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Sheryl Wachsman Prenzlau

Sheryl Wachsman Prenzlau

Sheryl Wachsman Prenzlau has written a number of works of fiction for WholeFamily.com under pseudonyms and she contributed to the first chapter of the original online version of The Affair. She says, "I draw not on my personal family experience in my writing, but from my observations of real life situations." Sheryl graduated from Queens College in NY with a BA in Psychology. She has edited an anthology of children's stories and published many children's books, including a five-part series, Bible Stories for Children. Sheryl has written first person stories for newspapers and magazines. She is married, the mother of two and the proud grandmother of a beautiful baby girl.

Jen, 14 1/2, hears her parents fighting again about her father's affairs. She can't understand why her mother lets herself be bought off by his presents. She can't understand why her mother doesn't just throw him out once and for all. Well, they're at it again. I wonder how it will end this time. Maybe if I turn up the sound real loud I'll drown them out. I think the part I hate most is the cursing.

Melanie, 13, is disturbed about her weight. Her mother thinks she looks fine, but she doesn't quite make it into her bikini. Summer is coming, and she's beginning to panic. Could this be the beginning of anorexia? I cant stand looking in the mirror. I'm so fat - all these bulges and rolls of lard on my legs and hips - at least 8-10 pounds worth! I wish I could look like Amy. She looks great in those jeans she wore today, and I saw all the guys looking at her. I even saw Steve staring at her when she walked past us at lunch. I wish.... My Mom says I look just fine, but what does she know? In a few weeks we??ll all start going to the beach again, and I'll just die when everyone sees me in my swimsuit with all this fat.

Ellen, 15, is a bright, attractive well-liked high school sophomore. Nevertheless, she has plunged into despair and is contemplating suicide. In this three-part series she talks about her feelings, the problems at home and at school and the help she receives from her friend, Jenny.

PART ONE It's like a pain that hurts so deep down inside I can't find where it starts and where it ends. Sometimes I can't stop crying, and other times I can't find any tears, and I just shake with sorrow. I Can't Go On: A Therapist's Comments Ellen is seriously suicidal. Why? How did she reach that point? Do her problems seem to be more severe than anyone else's? I just feel so alone.

It was almost as if a monster had moved in with us. Overnight, our sweet 14 year old daughter changed from a friendly, loving member of the family into a terrifying stranger. It was like living with Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. She refused to talk to us anymore, she dressed in torn rags that even a trashman wouldn't bother hauling to the dump and styled her hair into crazy designs. Everything we said to her was met with a slammed door, an angry sneer, and a turned up nose. I used to be able to talk with her easily, and we had always loved going shopping together and spending time with each other. We'd been good friends for years.

Amanda, 13 1/2, is not one of the "in" kids whom everyone wants to sit next to. "What's wrong with me," she's wondering, "and how will I deal with the anxiety of the first day?" I always hate the first day of school. Not the shopping part - that I like. It's fun to get new clothes and shoes. And I love wrapping all my books so everything looks perfect, and getting all the new notebooks and pens, and cool erasers. But I hate thinking about who I'm gonna sit near. I know that all the "in kids" are gonna stick together, and I never fit with them. I wish I could be part of that crowd and that everyone would fight to sit near me. But I'm just a loser and always have to go over to someone and ask, "Do you wanna sit next to me?" It makes me so nervous.

Brandon, 6 1/2, comes home one evening to discover his Daddy is leaving home. He can't understand why his parents can't solve their problems without his Daddy moving out, and he's wondering if he is to blame. I don't understand. Why did Daddy move out last night? I came home from school and he was taking out a suitcase. It looked like he was crying! Anyhow, he kind of messed my hair and said he'd see me on the weekend. Lyn kept pulling on Daddy's pants and wouldn't let him leave, but Mommy finally stopped her from running down the steps after him.

Tension and conflict in a marriage inevitably lead to a phenomenon called triangulation. What that means is that a third person, usually a child, is unconsciously drawn into the parents' conflict as a means of diffusing it. In other words, a wife who feels angry with her distant husband might compensate by becoming closer to her son.

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