“Behind Closed Doors” ~ parenting teens in today’s world (a review)

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Do you feel confident parenting your teens (or your children who will be teens someday) in today’s world? Because our teens face a world that didn’t exist when we were teenagers. Then, there was no such thing as vaping. Texting. Or for that matter, sexting. Present-day teens’ mental health concerns include anxiety and depression, as well as the stress that social media use can produce. I was thrilled to receive Jessica L. Peck’s exceptional guidebook, Behind Closed Doors. As a pediatric nurse practitioner, she cared for young patients who faced all these stressors and life issues…and more. This book is her response to the issues our kids face today, and as the subtitle says, it is “A Guide to Help Parents and Teens Navigate Through Life’s Toughest Issues.”

From the publisher

Behind Closed Doors is a practical guide for parents guiding their tweens and teens through cultural change and modern-day health threats. Jessica Peck, a pediatric nurse practitioner and mom of four, helps parents escape the secrecy and shame surrounding challenging moments and find freedom in honest conversations grounded in faith in Christ.

There are many jokes about the difficulties of raising a teenager, but beneath these jokes parents are hurting and feeling helpless while their teens are navigating extraordinary cultural challenges unlike anything faced by previous generations. Teens are feeling more isolated, anxious, and depressed. But how can we help them effectively navigate social challenges when we don’t have the social skills to communicate authentically with dignity and compassion? How do we create safe spaces in a seemingly unsafe world?

Jessica Peck (DNP, APRN) has spent countless hours advising and encouraging parents after talking to their teens behind closed doors.  Jessica seeks to move the private conversations that happen in the clinic to relationship-building conversations at home. 

Behind Closed Doors is a guided lifeline to help parents assess their teen’s emotional, physical, and spiritual health, and to ultimately help them strengthen their connection with their kids. She has divided her book into three sections:

  • Behind the Clinic Door: professional advice for parents on tough teenage issues from a health impact lens, sharing true stories of patients.
  • Behind the Home Door: suggested settings, activities, and question prompts to give parents conversation keys to unlock doors for open dialogue with their teens on tough issues and meet them at their point of need.
  • Behind the Heart Door: a time of reflection and spiritual application for parents to explore devotional readings, relevant Bible verses, Scripture-based prayers for parents, themed Christian music playlists, and prompts to write 12 Legacy Letters, a generational keepsake for teens.

Covering topics including mental health, social media, suicide, sexting, substance abuse, gender identity, and more, Jessica Peck’s book will encourage and strengthen all parents—married, single, or divorced; grandparents, stepparents, godparents, bonus parents, adopted parents—anyone who is serving a parental role in a teen’s life.

My thoughts

Parenting. The joy, responsibility, and in so many ways, it is the job that utterly humbles you. How desperately we need not only the Lord’s counsel but the mentorship of parents who have gone before us. I’m so glad to say that Jessica Peck really is that parent. I loved this book, and her wise, humble, and compassionate ideas for parenting our children today. I found so much wisdom and direction that I could apply to my own parenting journey. In fact, in addition to highlighting and tabbing pages that were meaningful, I also began taking notes in a journal (for quick reference!).

Your teens absolutely, 100 percent, for sure are talking to someone about this topic. You have the amazing privilege to choose if that person will be you.

Jessica L. Peck

Here are some vital ideas, many of which are really themes we can add to our own parenting:

