- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Focus on the Family (January 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1589974816
- ISBN-13: 978-1589974814
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Losing Control and Liking It: How to Set Your Teen (and Yourself) Free Paperback – January 1, 2009
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From the Back Cover
Discover the joys of cage-free parenting It's been drummed into your head: You have to make your kids turn out right. If you don't, what will people think? Worse, what disasters await if your child takes the wrong path? You try to control the outcome. You turn your home into a fortress, multiply the rules, or jump in to "fix" things the moment your teenager makes a poor choice. You wear yourself out with worry-and alienate your child to boot. The truth is that you can't make your kids turn out right. It's not even your job. In fact, your real role as a parent is much more rewarding, pleasant, and doable. Let experienced counselor and parent Tim Sanford show you how to give up your fears about your teenager's future-and the control you never really had. You'll discover the truth about how God parents His children, and it will set you free. You can turn your home from a battleground to a birthplace of freedom for you and your teen. You're about to lose control-and we think you'll like it.
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Top customer reviews
Thesis: Parents should influence their children by validating and nurturing, not trying to control. Rules are for safety and necessary order, but "You Live and Die by Your Own Choices" (p. 50, "Rule One of Life").
Sanford begins with the 2 roles of parenting: validating and nurturing. This does NOT include "making them turn out right." He continues with other good points:
1. The 3 rules of life: i. "You Live and Die by Your Own Choices" (i.e. parents cannot make those choices for their kids), ii. "You Can Choose Smart or Stupid" (i.e. not every choice is as good as another) iii. "There's Always Somebody or Something Whose Job Is to Make Your Life Miserable When You Choose Stupid," including parents! (I.e. parents do have a role in influencing their kids toward good choices, by making sure that poor choices have negative consequences.)
2. 4 actions: healthy actions are to HOLD what you have control over and responsibility for and to FOLD your hands giving control to God for the rest. Unhealthy actions are to TOSS responsibility for your own choices to someone else and to GRAB responsibility for things you can't control.
3. 3 habits to break: i. Replace "should" with "could, would like, wish, or choose" in your thinking and speech, both for yourself and for others. ii. Replace "what if" thinking with what you need to do right now, perhaps by thinking first of 5 colors you see, 5 sounds you hear and 5 things you physically feel (which can help bring you into the present). iii. Replace a desire to live your life again vicariously with a focus on what is good for your child based on their own gifts, interests, needs and abilities (this list of what to base on is mine, not Sanford's).
4. 4 "dances": Do you try to GRAB what your child is trying to HOLD (and which is in fact theirs to hold)? Or do you GRAB when your child TOSSes? Or FOLD when they TOSS? Or stick with the healthy dance: FOLD while your child HOLDs?
5. 7 rules on rules (versus advice or suggestions): remember that rules need to be enforced or they aren't rules but advice or suggestions, and make sure that the rules are in fact necessary for safety or order, that they are "a hill worth dying on" (p. 110) and that they are there "to make it `ouch' a bit when your teenager chooses stupid, not to `control' him or make him `turn out right'" (p. 111), much less simply for your own convenience . Make the consequences clear and specific, not "When you're responsible enough, then we'll ..." I.e. does not "Tie an `attitude change'" to restoration of a privilege taken for rule-breaking" (p. 170). And don't give "grace" unless the needed lesson has been learned. Sanford suggests limiting household rules to five.
7. Anger = hurt + worry. Express it but without hurting yourself or others.
8. A good discussion about intervention when it is needed, noting that timely mentoring by other adults can often remove any need for further intervention.
9. Sanford also gives good advice about the legally important age of 18, which doesn't mean they no longer need you. But you may need to kick a kid out (treat them like a tenant? pp. 151-2). There's also good advice on the question of paying for college (Sanford recommends dealing with it as a scholarship fund would).
The last word: questions are often much more effective than statements.
We have found so much of what Tim Sanford teaches to be true, and yet we find ourselves going back to this book again and again for reminders and encouragement when we are tempted to "clamp down" out of fear, when really we should be trusting not only our God, but the process that will occur naturally as all that we have taught and modeled over the year comes together with the God's current work in the life of our incredibly insightful, thoughtful, opinionated 17 year old.