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The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens Paperback


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The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens + Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + Teens
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Viva Editions (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573446572
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573446570
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #447,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...a healthy dose of optimism and lots of practical suggestions."
—Publishers Weekly

"Every parent of a child or teen will benefit from keeping this wise book on their night stand. It's likely they will want it handy to read over and over again." — Judy Ford, author of Every Day Love: The Delicate Art of Caring for Each Other and Wonderful Ways to Love a Child

"Dr. Duffy provides a clear, straightforward, doable answer for parents: Stay in touch! Research clearly shows that an open, friendly parent-teen relationship is a major factor in protecting kids from harm. The age-old question for parents of teens has always been: ‘How do I relate to these new kids of mine—how should I manage them?’ The Available Parent provides a clear blueprint for a practical and effective response: Manage the problems you have to, but above all else, stay in touch!"
—Dr. Thomas W. Phelan, author of 1-2-3 Magic and Surviving Your Adolescents

"Dr. John Duffy's fresh new concept of availability in parenting is an idea that meets the moment. With the pace of society constantly accelerating, we need The Available Parent now more than ever! Dr. John's writing is smart, approachable and right on the mark. His blend of practical ideas and colorful examples delivers great insights. Most importantly, I am a better parent thanks to this book."
—Eric Langshur, Co-author of We Carry Each Other

"I couldn't put The Available Parent down because I found my inner voice kept saying "Yeah, that's right!" or "Oh, dang, I wish I had known that when my girls were teens." When I finished reading, I called my two daughters, now in their twenties, and asked them if my husband and I were Available Parents. They both reassured me that we were--and still are. John's a brilliant writer with keen intuition into how kids think and how parents can, sometimes unknowingly, sabotage their relationship. John has used his vast experience to provide parents with the inside dope into how kids view their lives, and what they really need from their parents to make the leap into becoming mentally healthy young adults. Best of all, John relays their amazing stories of growth in smooth, witty, and helpful prose. Any parent with a child--no matter what the age--should read and learn from this book.
—Eileen Norris, contributing writer and editor of the bestselling You: The Smart Patient by Drs. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen

"What a true gift. This outstanding book truly gives you a blueprint to fully be available to your teen son or daughter. You will marvel at your teen’s sense of competence, can-do attitude, and improved self-esteem. Teens and parents are both resilient; with the tools provided in the remarkable book The Available Parent, you and your teenager can both enjoy your new and improve relationship."
—Dr. Kate Smart Mursau, co-author of Smart Parenting: How to Raise Happy, Can-Do Kids

"Every parent who wants to give it their best shot in working with, and not in opposition to, their teen, needs to check in with Dr. John Duffy, and apply his "available parent" strategy. As a professional journalist, author, and mom of three teens who writes about parenting, I was so glad to have found Dr. Duffy in time to give me the tools to quickly understand what it means to be an available parent. To my surprise and delight, as I intentionally make myself more available as a mom, my teens are now purposefully reaching out to engage with me! Dr. Duffy is a trusted guide and cool guy. He truly cares and is all about helping parents and their children find the bright light in each other. He helped to open a whole new channel of communication for me with my teens, and allowed me to appreciate their uniqueness and focus on that, instead of the moments that "challenge."
—Mary Beth Sammons, author of Second Acts That Change Lives: Making a Difference in the World

"John Duffy has written one of the most eye-opening parenting books around, an inspiring, important tool for all parents. From his expertise and experience working with teens, John gives us the key ingredient for a healthy, successful parent-teen relationship…. being The Available Parent. What a simple yet profound title, and what a rude awakening for me! John masterfully defines available parenting and helps parents stop the unhealthy dance with their kids. He gives excellent insight, advice and approaches to become the effective parent we desire to be. And throughout the book, he uses real life excerpts from teens discussing their issues so parents can understand what is really going on in their world. This is a must-read and is essential to building a healthy relationship with your teen."
—Megan Walls, CEC, ACC, Founder, Conscious Connections Coaching

"The Available Parent is a valuable and thought-provoking resource that’s filled with many precious lessons and gives parents a unique perspective on cultivating a healthy relationship with their kids."
—Psych Central


From the Inside Flap

From the foreword:

Suddenly, it seems, you are the parent of a teenager. It’s a role you
have looked forward to for several years with a good deal of concern
and apprehension. And sure enough, now that the job is upon you, you
realize it is a different world! Your formerly friendly son now seems
more sullen, moody and distant. Over the last few months your daughter
has apparently come to believe that her parents are out of touch with
reality. Where are these kids coming from?

As one mother put it, “My daughter went to high school her
first day as a freshman and never returned. I lost my baby!” Through
things like Facebook and texting, teens nowadays seem to spend their
entire days “wired” to each other. When they’re not connecting with
peers, they are surfing the Internet, playing video games or watching
TV. It’s as if there is no more room in their lives for parents.
Attempts to communicate at the dinner table, such as the notorious “How
was your day?” are met with curt responses like “Fine.” End of
conversation. Another attempt at pulling teeth has failed.

You feel hurt, rejected, angry and scared. What if my son
starts using drugs? What if my daughter starts having sex? What in
God’s name am I supposed to be doing with This Kid!?

