Thursday, December 15, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [adult]

I’d Listen to My Parents if They’d Just Shut Up: What to Say and Not Say When Parenting Teens by Anthony E Wolf 
@SPL : 649.125 Wol

Just reading the table of contents is enough to give a thoughtful parent an anxiety attack: “Picking Battles with Easy Kids”, “When They Don’t do a Good Enough Job”, “What to do When Your Teen Throws You a Curve”, “Handling Confrontation”, “Entitled Teens”, “Teens and Sex”. “Oh my stars and garters,” the thoughtful parent will think, “Please tell me my twelve-year-old will not turn into one of these teen-beast things!” Dr. Wolf’s advice: stop worrying – because they will – and learn how to talk to your teen or soon-to-be-teen simply, clearly and calmly to get better results and a closer relationship with your growing child. 

Wolf is a clinical psychologist with six books under his belt, is a columnist and expert for, and is a frequent guest lecturer for parents and professionals at the Hospital for Sick Kids at the University of Toronto. (He is also the parent of “two ex-teenagers”.) Wolf talks about the several cognitive changes that children go through during adolescence, and how this affects their behaviour. For instance, there might be a sudden onset of “dad-and-mom-itis”, an allergy-like disease whose symptoms include being irritated, annoyed or mortified by the presence of parents, especially in the vicinity of peers. It is not fatal to teens, and not personal for parents, and usually passes with the onset of early adulthood. 

This book is for how to cope in that awkward meantime. Theirs, not yours. It is full of real-sounding conversations that are both fun and cringeworthily scary, but these conversations keep you reading quickly and it is a relief to read Wolf’s specific examples about what to say to teens on the topics of Internet privacy, cyberbullying and dangerous secrets (which you should feel free to adopt).  

I’d Listen to My Parents if They’d Just Shut Up is a catchy title that contains Wolf’s main thesis – communicate simply to communicate well with your teen. Extrapolate his advice and it could work with tweens as well.

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on December 15th. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian.

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