The teenage years are tough-for kids, and for parents. Many teenagers are grappling with a slew of overwhelming emotions, and the results can range from not wanting to be seen with a parent in public to reckless and destructive behavior that can destroy a family. Parents despair as a child becomes a sullen, defiant stranger.
A clinical psychologist who's spent more than two decades bringing families back from the brink, Dr. Neil I. Bernstein knows how to help parents and teens successfully navigate these difficult and trying years. Thoughtful, clear-eyed, comprehensive, and refreshingly free of jargon, HOW TO KEEP YOUR TEENAGER OUT OF TROUBLE AND WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAN'T helps parents identify whether their teens are exhibiting typical behavior-such as locking themselves in their room for
hours-or are exhibiting real danger signs, such as being secretive, despondent, or constantly angry. And then he tells what to do about it. The focus, above all else, is effective communication: how to avoid threats and put-downs, offer clear explanations, stick with the issues at hand, negotiate, improve listening skills, ask relevant questions, and stop interrogating or lecturing. Throughout, Bernstein uses examples from his practice to tell specifically what to do and say. There is sample dialogue to keep discussions from becoming arguments; signals that parental efforts are actually working; and Skill Builders that give parents the tools they need to ensure their teenagers leave home as responsible, moral adults.