  • Converse with LOVE (Listen with your face, Offer open-ended questions, Validate feelings, Explore next steps together). We can be so used to the directive parenting that littles need. But teens and tweens have different needs altogether. This conversation style can help us to help our teenaged children know that we are hearing them; that we value them; that we aren’t rushing to judgment (or condemnation). All these set the stage for the last stage, Exploring next steps together. What a wonderful way to begin to equip them for adulthood–plus letting our kids know we value them so deeply.
  • Talk with your teens about social media. Cyberbullying, catfishing, cyberstalking, trolling–and even human trafficking–can be rampant for teens online. And it’s not just those issues; the verbal cruelty, isolation, and raging that happens to children and teens as they game with others online are utterly heartbreaking. Potentially soul-crushing. Think about the hurtful moments in our own child or teen years. Think also of Joseph’s life; a man who endured horrible suffering AND healing (Genesis 37-50). Can you work through that process in your own life (weeping, forgiving, trusting in God)? As Jessica encourages us to do, we can then reflect/pray/and act in faith and for healing alongside our teens. (I also wholeheartedly recommend therapy/counseling if that pain is too deep for us to heal ourselves.)
  • There’s an amazing postscript chapter called “How to Heal Generational Hurts.” Did you know that not only eye color or body style can be passed down in families, but also generational pains or curses? Peck references a 1997 Kaiser Permanente Health study (authored by Vincent Felitti and Robert Auda) that connected childhood trauma (specifically, ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences) to adult health outcomes. Here’s a short summary from Peck: “Tolerable stress is facing serious events when you are buffered by supportive relationships. Toxic stress happens when the stress response is activated repeatedly without a support system…the best protective factor to avoid a toxic stress response? It’s the presence of a supportive adult in a child’s life.” What an encouragement!

In closing

Do you look at this list of topics and feel as though you’re relatively (or completely) unprepared to talk with your teen about them?

  • Mental health
  • Social media
  • Cyberbullying
  • Suicide
  • Vaping
  • Substance abuse
  • Divorce
  • Sex and sexting
  • Porn
  • Social justice
  • Gender identity
  • Eating disorders

It’s a daunting list, isn’t it? But this is a list of ideas or events that our teens are very familiar with; or maybe, they THINK that they know everything about them. Perhaps the last thing in the world they want is to talk with mom or dad about these. Wouldn’t you love to be prepared to, though? Wouldn’t you want to be able to sit down and clearly and lovingly talk about these with your teen?

This is the book for you then. It certainly has been for me. And while Behind Closed Doors does give guidelines and ideas for these talks, at its heart it’s a book about relationship and communication. To help us as parents to build open, vulnerable, honest, and LOVING communication with our teens. Then we can have the hard–but incredibly important–conversations, and do our best to equip our teens for the world we live in.

Get a copy of this book. You’ll be so, so glad you did; and your children will reap wonderful rewards.

You can enter to win a copy of Behind Closed Doors

BlessedFreebies.com is giving away a copy of Behind Closed Doors to a winner. Just click on the giveaway link below. That will take you to the giveaway page. Scroll down and you’ll find the entry info. Giveaway closes 11/7/22. Best wishes!

Behind Closed Doors giveaway link

Where you can purchase Behind Closed Doors

Click on this link to purchase Behind Closed Doors. That will take you to the Thomas Nelson website, which will direct you to your choice of booksellers. In addition, you can download for free a printable Legacy Letter package (a wonderful tool to pour blessing into your child’s life) and a microblog video series with Jessica.

Be blessed in your parenting journey! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions shared here are my own honest ones.

Pure Flix’s “Vindication” ~ A Police Procedural with a Twist

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Earlier in the summer, I had the privilege of sharing Pure Flix’s streaming service with you all. Did you know that Pure Flix not only offers movies of all types (current, classic, kids, family, teens and more) but also, a number of tv series? One of those is one I’ve taken to in a big way. It’s called Vindication, and it’s a police procedural, with a twist. Momentum Influencer Network provided the way for me to watch this series on Pure Flix and my husband and I are TOTALLY engaged with it and its characters! Let me tell you more…and keep an eye out for a giveaway I may or may not have for you, not today but very soon!

So. You may not know this about me, but I am a HUGE fan of police procedurals. I love the suspense, the drama, the unfolding of an investigation, and, I hope, the solving of the crime. It isn’t the crime that I’m interested in as much as it is seeing good people working to bring justice and bring help to the victims. That is so satisfying to me. I’ve been thrilled to add Vindication to my lists of faves in this category. It’s wonderful…while providing viewers with a little something extra.

