Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Book Review


Teen-proofing by John Rosemond

The blogger discovered John Rosemond years ago through a book he wrote called, "Ending the Homework Hassle." That book described different ways in which well-meaning, loving and concerned parents were creating situations for their children to succeed in the short term, but fail in the long term. He advocated teaching children responsibility for their own homework. Using many of the techniques Rosemond proposed, homework lost its power to paralyze around our home.

Teen-proofing continues along the same lines of teaching children responsibility for their own actions or inactions. Rosemond describes what is going on in the child developmentally that drives many of their seemingly incomprehensible behaviors. Once the parents understands the child's motivation, it is easier to devise a way in which family conflicts can be minimized. And once the parent stops trying to micro-manage the teen, the teen becomes responsible for the outcomes. All of us want to raise competent adults. None of us want our child living in our basement when they're 30. In order to produce those outcomes, we need to stop 'doing their life' for them.

Rosemond's strategy begins with distinguishing the main issues from the trivia of daily life. His are six:
  • curfew
  • cash
  • car
  • cohorts
  • conflict
  • consequences
Teens want freedom, which is closely tied to the first three issues above. They want to choose their cohorts (friends) without parental involvement. Because they want more freedom than they are able to responsibly handle, there is conflict and because sometimes they need to feel them, you have to devise consequences for destructive decisions.

The key with teens is to be proactive, not reactive. Once the conflict blows up, it is often too late to devise a solution. We teach our children to know the answer BEFORE the test whether it's in school or on the playground (if someone asks them if they want drugs, for example). This is your manual to knowing the answer before the issue arises.

Published in 2000 by McMeel publishing, this book is still absolutely relevant. Although he doesn't discuss the social networks and pull of the computer, the same discussions he has about the magic of the car apply to the magic of the electronic world. The pre-teen and teen years are not the time to be your child's friend, but to be their parent. This book will remind you how to do that most effectively.

The Fairfax County Public Library system has 12 copies -- all but one are currently available and the blogger will turn that one in today. Make this your summer read...and don't believe that because your child is only in grade school that you can put this off!

/kw

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