Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Review of Tough Guys and Drama Queens: How Not to Get Blindsided by Your Child's Teen Years

The title of this book caught my eye. Although at this point I can assume that I'm relatively far from parenting a teenager, if we were to ever adopt a child I might be that much closer. And either way, our future children will eventually be teenagers!

Tough Guys and Drama Queens by Mark Gregston is a well-written, down to earth, sensible and practical book. Gregston works through Heartlight Ministries, a residential counseling center for teenagers, and his experience working with teenagers is extensive through this. One theme I noticed ran through the book was relationships: how important it is to fight to keep a healthy, strong relationship with your teenager. And how various parenting attempts -- even those done with good intentions -- can sabotage that precious relationship.  Ways to improve upon your relationship are given, even while helping you learn how to be the counter-culture that your teenager needs to successfully navigate the crazy world in which we live without coming out jaded on the other side.  Gregston acknowledges that teenagers are often overexposed in our culture to so many things they shouldn't be and as such, can end up quite confused without their parents influence to help them find their way. He also believes that parents can make the mistake of giving their teenagers everything rather than instilling a good sense of independence and self-sufficiency over time (through the teenage years, instead of all at once or never at all), and gives tips on how to avoid this common snare.

Some parenting practices to avoid include "Perfection is Impossible," and "Authority Cannot be Forced" (authoritarian parenting versus more of an authoritative parenting style with emphasis on relationship).  Some parenting practices that work include "Relating is More Important than Winning," "Stop Controlling and Start Trusting," "Add Clear Boundaries and Subtract Strictness" and more.

I would definitely recommend this book. Even if you decided you didn't agree on every single point, Gregston has made a strong argument for the parenting he promotes for teenagers. We all know teenagers are both wonderful and intimidating to raise . . . . the teen years are not quite childhood but not yet adulthood, either.  This book could help you navigate raising teens who will turn into well-adjusted, confident, responsible young adults!  I give the book 4/5 stars.

Thanks to Booksneeze for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review. Please note that all opinions expressed are my own. 

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