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Parent/Teen Breakthrough: The Relationship Approach Paperback – May 1, 1991
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My husband gave me the task when the kids were young of having them play at our house because I was better at watching kids. But I had a horrible role model. So, I had to figure out how to accomplish this task. I read and practiced the first book. And things were great. Then I found this one when the kids were getting a bit older and read it. Okay, so the man that told me he wanted the neighborhood kids to play here, was really shocked when they never stopped hanging here. All the middle school and high school friends were always here. He got annoyed one time because it was near dinner and there were five or six kids here besides my two not leaving. We had no special plans. He said hon? I looked at him and said pizza? He rolled his eyes more for the expense. I looked at the kids and said, dinner time, if you guys want to stay, about about $5 for pizza and soda? They never hesitated. One kid was almost in tears because he didn't have any money and the others just threw in couple more bucks...
One kid came over while I was trying to make dinner, clean the house... He grabbed the vacuum from and and vacuumed the house without being asked.
I honestly believe that kids want respect. If you respect them and they respect you, they will listen to you. This will teach you how you both can win.
So I've been reading "all the best books" on parenting teenagers (Michael Bradley, Anthony Wolfe, etc.) I've learned good things from every book, but I think this is the best single book for parents who are struggling and need help. For one thing, it's the most positive book in the stack, and at the end of a hard day with your kid, reading a book that presents a positive view of the teenage years and teenage behavior is soothing and helps you get to sleep.
There are two weaknesses in this book, from my point of view. One is, the authors don't tell you how to make the transition from parenting a basically sweet, basically cooperative ten year old to parenting an older kid who is totally focused on becoming independent. The authors just say "Control-based methods of parenting just won't work with your teen, give them up." But should you really "let go of the steering wheel" that much with an 11 or 12 year old? Eee gad, I just can't see it with my particular 12 year old! I wish the book had more advice for parenting during the transition period from 10 to 14 or so (when freedom for the kid to make major decisions and major mistakes is appropriate or at least inevitable).
The other weakness I see in this book is, they don't give parents the best training in a few key communication skills that are really useful with teens. To supplement your learning in this area, I highly recommend Thomas Gordon's book/program "Parent Effectiveness Training." Gordon gives great training in Active Listening, I-Messages, and No-Lose Problem Solving. You can learn and fine-tune these skills with PET and then plug them right into the "Relationship Approach" you learn from Parent/Teen Breakthrough. (It will be obvious to you which skill to use when.) The PET skills will turbo-charge your Relationship Approach.
Good luck to all of us with teens and Pre-Teens With Hormones!
I've read a lot of parenting books. This is one that will be staying on my shelf to read through my next 3 children's teenage years.
The book has one theory and everything stems from that theory. A child's job is to become independent and leave home. All of their actions must be understood in that framework. The rest is commentary.
The book goes on to explain how this issue is causing all of the struggles, tensions, arguments, conflicts, and hurts. It is very enlightening. I find myself going back to its wisdom time and time again. It makes sense, it's clear, it's useful, it works.