If there is any book parents should read about raising teenagers, this is probably it. Dr. Kevin Leman packs the main issues parents face raising their teenagers, and practical solutions to real life situations, examples, and a section with advice on many topics. Especially if you are struggling with your own teenagers, you should read this! This article is a summary of the book…
An Overview of the Book:
Have a New Teenager by Friday is divided into two main sections: a plan that is basically a week´s worth of daily tips to put into practice Monday thru Friday, and then more than half the book, “Ask Dr. Leman”, is his own answers to 75 hot topics related to raising teenagers.
Monday thru Friday:
Dr. Leman writes in a very accessible, common language, so it makes for a quick, light read. If it weren´t for the many encounters he uses as examples all throughout the book, he goes straight to the point on every topic.
On Monday, he begins by helping you understand what kind of problems you have. Are they superficial problems requiring some minor bandaging, or do your problems require serious reconstruction? He helps you realize the way your children are is very much a result of the environment at home. He characterizes parents as: permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian. Permissive parents do anything to let their kids do what they want, while authoritarian parents believe their kids´ opinions don´t matter and should be quiet and obedient until they grow up. Authoritative parents believe they are equal to their teenagers, though they play different roles, and try to help their teenagers exercise their freedom while being held accountable for responsibility and virtue. Lastly, he helps you realize your children will change to the degree that you change.
On Tuesday, he suggests to start lathering on the encouragement and trying to spark real conversation with your teen (as opposed to always “shoulding” him). He offers various tips on creating conversation, such as, not taking things personally, staying calm, listening and avoiding fighting your teen´s battles, offering suggestions when asked, and repeatedly telling your teen what to do to solve his problems.
On Wednesday, he gives you tips on resolving sibling fights, or rather, helping them resolve their fights! He helps you find ways to create peace at home. Lastly, he offers some ideas that will help you run a home, not a hotel!
On Thursday, he talks about establishing healthy boundaries and setting up consequences. He talks about teens´ sexual exploration and what to do about it. He helps you cut back on your teen´s activities so you can all actually have quality family time.
On Friday, finally, he helps you see the importance of discipling your teens, not necessarily simply disciplining them. They need to learn wisdom, good judgment, and discernment from you and from their experiences. He has a special note for moms regarding the rearing of boys. Lastly, he encourages you to get to know the parents of your teens´ friends.
A to Z Game Plans that Work:
A little more than half the book is dedicated to all kinds of topics, from acne and anger to internet use and music to texting and withdrawing. Since each is only a few pages long, they only take a few minutes to read. Granted, each topic probably deserves its own book, or booklet, nevertheless they have insightful tips and solutions. They get you started on the right road.
My Suggestions for Reading this Book:
I suggest you read through the entire book first, highlighting the parts that stick out and that you will need to occasionally re-read. Also, as you read, make notes of the changes you want to establish in your home. As you read, run these ideas by your spouse, because you both need to be on the same page. Then go with it! God-willing you will see changes in your teenagers…
About Dr. Kevin Leman:
Dr. Leman is an internationally renowned psychologist and bestselling author of more than 30 books written about children, couples and families. Many of these books are “self-help” books that encourage and equip the reader with practical and clear ideas to better their relationships, families, children… He is a Christian author, although he mainly sticks to common sense and practical experience. You can read more about him, and browse through his books, at www.drleman.com.
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