About Vindication

With each episode about 23 minutes long, in a 10-episode first season, Vindication introduces viewers to Detective Gary Travis. He’s served for 15 years in the police force of a Dallas suburb. He lives with his wife Becky in town. When we meet Det. Travis, he’s interviewing a suspect in a crime. We find out over the course of the episode that the interviewee is being questioned because of a serious crime committed against one of his coworkers; a woman that he’d been jeopardizing his marriage over as he flirted with her and met with her outside of work. I’d LOVE to tell you the spoiler of the episode (but I won’t!), but the reveal is just astonishing.

In the remainder of the episodes, we meet Kris, the younger female officer he’s been assigned to mentor; his daughter Katie, who’d been struggling with addiction and out of their home for quite awhile; and other officers from the force. In each episode, viewers learn more about the characters and become intrigued with each one and their relationships, as secrets are brought to light. We begin to see their weaknesses or struggles, as well as their strength. For some, we even learn about their faith.

So police procedurals are about…crime

Yes. Each episode of Vindication is focused on two things: first, the crime that Travis, Kris, and their fellow officers are seeking to solve; and second, what’s happening in each character’s life or relationships. The crimes do include mature themes, like:

  • Stalking
  • Human trafficking
  • Sexting
  • Domestic abuse
  • Murder
  • Addiction
  • The dark web
  • Suspected kidnapping

And while these are occurring or being investigated, there is also the human element of each characters. They’re not presented as perfect people who have it all together; they have failings and struggles just like (to be honest here) every human has! Many of these struggles are some that could honestly wreck a life, or a relationship. But that is where the “twist” that I mentioned in the title comes in.

Vindication is just a little different

…and that’s one of the things that makes it so appealing to me. In this series, that little “twist” seemed to me not like a bad turn. Instead, it’s a little something that brings LIFE, like a lime wedge squeezed into a glass of water. It’s something that just almost made me catch my breath in some episodes; in others, I might have teared up. Or almost flat-out ugly-cried.

It is the redeeming inclusion of faith and the amazing difference it can make when lives are going so badly, or wrong decisions have been made by characters. And just like that twist of lime, it’s never heavy-handed or overly done. The faith of some of the characters (because only of few of them would classify themselves as followers of Christ) brings something special to each episode. And I was never quite expecting it; rather, it sneaked up on me and brought surprising resolutions or “wow!” moments in the different episodes. It is, frankly, sometimes breathtaking and beautiful. (And really, as we all probably know, those are not adjectives we can generally use about many police procedurals.)

So who is the intended audience?

Even though there are beautiful moments of faith and resolution, there are also awful, awful examples of the harm one human can do to another. That means, to me, that Vindication is a series that I’d recommend not for children at all, but for teens and adults. It’s still something families with older kids could watch together. And in truth, these are episodes that could provoke powerful conversations between parents and their teens.

As I mentioned, my husband and I streamed Vindication together. We cannot wait for season 2 (hint: it’s already begun to drop!) and continuing to follow the stories of Detective Travis, Kris, Becky, and their families. There is so much we’ve covered in season 1, but so much to come in season 2!

Where to watch Vindication

You can find Vindication on Pure Flix streaming service. Here are some links:

The Vindication series

You can also find out more about the series and check out trailers on the Vindication series website

Also, you can subscribe to Pure Flix by clicking on the highlighted link. You can even start a free trial to check out all the amazing offerings you’ll find there, including Vindication!

Enjoy…and keep an eye out on the FINCHNWREN blog for more about Vindication soon! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I received this product via Momentum Influencer Network. All opinions are honest and my own.

