly guy in his 30’s and eating alone. You could tell he was a talker. Cocktails in hand, we chatted with him for a while. It turns out that Colin is a farmer from Maryland’s eastern shore and retired from the military. Colin joined the military after his father died and having had an unsuccessful semester or two at the local community college. “College just wasn’t for me,” Colin told us.

Colin met his wife through friends and they have been married for seven years and have a six-year-old daughter. So why was Colin sitting at the bar and eating by himself? He told us that he and his wife take a few separate vacations during the year and that the time apart has worked for them. Colin also mentioned that early in their marriage he and his wife argued constantly and it “just sucked.” 

Colin then told us what he did to save his marriage. Out of desperation he went to his wife, told her that they would both pick 10 rules to live by in their marriage. If that didn’t help, then the two of them would call it quits. She agreed, they picked their 10 rules, stuck to them and the marriage got better. One of Colin’s rules required his wife to have sex with him three times a week (we were impressed his wife agreed to that) and one of her rules called for Colin to empty the trash everyday, even if it wasn’t full. 

After Colin paid his bill and took off, the two of us could not help but smile.  We were both thinking the same thing and we knew it, without saying a word to each other.  Here was a guy that was anything but “book smart” who didn’t need a book, a counseling session or couples retreat to figure out how to keep his marriage together.  At its essence, Colin’s 10-rule plan really was simple.  Simple and brilliant.  Two partners in a relationship and both agree to do things solely because the other wants it. It’s the oldest adage in the book – “I wash your hand, you wash mine” – and our farmer friend applied it in a unique way to help his marriage.

People who are selfish and inflexible within their relationship often end up talking to Julie. One wants to go to the Caps game, the other doesn’t.  One likes getting dressed and going for a nice dinner on weekends; the other, not so much. It doesn’t take a lawyer and a therapist to tell you that if, as a couple, you cant find middle ground and compromise, you wont be in the therapist’s office for very long.  You will be in the lawyer’s office.

We enjoyed talking to Colin and found that his “10 Rules” approach to maintaining his relationship was a creative and intelligent example of how couples can work together to stabilize and improve their relationship. What do you think of Colin’s approach to making it work? Have you done anything in your relationship that’s been creative?

Julie and David Bulitt, a licensed clinical social worker and divorce lawyer, have been married for 33 years. Their new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES, will be published by Skyhorse Publishing and Simon & Schuster e-books in February 2020.



A shopaholic since I was old enough to walk, I used to like nothing more than to spend countless hours roaming around the mall. As a teenager, I worked at a local mall and when I wasn’t working, I hung out there with my friends. I got married and had kids, but not to worry. Into the minivan and the stroller and off to the mall I would go. When my youngest was born, she took her first mall trip at about a week old. Don’t tell my husband, but she actually could have been a couple of days younger than that. But now, who needs the mall to shop when I have a 24-hour “Mall of Julie” at my fingertips. A new dress? No problem. An evening scroll through the Nordstrom app sipping a glass of wine on my couch and a few choices are boxed and on my doorstep to try on in a couple of days. I keep the one I like, stuff the others back into the box, drop it back on my doorstep and back they go. No lines, cash registers, or dressing rooms. Groceries, new sneakers, maybe a new blender? Amazon, Amazon and Amazon. All ordered with a few clicks and they are in my hands sometimes within hours and a quick ten-step walk to my front door. My life has become easy. It is convenient.

As terrific as all of that sounds, however, I have come to the conclusion that this pervasive and ever growing blanket of convenience is harming us each and every minute of every day. And none of us seems to realize it.

Have you been to Starbucks lately? Just in case it was too taxing on us to wait in line for three or four minutes to get a morning coffee, we can now download the Starbucks App that allows that places your coffee order and pays for it from your phone, so that you can slip into a local shop, grab your cup and go.  All without almost any human contact whatsoever.

As I’ve already said, this convenience overload doesn’t just come from isn’t just Starbucks.  Convenience is taking away our connection to others; it’s insidiously replacing human contact. Sure, you save a few minutes by ordering coffee remotely.  But don’t we lose much more?  Should it really be such an inconvenience to take a moment, talk to someone in line or even at the register?  And God forbid we should actually sit down with our coffee and catch up with a friend or neighbor about kids, jobs, the weather or anything else for that matter.

