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Teens have always had to deal with a multitude of physical, emotional, and intellectual changes. Along with all of the pressures and situations that life throws at them.
But, in today's world, much more has been added to an adolescent's plate, due in large part to changes in technology, the media, family life, and the world, as a whole.
All of which make your life as a teen much more difficult to navigate successfully. And where can you turn to get advice?

TEENS! Improve Your Life – Don't Overlook the Obvious is a part of that answer.
It is a guide, if you will, with brief strategies, truisms, and ideas, which when turned into action, should help you get through tough situations, plan for what you wish to achieve, and to successfully make it from a teen to an adult.
It should be 'must reading' for your siblings, friends, boy/ girlfriends, classmates, and co-workers.


TEENS! Improve Your Life – Don't Overlook the Obvious takes a different approach than what you might have experienced elsewhere.
It recommends personal responsibility. It acknowledges the role of others. It speaks succinctly. And, it can easily be read again and again, without difficulty.
A great guide for most any teen.


What gives you the creds to write this book?'

Well, I could be a wiseguy and say that I was once a teen.
I could also say that I have 2 wonderful sons, now adults, and know some of what they went through.
I could point out that I had been employed as a health and sexuality adviser. Or, that I was the primary staffer for a teen drop-in center. Or, a manager at a group home for disabled and behaviorally 'acting out' teen guys. Or, a coordinator at a residential treatment center for alcoholics. Or, that I did substance abuse counseling. Or, that I have studied adolescent issues. Or, paid attention to teens whom I have met over the decades. Or...

The point is that you will find a lot of great advice here.
It's important to learn, at this time of your life, that the solution to many problems
and the way to succeed in many areas of life is to focus on 'The Obvious'.

Cliches are such because they are often true.
There are also not always steps to take which will not on some level be inconvenient or even uncomfortable. Not, if you wish to get positive results.

We adults do 'get it' more than you know.
Every generation's adolescents feel picked-upon, misunderstood, under-valued, and otherwise disrespected. Most adults do not purposely try to make your life miserable. Especially, most parents, teachers, and bosses who want you to succeed in life. The majority of us truly wish you well.

Unfortunately, you need to face the fact (that you might already, painfully, know) that not everyone is nice. Or, will treat you well. So, that you need to learn how to deal with them and the situations that you are put into.

Of course, along the way to adulthood, you need to learn two of life's most difficult lessons. One is accepting responsibility for your own actions. You always have a choice. (Or, two or three, or... ) The options might not always be to your liking and could involve choosing the 'lesser of two evils'. But, you do have a choice.

Then there is the most important lesson, perhaps, of all. Learning that you are not invincible. Virtually every teen (myself, back then, included) believes that 'the rules of life' do not apply to them. We think that car crashes happen to the 'other guy or gal'. We don't see the harm in texting while driving. Or, in driving stoned or intoxicated. Or, in having unprotected sex. Or, sexting. Or... But, you need to face the fact that all of these (and more) have the very real potential for devastating or even ending your life. - And, trust me when I say that this is not a melodramatic or 'preachy' statement. Just a presenting of facts. Period.

Oops! I have to admit a mistake.
The most important lesson, probably, is that you deserve good stuff in your life.
Both now and down the road. And, if you don't believe that, or treat yourself better and make wiser, if not more difficult decisions, than your future will likely not be a great one.
You truly have much to live for!

Finally, let me say that not all or perhaps even most of the advice in this book will apply to you right now. And, that's okay! Because we all have different needs and situations to grapple with at any one point in time. But, I believe that down the road... Perhaps tomorrow, next month, or even a year or two from now, you will pick up this book and find some advice that could help you to have a better life.



No one size fits all, in shoes, or in life.
So, while what is suggested will work well for many people, there is always the possibility that it might not work well for you.

Therefore, do not blindly follow what is offered here.
This book is
not intended as a substitute for those of you who are in or need counseling or therapy.
Use common sense. Think about how these steps and ideas might fit into your specific circumstances.
Then, make your own decision and take responsibility for it.


Wishing you the best that life has to offer,
Russell A. Irving

All families

Are dysfunctional

To some extent.


Don't over-promise.

People will likely remember

The broken promises

More than the kept ones.


Showing off,

Whether grades, talent, or... ,

Will likely turn off

Those whom

You seek to attract.


You don't have

To love your step-parent.

But, you should try your best

To respect them.


'Short and sweet'

Goes a long way.



Do not confuse

Not agreeing

With not listening.



Do not and should not

Treat everyone the same.

Because each child

Has different needs.

But, this does not mean

That you are loved

Any more or less.


It's not your obligation

To 'Fix''

Someone who is 'broken'.


Make yourself

So valuable

To your employer

That laying you off

Would be a 'non-choice'.


Don't confuse:

Passion with lust.

Hurt with malice.

Pleasing with acquiescing.

Trust with blind faith.

Quiet with shy.

Outgoing with a positive

Justified anger with a temper.

'No' with wimpiness.

Crush with love.

Limits with tyranny.

Bullying with 'good fun'.

Selfishness with self-loving.

Disabled with incapable.

All sex with lovemaking.

Adulthood with 'pure' freedom.

Blind faith with a sincere belief.



Should go to those

Who truly repent

For their wrongdoing.



Successful multi-tasking

Has been proven

To be a myth.

Learn from that fact.


Treat step-siblings well.

They also had their lives



Some guys

Are truly shy and bashful

Around the girls whom they like.

And, some gals

Will go for the guy they like.

The lesson:

Don't make assumptions.


You need to learn

Your parents', siblings',

Or others' moods.

Once you do,

So many things will go

Much better for you!


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