It happened SO fast. My oldest son is about to start junior high school and is almost a legit teenager. I mean, it’s taken 12 years, but they are right when they say the years go fast! We live in a crazy world and the idea of raising a teenager is scary. But I have found the holy grail. This book of parenting strategies is the only one you need!
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A few months ago, I was invited to attend a local event hosted by Daniel Patterson, a former high school teacher/administrator, and parenting book author. I was so bummed that I couldn’t attend but asked if I could review a copy of his book. And I’m beyond grateful to have been introduced to it.
The Assertive Parent: Hacks, Traps and Strategies for Raising Authentic Teens is a book you NEED to read if you have teens or tweens. He gets it, you guys. He’s able to clearly spell out why it’s so scary trying to parent right now. Due to media, phones, society, etc, life has been accelerated and many high school kids are living life more like that of a college student. The experimenting and pushing boundaries that in the past have been relegated to the more independent college days (where the kids are a bit more mature) are starting much sooner. And when he notes that parents are in a similar situation in reverse, where they are trying to act and look younger than they are, it is a huge cause for concern!“I simply want to make it clear just how effed up being a teenager is in this current moment. And why it’s even more important than ever to provide them with permission to detach, disengage, slow down and take a breath. The gift of structure is one that can change a teenagers life.” Page 43. BOOM.
It also explains why you aren’t parenting just your own child, but have to also know how their friends are parenting (or aren’t) too. So what are we, as parents, supposed to do? Parent from the middle, with a firm hand and a big heart. This book will help you “become aware, engaged and compassionately insert yourself into the landscape of your teen’s lives, in a more meaningful way.” It’s super easy to read and covers 4 big things: Drugs, etc., Academics, Social Media and Family Communications. Daniel is able to share tips, in an easy to understand way, so that you can plan your strategy.
I can’t tell you how many notes I’ve taken and passages I’ve highlighted in this book. I feel more confident in parenting these crazy years ahead. It’s full of hacks on how to get on the same page with your spouse or parenting partner so that you are a united front. It helps you understand the hormones that are influencing your child’s behavior. And it talks about why, just because your child is a good student, you shouldn’t give them more leeway. That was so important for me to read! I talk often with my son about what life will be like for him and how new, negative things will be introduced to him all the time. We talk about how to handle those situations and often talk about how we are going through this together and will both stumble along the way.
“Kids don’t want to be ostracized by their decisions positive or negative. Teach your kid to make their choice and not wag their finger at someone else.”
I love that! Judgment only adds fire to the emotion-filled experience that is life at this stage. Compassion from parents and peers will truly be the way that we all get through these teenage years together!I haven’t finished the whole book yet. And when I do I’m going to go back and read it again. I’m going to refer back to it every step of the way. I keep offering to loan it to other parents but I actually won’t let it out of my sight! It’s too valuable of a resource! I’m thinking I need to pick up a few extra to hand out.
And I feel so lucky that if we end up on a bad path, I can potentially set up a coaching appointment to help our family get back on track since he’s based in our community.
This one line let me know that this book is the only parenting book, for raising teens, that I will ever need:
“No is a complete sentence.”
I tend to over talk and try to rationalize and explain myself. But really, one word is all I really need. The book is full of great reminders like that! You need this book.
All images, except of the book, by Jess Pirro.
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