From a therapist’s perspective, it is concerning that our society is moving at breakneck speed toward immaculate convenience, not leaving our homes and instead opting for things to be fast and efficient at the cost of interacting, connecting and having real human contact with others. We know through research that human beings are much like other species on the earth – we yearn for contact with others – our need to maintain relationships is as fundamental as our need for food and water. 

I see many clients of all ages who are very active video gamers. Before millions of households had X-Box, Nintendo or Play Station, we had to make phone calls, ride our bikes or knock on doors to find some people – real, standing in front of us people – to participate and play games. We had to gather friends, other kids or adults, find a blacktop for basketball or Four Square, a field for football or volleyball or Red Rover. Not anymore.  Turn on your TV or computer, and a world of memes and virtual friends are beaming right back at you.  

It wont be long until we will never need to leave our homes. Millions already sit at home and “telecommute” for work. Already, our groceries, our clothes – anything we need is a click and a couple of days away from being delivered to our front door.  We can earn degrees at our kitchen table, taking classes on line.  Want to be a champion without leaving your couch?  Sit there for hours and bone up on Fortnight.  Books are delivered to our e-readers. 

Movies, TV shows – whatever entertainment we need is right here at home. Exercise?  No problem.  Hop on your Pelaton bike and do a virtual class. Don’t feel like cooking?  Call Uber-eats. Groceries? Not a problem.  Peapod will have your milk and eggs in your fridge within a few hours.   And trust me – as soon as Starbucks figures out how to have that hot cup of coffee or mocha latte ready exactly when we want so we don’t have to move, go anywhere, or see anyone to get it, there wont be any more lines at the coffee shop that the App was created to help you avoid in the first place.

-Julie Bulitt, LCSW-C is a licensed clinical social worker, having worked for more than 25 years with individuals, couples and families. Her private practice focuses on family, couples and individual therapy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Executive Functioning coaching. She presently serves as the in-house therapist for The Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES is co-authored with her husband, a Maryland divorce lawyer, and will be published by Skyhorse Publishing and Simon & Schuster e-books in February, 2020.



The two of us spend our lives working with people who are under stress. Work brings stress, money brings stress, families and children and relationships all bring stress. At Julie’s office, there is a steady stream of parents who are struggling, often working to stay together and on the same page. By the time people get to sit across from David in his office, the struggles certainly continue, but usually by that point the opportunity for working together has passed. But what about the struggles and stresses of the younger members of these families? The high schoolers, the teenagers, the kids who are looking to fit in, get good grades, and figure out life’s mysteries? Emotions are all over the map. Their hormones are raging. They are constantly under fire from school, from peers and quite frequently, from anxious and worried parents. There is a proverb that says, “You are only as happy as your least happy child.” That may most certainly be true for many parents. At the same time though, how happy are the kids of those parents? The teenagers who are weighed by the stresses, pressures, and anxieties from their own parents?

Here is a letter that one of our teenage kids might write, if he or she had the courage to do it:

Dear Parent:

I am having a hard time. I know I am.

Your micromanaging makes me feel bad, like I am not good enough.

Your bugging me to do things makes me not do them.

I want to have control over my life. I am trying to figure out how. You are not helping.

Your anxiety about things is making me more anxious and frustrated.

I see more of what’s in front of me than you think I can. I am not ready and don’t want to look too far ahead.

Your nagging is making me in not want to be near you.

I am staying up later than you think.

Social media and technology might be distractions but they are also a way I connect with friends and unwind.

Anger is easier for me to express than my sadness sometimes.

I feel criticized, and hate when you compare me to other kids who got this award, or that job, or into some college.

My friends are important to me but sometimes they are confusing to me.

I don’t know where I belong.

I am afraid to ask for help because it makes me look stupid and weak.

It’s easier for me to ignore or not do something if I can’t do it perfectly or how I think you want me to do it.

I can’t learn from your mistakes, no matter how many times you tell me what you did or didn’t do when you were my age.

I don’t want to try sometimes, because it’s scary and I may fail.

I want your help but the cost is too high. You talk to me like I am dumb, get frustrated or short tempered with me.

I want things to be my ideas, not yours.

Don’t be afraid for me. I am stronger than you think.

-From Your Struggling Teen

Julie and David Bulitt, a licensed clinical social worker and divorce lawyer, have been married for 33 years. Their new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES, will be published by Skyhorse Publishing and Simon & Schuster e-books in February 2020. Read about Julie and David at www.thebulitts.com.