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Behind the Scenes: Teen writers describe what it's like to work at YCteen.
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Family (100 found)
Note: These stories are from YCteen and its sister publication, Represent, which is written by and for youth in foster care.
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After moving to the U.S., Tairys was separated from her father for years. Ultimately, she makes a difficult decision so she can see him again. (full text)
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After getting beaten by both parents for bad grades he received from elementary school through high school, this writer gains the courage to threaten to call the police if the beatings continued. (full text)
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After Johane’s father died, her mom left Haiti and moved to the US to find work. The 7 year-old was left in her grandfather’s care. For the next three years, he would verbally and physically abuse her until she was finally able to reunite with her mother. Here, she recounts her story and the steps she’s taken to heal. (full text)
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Five years after her brother tried to rape her, this writer gradually stopped being afraid to tell anyone. In her story, she describes her family’s reactions and the consequences that resulted. She writes, “I only wish I was as brave then as I am today, and I had told the moment it happened.” (full text)
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Desmin remembers his grandmother who died last spring; the woman who was most like a mother to him. She taught him life lessons he will never forget. (full text)
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“Martin” questions how our culture defines manhood, particularly how his father defines it. While pursuing his passion for acting, he played a role that helped him develop his own definition. (full text)
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Chimore has met her father only one time when she turns 23 and has no idea where he was her whole life. But she tracks him down and they begin a relationship. (full text)
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This writer recounts his mother’s reaction when she learns he’s gay from his guidance counselor, and the fallout that ensues as a result. (full text)
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When the writer finds out her real father abandoned her mother while she was pregnant, and the man she thought was her biological father is really her stepfather, she spirals into self-harm. (full text)
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Jorge is drawn to art and music, but his parents send him to military school in the hope that he’ll become a Marine. Instead, Jorge spends four years plotting his escape. (full text)
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Kiara’s in high school, but her mom doesn’t trust her to travel on the subway or bus alone and makes Kiara's grandfather escort her to and from school. (full text)
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Vanessa has always known she’s gay, but worries about how her family will react. With support from her girlfriend, she comes out. (full text)
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The author writes a letter to her mother, who has a history of abusive relationships, imploring her to consider her kids before she gets too involved with the next guy. (full text)
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Julijana doesn’t see too many examples of happy marriages in her family and has doubts about a couple’s chances of achieving lasting happiness. (full text)
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The author has always been close to her dad, but their relationship becomes combative as she gets older. How can she get him to see she’s more than daddy’s girl? (full text)
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As she starts high school, Deisy wants her overprotective mom to back off and treat her like an adult. But is she acting like one? (full text)
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Because her older sister is mentally ill, the author feels a lot of pressure from her family to be perfect and compensate for the stress caused by her sister’s illness. (full text)
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YCteen staff interview a therapist about coping with a mentally ill family member. (full text)
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After the Sandy Hook school shooting, the author worries whether her own brother might be capable of a similarly violent rampage, and advocates for better treatment for mental illness. (full text)
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When Marco’s grandmother arrives from Ecuador to help out the family, he’s skeptical. But over time, they form a close bond. (full text)
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As a child, Christine was close to her cousin Daniel, who has a developmental disability. She later mentors young adults with disabilities. (full text)
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The author longs for a stronger relationship with his mentally ill, alcoholic father. (full text)
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Otis has little memory of his biological dad, but the brief time he had with a loving adoptive father taught him lessons he still remembers. (full text)
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Growing up, Nicole was extremely close to her grandmother in Mexico. When her grandmother dies while Nicole is studying in New York, she is devastated. (full text)
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Chimore, overwhelmed with grief after the loss of her Aunt Cynthia and Uncle Larry, struggles to find meaning and hold on to her faith. (full text)
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Tuli’s family loses their home after a hurricane strikes the Gulf of Mexico. In the midst of loss, she sees reason for hope. (full text)
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Juana’s father abandons the family when she is 9, never to be heard from again. She has difficulty letting go of the expectation that he’ll return. (full text)
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Isaura is frustrated that her mom doesn’t take better care of herself to prevent her diabetes from getting worse. (full text)
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Sherilyn watches her older sister Carmen go from a success-in-the-making to a runaway with a bad news boyfriend. When Carmen asks to come home, Sherilyn agrees with their mom's tough love response. (full text)
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Rosie's house—where her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins have all lived—is a symbol of her family's unity and closeness. When the matriarch of the family dies, the house feels like a memorial to her. (full text)
