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Real Life Conversations

Teenagers have strong opinions about life as they strive to live right side up in what often can be described as an upside down world. While adolescents live in an environment that can move too fast, even for them, their parents are left wondering what teens need from them in order to be more successful in life. Sadly, these real conversations about needs and wants rarely occur.

Within a thought-provoking presentation, high school counselor Kevin Kuczynski shares the results of thousands of interactions and conversations with teenagers that provides insight into what teenagers are really thinking and feeling, and often keep from their parents for fear of consequences for their honesty. Their heartfelt stories offer a glimpse into a variety of adolescent challenges that include family turmoil, divorce, feeling unloved, and how they see their parents as they struggle with homework, sexual choices, dating trials, the temptations of drugs and alcohol, and much more. While Kuczynski pulls back the curtain to reveal their obstacles, he includes personal commentary and introspective questions that encourage open communication from both sides to create healthier relationships.


Real Life Conversations is a reflective guide that brings awareness to the challenges of teenagers and how their parents' choices impact them.

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Having been in the trenches for decades as a high school counselor, Kevin Kuczynski knows teenage turmoil. Through heartbreaking and uplifting true stories, he gives parents the tools they need to understand their teenagers and forge an essential connection – a bond that will help reduce parent and teenage worries in a world that often moves too fast for both of them. His step-by-step guidance (where to tread lightly, when to pull back, and when to plunge in) is designed to build that bond and ease children through the difficult adolescent years. The whole family benefits when parents read Real Life Conversations.


Susan Newman, Ph.D., Social Psychologist and Author of The Book of NO: 365 Ways to Say It and Mean It – and Stop People-Pleasing Forever




Real Life Conversations provides invaluable insight about youth and their private logic – how they view themselves, others, and the world around them. This book, through written stories from youth, helps us understand what matters most to them. Lessons learned about independence, relationships, social media, pregnancy, death, divorce, self-harm, drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex, academic pressure, reckless behavior, and decision-making are addressed through the eyes of teenagers. While today’s issues may be more complicated than those of the past, the reader will learn that what youth need from the caring adults in their lives to develop resilience and to thrive during adolescence and adulthood has not changed: curiosity, connection, love, and patience. This book is a must for any parent, caregiver, or practitioner who wants to learn how to positively impact youth today.


Dr. Caelan Soma PsycD, LMSW

Chief Clinical Officer at STARR

Advanced Certified Trauma Practitioner  

Provided trauma support at Sandy Hook, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita




Real Life Conversations: What Teenagers Want Parents to Know is an honest portrayal of the realities both parents and teenagers face in their relationship. This book takes a different approach to parenting; one that normalizes the challenges both parents and teens are experiencing and encourages pragmatic dialogues in the family system. Research has consistently highlighted the positive influence of parental communication on teenagers’ development. This literature is a tool given to parents to increase their confidence in starting these conversations with their teenagers.


Marissa “Rizzo” Nichols BA, MSW Candidate

age 23




Real Life Conversations: What Teenagers Want Parents to Know will open parents’ eyes to what their children struggle with on a daily basis. Even into my early twenties, I still fight some of the battles mentioned in this book. If my parents had read this book when I was in high school, we would have had a more open and trusting relationship. 


Josephine Krzesak

age 22



As a former student of Mr. K’s, it continues to amaze me as to how he interacts with his students.
As the mother of a 2 year old girl, reading this book has almost given me a “heads up, mom” type of view.  I now will be able to look out for certain signs, expressions, and body languages when my daughter hits her teenage years. This book is real, eye opening, but also encouraging. I highly recommend this book to ALL parents, no matter the age of their kids, I promise you will love it!

Brittany Joseph

age 26




I wish my parents read this when I was younger. As teenagers we struggle identifying or understanding the emotions we are experiencing, and parents hardly ever know what’s going on with us. Kevin Kuczynski shares true stories to help parents recognize how important their role is during these specific years. This is a must read for anyone who is struggling guiding their teenagers into the real world. The teenage years are hard, but very crucial to adult development. A must read!


