Teenagers & Parents: 12 Steps to a Better RelationshipFall 2016 Non-Fiction
I'm always nervous to open parenting books, certain the first chapter will list the irreversible mistakes I've already made and reduce me to a limp rag of anxiety and guilt.
Dr. McIntire's book, Teenagers & Parents: 12 Steps to a Better Relationship thankfully, doesn't. It's a calm read, in an encouraging and guilt-free voice, and it's worth the time, even if everything's going smoothly.
While some of the example situations seem quaint - Greg doesn't want to do his homework; here's an unconstructive response and here's a better one - they're all straightforward, and helpful. Not all Steps, or chapters, will apply to all families. My teenagers, for instance, aren't the least bit interested in social media, so cyberbullies and internet privacy - both covered in detail -- aren't a pressing concern in our home. Communication tools, however, are. In both listening and speaking, trying to interpret the shifting moods and personalities of young adults is one of the most important and challenging skills to master, and Dr. McIntire puts great emphasis on this throughout the entire book, as well as in sections that focus on communication exclusively.
While on the surface, much in his book seems like basic common sense, it's surprising how in the rush of life, common sense can get lost. McIntire recognizes this, without scolding, and reinforces positive behavior - both proactive and reactive - that will ultimately help form healthy kids.
The audience McIntire writes to is primarily a two-parent traditional one. While he does acknowledge that single-parent homes are common, and that the parenting dynamic is different in those homes, he spends little time explaining how or what adjustments should be made. Parents with blended families particularly, (stepparents and stepsiblings) might not find their concerns addressed here.
I would have also found it more helpful if his fictional examples showed parents making slightly bigger mistakes - as some of us do -- and then rebounding from them. The gaffes of McIntire's fictional parents seemed a little tame, which is great for readers who are managing that well. But many parents have an occasional, more regrettable, slip.
Overall, however, this is a clear and concise book, with helpful instruction on how to foster the skills that will send our teens down the path to becoming emotionally and physically healthy adults.