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Nicole's beloved grandmother dies shortly before her quinceañera, and the celebration is tinged with sadness. Still, the family finds ways to comfort one another and remember the good times. (full text)
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When Shahlo’s family wins the green card lottery, they look forward to starting a new life in New York. But the challenges associated with being new immigrants make them question their decision to leave Uzbekistan. (full text)
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Peace barely remembers her early years in Nigeria and considers herself fully Americanized. But when her parents plan a trip home, Peace and her siblings develop a new appreciation for their Nigerian roots. (full text)
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Alice, whose father Dan Cantor is executive director of the Working Families Party, describes what it's like to grow up in a political family. (full text)
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Kelly, an only child, is afraid that her departure for college will leave her mother with "empty-nest syndrome." (full text)
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The author feels discouraged and confused by her mother's attitude towards her. She vows to build a life that's very different from her mother's, but is surprised to learn they have certain things in common. (full text)
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When Christian meets his younger half-brother, the pain of being abandoned by his father becomes more intense. (full text)
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Otis has little memory of his biological dad, but the brief time he had with a loving adoptive father taught him lessons he still remembers. (full text)
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After running away and going into foster care, Daniel is determined to repair his relationship with his mother. (full text)
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The writer’s father reappears after he left the family many years ago. (full text)
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Manny slowly develops a bond with his foster mom, who plans to adopt him. (full text)
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When Janelle returns home after three years in foster care, she finds it hard to readjust. Family therapy helps her and her mother build a new and better relationship. (full text)
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Chaquana can never depend on her drug-addicted mother. She ends their conversations by saying “goodbye” instead of “I love you.” (full text)
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After Jennifer’s mom gets involved with an abusive man, it takes years to repair the damage. (full text)
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Hattie wants a romantic relationship but fears getting hurt. (full text)
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The writer feels ignored and abandoned by her mother, which leads her to cut. The support of others helps her stop. (full text)
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As a child, Daniela feels little connection to her quiet and withdrawn father. But a mutual love of movies brings them closer. (full text)
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After years in foster care, Erica and her mother reestablish a relationship by writing letters. (full text)
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At age 15, Athena visits her long-absent father in Greece. (full text)
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Fatima explains how she and her fiancé have become successful parents. (full text)
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For years, the writer's father put alcohol ahead of his family. When he finally enters treatment, he and Jessica are able to connect. (full text)
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In her Dominican family, Dayan started helping her mother cook Latino specialities at age 9. (full text)
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For a long time Antwaun had too much pride to ask for help, but when he reaches out to his brother during a crisis in his life, he realizes the importance of opening up to others. (full text)
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Lucas is here to tell the truth: there is no Santa Claus, puppies die, and parents don't trust their kids when they're out of sight. (full text)
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Stevisha’s father has been in prison since she was a young girl, but they have bonded over the years by writing to each other. (full text)
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Antwaun struggles with conflicted feelings about his father, who spent most of Antwaun’s childhood in and out of prison. (full text)
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When Naomi sees her father paying more attention to her younger sister, she thinks he doesn't like her any more. But after she confronts him about her feelings, they draw closer and she sees how much they have in common. (full text)
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The writer, whose mother was 16 when she gave birth to her, argues that the children of teen moms often don’t receive the support they need. (full text)
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After her father abandons the family, the writer feels weighed down by family responsibilities. Physical symptoms of depression and thoughts of suicide eventually drive her to make some changes. (full text)
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Devastated when her father leaves the family, the writer fills her emptiness by having promiscuous sex. Eventually, she gains control of her sexuality. (full text)
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The writer lives in a violent home and has to physically break up fights between her parents. She compensates by becoming the perfect kid, but her empty feelings lead to hallucinations and she starts seeing a counselor. (full text)
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Artiqua's teenage dream of boyfriends, partying, and staying out late will never become a reality, so long as her mother has anything to say about it. (full text)
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The author resolves to deal with the anger she’s developed from her abusive childhood, so she won’t abuse others. (full text)
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Zeena slowly realizes that the abuse she gets from her parents isn’t just part of their culture—it’s wrong. (full text)
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When her parents' fights begin to get out of control, the author begs them to split up. They take her advice, but things become even more difficult when her parents make her choose who to live with.