Kathleen Glidden

age 21




If my parents could have read this book during my teenage years, they may have better understood how difficult high school really can be. Teenagers have much more to deal with than just academic pressure. Teenagers are navigating how to be teenagers the same way parents are navigating how to be parents. I was always nervous to speak to my parents about my struggles or any mistakes that I made for fear of disappointing them, and I truly believe this book could have opened up a dialogue between us. It normalizes making mistakes and explains how to have conversations about these mistakes in a healthy and productive manner.


Sanela Kalakovic

age 23




Through an uncommonly seen perspective, Real Life Conversations: What Teenagers Want Parents to Know tackles a variety of challenges that accompany raising a teenager by integrating real-life experiences, thoughts, and actions of teenagers themselves. By combining his experience as both a high-school counselor and parent of teenagers, Kuczynski provides valuable insight and guidance for parents navigating through many areas of adolescent hardship— pregnancy, relationships, drugs, divorce, criminal activity, and more. This book is a must-read for any parent struggling to address concerns with their teen, as it will aid in forming effective and appropriate discussions that will lead to better decision-making for years to come.


Gina LaColla, BS, MS, PA-C

age 26




I wish that my parents could have read this book in order to better understand me and my life during my teenage years. In high school trying to overcome many tough obstacles such as; depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts seemed almost impossible. I wish my parents could have benefited from this and learned some ways to help me through these struggles, before things spiraled out of control. I believe all parents could take away something positive from this reading and possibly grow a much stronger and healthier relationship with their teenager. This book has truly inspired me and one I think everyone should read.


Taylor Malone

age 21




I believe all parents should purchase this book and approach it with an open mind. I also think it is important to remember that these are real-life situations that have happened so don’t think that it could not happen to you. Maturing into a young adult; if I had a piece of advice for parents or to my future self it would be to try and be as transparent as possible when raising teenagers. Know they are going to make mistakes and let them so they can learn and grow from them. I also believe it is important for a parent to create a safe space for teenagers to confide in you so they never feel alone – this book can be the catalyst that leads to those key conversations.


Jessica Restivo

age 22




As a mother to two teenage girls, an educator for over 20 years, and 20 years of sorority volunteering experience, you would think that I am no longer surprised by teenage behavior.  If you want to invest in your teen’s life, invest your time and read this book.  This is not a book to rush through, it is a parent workbook.  Listen to the stories, reflect on each one and decide how you might take the next steps.  Reading Kevin’s book confirmed something for me, we will never know exactly how to parent our children, but when we put forth the effort and try to understand what they feel and think, the rewards are endless.


Renée Trent Kraft

Parent to Claire (15) and Kate (13)



I really enjoyed the real-life teenager dialogue, I will definitely use these as conversation starters at family dinners (I actually started with my youngest in the car last night). The five critical questions gave me a new perspective of my own parenting style. As a mother of three young adults it taught me that I am never too old to grow as a parent as I need to listen more and talk less while being more honest and trustworthy.


Kelly Loring

Parent to Julia (22), Jack (20), and Jillian (16)




If you've chosen to read this book, chances are that you are in need of some guidance as you struggle through the murky waters of parenting teen(s). Kevin Kuczynski has consulted with experts on teen parenting, the teens themselves! In this book, teens offer candid accounts of the challenges they face today. Their unique perspective, along with Kuczynski's professional commentary, offers parents and guardians a glimpse of how to best provide our teens with the unconditional love and support they crave, while fostering independence and resilience. In reading the real-life accounts told in the authentic voice of teens, I realized that while my efforts to be the perfect parent to my girls are well-intended, the most important thing I should be doing is listening with an open mind, encouraging dialogue, keeping the lines of communication open, and remaining authentic. Real Life Conversations is an invaluable resource for anyone raising a teenager.


Stefania Hutchins

Parent to Maddie (16) and Emma (13)


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