In The Available Parent, Dr. John Duffy sticks his neck out
and offers a clear answer: As the parent of a teenager your top
priority—before anything else—is to stay in touch with your rapidly
changing youngster. Staying in touch is the essence of what Dr. Duffy
means by availability. Availability is the ability to understand your
child’s need to pull away. It’s the ability to remember your own
teenage years and—even though you may feel rejected at times—to treat
your retreating child with respect. Availability is the ability to
leave your fears and your ego behind and to really listen to what your
adolescent has to say, even if it makes you cringe.

Not an easy task by any means, but The Available Parent
gives a clear roadmap for carrying the mission out. Dr. Duffy first
takes you inside the mind of a teenager, so you can understand where
this kid is coming from. He then explains why some parents’ natural
inclinations, such as snooping, micromanaging, blinders and bribery,
never work. Next Dr. Duffy describes the notion of parental
availability, and he offers specific methods for recreating the
connection with your adolescent offspring. For those who are fearful
that availability means laissez faire parenting, there is a chapter on
discipline and behavioral contracts.

The goal of Dr. Duffy’s book is to help parents of teens
understand and define their job. For moms and dads that means, among
other things, accepting the fact that their children are supposed to
eventually break away, leave home and become attached to new people.
But the goal of The Available Parent is also that teens and parents
enjoy one another’s company as much as possible now while they’re still
living in the same house.

What in God’s name am I supposed to be doing with This Kid?
The Available Parent gives you the answer.


Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D.
1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12



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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I highly recommend this book to all parents!
AlyS.
This book will show how to keep yourself from making these decisions by helping you understand more clearly what kinds of consequences these decisions can have.
The Nexwave
Dr. Duffy offers solid advice for parenting teens!!
Jm Dougherty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pat on July 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a just a fantastic read! Duffy gives great advice, backs it up with interesting examples from his practice, and puts it all into nice easy chunks to digest (and try to put into practice). I always felt that my husband and I had moved from the parent role to more of a "coach" role for our teenagers, but was never really sure that I could explain why I felt it was better for them. He does all that and more. He also makes it clear that parenting teenagers shouldn't be a chore, that these are precious years that should be enjoyed. (Not that there won't be any tough spots, but you know what I mean.)

If you have time to read only one book about parenting teens, I would choose this one. (And I'm a librarian, so I see a fair number of parenting books.) I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sable Badaki on May 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Living with two teenage girls is not an easy task. As I was reading this book, I kept saying " Oh, I get it now". I realized, I didn't "get them". I can't say I agreed with all his tips but I am utilizing some and I can see the difference in my relationship with my girls. This book is practical with great examples and covers almost all the basis on parenting a teenager. It's an easy read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marie Dash on May 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book will give parents, grandparents or anyone involved in the lives of teens and tweens a helping hand in understand how our children think and relate to different situations. I think helps to gives the child a voice towards getting the parent or guardian to relate to them with insight. I purchased a copy for myself (grandmother), my husband (who reads abundantly) and my daughter (parent of a preteen). She thanked me for giving it to her. I also added the book "Getting to Calm".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marek on February 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
In a post-Jerry Springer age, it seems that the only way for struggling parents to get advice is to be yelled at, ideally in front of a camera. This book offers parents straight-forward, common sense advice that might seem easy to think of but might be difficult to remember without coaching. The author understands that what popular media might deem negligence or bad parenting often stems from relatively innocent misunderstandings, miscommunications, and misconceptions. If you're about to start raising a teenager, take this book and study is advice now, before you make any of those stupid mistakes you're so sure you'd never make.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I. Kwitny on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been confident that I am a fairly good parent. I read all of the "What to expect..." books when I was pregnant and when the kids were toddlers. I almost forgot to look for help during the scary teen years. I loved this book. I was surprised to find it was not just a guide but a good read. The stories were great. I know that I will handle situations better for having read it. It was like getting condensed therapy sessions in the privacy of my home!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By maggierose on May 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Duffy's insight on the many situations that arise during those fragile yet rocky teenage years hit home. My ex-husband and I disagreed on how to handle our "very social" teenager who was constantly getting caught doing the wrong thing and began sneaking around us due to our strict household. Dr. Duffy's vision to being an "available parent" is almost exactly the approach I fought to take to ensure our child's confidence and trust was not lost. It proved successful. I have a wonderful, loving, high academic achieving, Division 1 college athlete who now realizes their mistakes. I truly believe, if a less available approach was used, we would be dealing with some very serious issues at this young adult age of 20. Thanks Dr. Duffy for a great read. You were able to put into words my thoughts and ideas of successful parenting. Looking forward to your next book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. G. Gagliano VINE VOICE on May 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
While I didn't always agree with Dr. Duffy, as I am 50% "helicopter parent". Two years ago I was 100% but I am dealing with kids 6 and 8 years old. I am getting better at giving them space as they get older and prove themselves. I also micro-manage at this time, mostly conversations, helping them use good manners however I don't believe I will do this as they get older. In my mind, how will they know how to be effective listeners, use good manners and good judgment, if they are not being told how to?
If I remove myself out of the veil of mommy to elementary aged kids, I think this is the perfect book to aid parents of tweens and teens. I love how Dr. Duffy looks at and sees things! These kids are not lying. They are saying exactly what they need from their parents and thankfully there is a book out there telling us how to interpret what they need and how we can adjust ourselves to be the best parent for our kids and especially our future relationship with them.

I know exactly who needs this book and I am so happy to be able to tell her about it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Available Parent is a positive handbook for parents. It reinforces the positive behaviors they have and makes suggestions for other alternatives.
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