Strained Relations

Strained Relations: Help for Struggling Parents of Troubled Teens


Please note I am now primarily posting at Strained Relations: Parenting Troubled Teens. You’ll find all of the content you have sought on this blog. Please follow me over there.

Thank you,


Marcia Stein, PHR

My name is Marcia Stein and I’m a professional in the Silicon Valley.  Most people would say I’m a pleasant, kind and caring woman. 

I have a son from my first marriage and we have a difficult relationship.  As I spoke with friends and acquaintances, I learned that many other people had relationships that were troubled, some much worse than mine. 

It was moving to know that these parents, good people who love their children and used to happily share information about them, were suddenly reluctant to talk about their kids and seemed isolated.  The stories of friends and acquaintances included frightening instances of teens being taken to jail, parents worrying about estranged children, teens out of control and ruined relationships. 

There are numerous books about parenting babies, but fewer good books about parenting teenagers.  There isn’t the smiling support of “Mommy and Me” classes for parents of teens.

I wondered: What was the difference between a normal teen rebellion and these out-of-control teens?  Was it your own family history?  Having dinner together at night?  Was it due to divorce?  Does adoption complicate matters?  Are some of these kids diagnosed with different types of conditions?  Does location make a difference?  What are the best parenting practices?  How do you implement them with these different types of personalities?  How do families pull through these situations, and how do parents cope?  Where do you find help?

It was helpful to hear other people’s stories, and to know that I was not alone.  I decided to write a book about these relationships, and I interviewed and transcribed conversations with professionals. 

I took notes when speaking with parents, and wrote their stories as narratives, changing any and all identifying information including names, children’s ages and occupations.  It was important to protect their privacy.

Some relationships do repair over time and become rich and rewarding.  In some cases, parents and children are cordial and friendly, but they’re not close.  In other cases, parents and children become and remain estranged.  In either the case of a cordial outcome or estranged one, parents must learn how to cope.  A friend told me her daily mantra: “Didn’t cause it, can’t control it, can’t cure it.”

Having a difficult relationship with your child is not an indicator that you are a bad person, and you’re certainly not alone.  There are resources and support for you and your family, some of which I have included in the Appendix.

If you or someone you know is in this situation, I hope these stories and resources will be helpful. 

You are welcome to contact me or visit me on the web at  I’m just a click away.

2 Responses to “About”

  1. zumbacontracosta said

    Marcia, as luck would have it I got home tonight just in time to tune in to KGO via my internet. You are sounding so articulate and John Rothmann is the consummate interviewer / radio host. I am so happy that you got the opportunity to present on KGO and I hope that it brings you much success. Hopefully this will catapult you onto other radio and local TV shows.

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