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Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent's Guide to the New Teenager, Revised and Updated Paperback – August 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews Review

This is a survival guide for parents who find themselves marooned among volatile and incomprehensible aliens on Planet Teen. Area maps cover the obvious ground--there are chapters on school, sex, suicide, and so on--but it's the title of Chapter 2, "What They Do and Why," that best captures the book's spirit and technique. Anthony Wolf's modus operandi is not so much to make pronouncements about what parents should do, as to explain adolescent behavior in a way that's bound to leave parents with a changed view of the plausible options. Wolf is a clinical psychologist, and his writing is clear--even witty--and he doesn't resort to jargon. The expository text is punctuated with snatches of illustrative dialogue, which serve as concrete examples and help parents learn how to see, anticipate, and avoid "bad strategies." (One key mistake is getting dragged into no-win conflicts instead of having the wisdom to shut up at the moment when shutting up would be most effective--albeit the least satisfying--thing to do.) There are also some nicely tongue-in-cheek samples of "ideal" communication--the stuff we imagine might get said if only we were better parents. After one such rosily cooperative and considerate interchange between a father and his adolescent son, Wolf offers the following two-edged comfort: "The above conversation has never happened. Never. Not in the whole history of the world." Message: Parenting adolescents is inherently difficult. Don't judge your efforts by otherworldly standards. --Richard Farr --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This updated edition (a chapter on gay and lesbian teenagers and the ramifications of the electronic world have been added) will be as useful to parents as the 1992 version. Wolf, a clinical psychologist who works with adolescents (Why Did You Have to Get a Divorce? And When Can I Get a Hamster?), clearly has a feel for both the angst of young people who must deal with an evermore complex world and the difficulties parents face when a cooperative loving child morphs into a teenager who lies, talks back and avoids parental company. Humorous and insightful, Wolf describes what is, rather than what mothers and fathers of rebellious and thoughtless adolescents wish would be. He is forthright in stating that "you do not win the battle for control with teenagers... usually the best you get is imperfect control." Despite the best efforts of parents, today's adolescents frequently drink, experiment with drugs and are sexually active. According to the author, however, it is still important to have rules even though a teenager may break them. If parents clearly state their expectations of behavior and restate them when a teen disobeys, their son or daughter will, to some extent, internalize the rules and abide by them sometimes. In addition to providing excellent advice on particular situations, including divorce, school problems and stepparenting, he makes the often obnoxious manner in which teens communicate with their parents understandable as a rite of passage that they will eventually outgrow.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Revised edition (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374528535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374528539
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D., is a practicing clinical psychologist and the author of many bestselling books. He has worked with children and adolescents for more than thirty years and lectures widely on parenting topics. He lives in Suffield, Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 159 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Anthony E. Wolf has added another parenting guide to his list of help books. -Get Out Of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl To The Mall? offers advice and much needed assistance to parents who are raising teenagers. Wolf describes today's adolescents as the "new teenager who are different than teenagers of previous generations and many parents are finding them almost impossible to deal with. They are bolder, less obedient, and their world is much more threatening and complicated. Therefore, the parents of today's "new teenagers" need to alter their parenting skills to be better equipped to handle such matters and Wolf's book can help. Most adults view teenagers as immature robots of disobedience who are merely trying to be difficult and miserable. But Wolf describes adolescents and their behavior in ways which make them seem much more needy of their parents love, guidance, and compassion. Wolf's book does not administer a list of rules of what to do and what not to do when raising a teenager. Instead he offers a variety of real life situations and he suggests methods parents may use to deal with these issues. . And, if there is no solution, as is the case in some of the situations, Wolf is not afraid to say so. Also, Wolf goes beyond just describing these situations. He gets behind the problem and explains why teenagers act the way that they do. His words act as a translator for the very foreign language of teenage behavior and very often his descriptions make their behavior seem much less despicable and much more comprehendible. Wolf covers such areas as parental decision making, lying teenagers, confrontation and how parents should handle it, teenagers who continually break rules, and methods parents should use to make rules.Read more ›
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86 of 86 people found the following review helpful By on January 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am an avid reader and get most of my information this way. So, I've read many books to help me get through these teenage years, which stated half way through 6th grade (age 12) and continuing with frightening fury through age 14. Mostly, they have made me feel guilty for things I hadn't done. This books takes you where you're at as ugly as it may be. This is the first time I have been able to feel that my daughter is normal, that is an important first step in dealing with a teenager. Chapter 3 was most meaningful for me. It dealt with letting go and accepting the person you're child has become. We spend our child's lives raising them and protecting them and as if overnight, we are expected to stand back and live with our creation. I also appreciated how he recognizes some parents feelings that although we love them, we at times hate them and want to cause them physical harm. I too, feel like this was written about my child. I also feel that he must have heard some of the conversations we have had and repeated them verbatim. He wrote this book long before I ever dreamed those words could come out of my darling daughters mouth. I feel not so alone.
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155 of 167 people found the following review helpful By VRhodes on April 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
After several recommendations by friends with teens, I've almost finished this book after a couple of days of reading. Helpful points include the reminders to not engage in pointless arguments and to state my position clearly and concisely and not to lecture. My problem with the book is the lack of any apparent consequences for bad behavior. Teen comes in an hour past curfew? Re-state the appropriate curfew time and move on. Teen lies about grades on homework? Overlook the lie and re-state expectations about homework. Teen calls parent a f-ing b*tch? Ignore the name calling and remain silent. While I agree it creates ongoing conflict to call kids out on these behaviors and punish them, I think that is a necessary part of the landscape and to think otherwise is unrealistically permissive.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By on November 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Get Out Of My Life is a guidebook written to help parents understand and positively manage the difficult adolescent years. Suggestions on how parents can deal with adolescent turmoil, conflict, and real life issues are made.
The physical and intellectual changes associated with adolescence are discussed. How teenagers respond to these uncontrolled changes is remarkably similar within the individual sexes. On the other hand, they can be quite different between the sexes. For example, for young female teens fitting in is paramount. A young female teen's self esteem can be directly tied to their level of popularity. Friends are also very important to young male teens, but the boys are more accepting and less cruel in the process.
The interaction between parent and teenager is described and analyzed. Because the transition from childhood to adolescence is sporadic and out of character, parents are typically caught off guard and unprepared for hostile parent-adolescent interactions. This discussion is especially valuable in providing the bewildered parents examples of predictable teenage demands and how to handle them. For example, the parent of a new teen will immediately recognize the anecdotal descriptions the author provides like, "I don't care". Here the child threatens disobedience with the famous "I don't care what you say or do to me, I'll do what I want......." The author explains that it is the parent's job to discern actual disobedience from threatened disobedience and to avoid the ensuing fight at all costs.
Finally, the book examines the real world external challenges teenagers face and gives the reader statistics, tips, and advise on: peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, divorce between parents, trouble in school, and sex.
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