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As a child, Johane spent three hellish years living apart from her mother and looking forward to their reunion. But when she finally got her wish, she found their relationship was not the same.
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YCteen writers inspect self-help books aimed at their parents, and find the advice on how to "deal" with teen children is a mixed bag.
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At age 15, Jaminson's overprotective parents barely let him leave the house. When his friends pressure him, he begins to push for more freedom.
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Chantel is grateful to her mother for incrementally increasing her freedom, especially since she recognizes it isn't always easy to let go.
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Brittany introduces the results of a YCteen poll that asked teens to give details of their relationships with their parents, including what annoys them, what they appreciate, and how much freedom they have.
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Tichina explains how her dad's absence made her insecure in childhood, and wonders why so many fathers can't be there for their children.
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Nicole is not as angry at her absent father as she used to be, but realizes she has a lot of unanswered questions about him.
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The author constantly fights with his mom about his pot smoking, goofing off in school, and lack of motivation. It's not until a near tragedy that he starts to view his mother differently.
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Psychologist and author Mike Bradley explains how parents and teens can better understand and communicate with each other.
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Conor moves from the Deep South to downtown Manhattan—and discovers that he's been a closeted New Yorker all along.
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After her beloved Aunt Euphita is seriously injured in a car accident, Annmarie helps support her through a painful recovery. Along the way, she develops a new appreciation for family.

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Parents often tell their children, "You can be anything you want to be"— but is it true? Rosie argues that it's not, and that hearing it too much encourages unrealistic dreams.
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Rumonat is annoyed that her younger brother gets better grades than her. When he starts slipping up, she has to decide whether to help him or to gloat.
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In these interviews with their parents, YCteen writers get a variety of advice, including pleas to look for partners who are kind, to wait until they're 40 to marry, and to think of heartache as a learning experience.
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When Renea discovers that her boyfriend's father cheats on his wife, she gets scared that her boyfriend will be unfaithful, too. She wonders whether children are destined to repeat the same relationship mistakes of their parents.
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Mohammed chafes under his mother’s strict rules.
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The writer finds a way to help her twin sister, who is mentally retarded, feel confident and empowered.
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The author is not allowed to date, but she rebels against her mother's rules. When her mom reads her diary and finds out that she's had boyfriends, they have a devastating fight.
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Jordan feels lucky to have three families—his mother's side, his father's side, and his stepmother's side. His step-family is as important to him as his immediate family because he knows they care about him just the same.
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The writer’s father is in prison, but she stays close to him through letters, phone calls, and visits.
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At age 14, the writer leaves her loving godparents in Malaysia to join her parents and brother in the U.S.
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When the writer immigrates to the U.S. she has to leave her mother behind.
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The writer is confused and angry when his father starts drinking heavily and can no longer support the family.
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Sayda is inspired by her aunt, an immigrant who earned a college degree through enormous hard work and sacrifice.
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Dina connects deeply with her father through their mutual love of music, and she continues that passion after he dies.
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Daniela resists having an extravagant quinceañera.
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Raelle’s mother gives her a pair of gold earrings as a keepsake, but she loses them when she comes to the United States.
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At age 12, Dorena begins to bond with the father she never knew.
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Whether Tanisia is stressed about school, money, or a bad cold, her father can always reassure and calm her.
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Natalie’s father left the family when she was 4 years old, and rarely visits. Yet she has still not given up on him completely.
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Growing up in Venezuela, Francis moves with her mother to four different cities and switches schools eight times. In the U.S., Francis finally puts her foot down.
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The writer interviews other teens about how they talk to their parents about sex—and discovers that most aren’t talking about it at all.
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The writer turns to therapy when she can no longer handle her father’s rage.
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Diane is 12 when she finds out her older brother is dying from AIDS. Three years after his death, she still has many unanswered questions.
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Lily feels neglected by her hardworking immigrant parents, until she travels to China and sees the poverty they escaped.

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