“Love Your Selfie” Blog Tour Review & Giveaway (ends 10/20/20)

Love Your Selfie Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Love Your Selfie by Tessa Emily Hall, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Love Your SelfieTitle: Love Your Selfie Author: Tessa Emily Hall Publisher: Ellie Claire Gifts Release Date: October 13, 2020 Genre: Teen/Young Adult Devotional God loves the real you-without filters, followers, or fabulous backdrops! This glittery devotional journal helps teens find their inner sparkle so they can love themselves. The truth is: the Creator of the Universe stamped His approval on you far before anyone ever had the chance to disapprove. In this 52-week devotional journal, you will be guided through a journey of embracing the unique way you were created. Author Tessa Emily Hall shares her personal struggles of dealing with insecurity and self-shame as a teen, then she invites you to reflect on the weekly message through journal prompts and social media challenges. You will be taken on a journey to understand what Scripture says about your identity, discover how you can tap into your God-given potential, and learn to love who you are inside. Ellie Claire’s LeatherLuxe® material is given new glittery life in this stunning journal with full-color interior design. The rich feel of leather is finished with round corners to make this journal an extraordinary gift for any time of year. FEATURES: Premium, thick, acid-free, non-bleed paper Guided journal from a teen for teens Lightly-ruled space for notes and reflections Full-color interior Presentation page for personalization LeatherLuxe® binding with NEW glitter finish that doesn’t rub off Ribbon marker Smythe-sewn binding PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Christianbook


Tessa Emily Hall

Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who wrote her debut novel when she was sixteen. She is now a multi-published author of both fiction and non-fiction inspirational yet authentic books for teens, including her upcoming release, LOVE YOUR SELFIE (October 2020, Ellie Claire). Her passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as a Literary Agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. Tessa is guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 128 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, teaching at writing conferences, coaching young writers, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is to connect with readers is on her mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.

CONNECT WITH TESSA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


(1) winner will receive a book-inspired prize package including an autographed copy of Love Your Selfie, InnerSparkle coffee blend sample from the book, book swag, prayer journal, pink glitter nail polish, lip gloss, facial mask, etc.!

Love Your Selfie JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on these tours for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight October 13, 2020 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on October 20, 2020. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only, void where prohibited by law or logistics. For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HEREy https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My thoughts about and review of Love Your Selfie

Life is truly an ongoing learning journey, isn’t it? But I think for teen girls, so many different changes and large life questions hit them all at once, or in a quick sequence. Just who are they, anyway? What happened to their elementary school friends who hardly even say “hi” at school anymore? What is happening to their body? Why are they feeling such strong emotions? Do they need to become somebody else? Are they even acceptable as they are?

So much change. And so many questions. Tessa Emily Hall’s magnificent Love Your Selfie is the perfect tool (alongside loving, listening, & attentive parents) to help young women walk out their lives and questions as they enter the teen years. Laid out in a 52-week devotional format, Love Your Selfie offers time for teens to think, to listen to God, to get a grip on the idea that ALL teenaged women experience the changes that they are going through; and to step forward in a healthy, faith-built way. Each chapter offers:

  • A verse
  • A brief devotional writing from Hall on topics that teen women struggle with
  • A “Your Journey” section where readers can ask themselves questions that will clarify for them what they’re thinking and experiencing
  • A confession section which seems more like an affirmation moment, where readers can proclaim truths and grace over themselves
  • A prayer segment
  • A social media challenge (optional) where they can share their experiences with other young women online in the #LoveYourSelfieChallenge
  • A final section each week which may include a Q&A, creative activities, ideas, opportunities for journaling

This is all great stuff. But, what makes it even better are the chapter/weekly topics Tessa Emily Hall writes about and centers the questions and journal entries around. How I would have loved to have had a trusted adult or older teen speaking into these areas during my own teenaged years! Hall speaks about identity, masks/false images, perfectionism, insecurity, struggles, beauty, love, shame, and purpose…and so much more. The  author is real, true, honest and transparent, and clearly speaks with love and great affection for her teen readers. She has been there herself, and she offers truth and the hope of God and His care for and ordering of our lives to young women who might be searching for that very anchor.

I loved this devotional journal and believe it has the power to bless young women in a season of their lives where they are searching for identity, truth, and love. God is right there to provide all of that, and Tessa Emily Hall points the way to Him and His grace. Definitely get a copy of this journal that’s beautiful both inside and out. And scroll back up to the giveaway for your chance to win a Love Your Selfie gift pack!


Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.