Can anyone recommend a good book about parenting teenagers?

(20 Posts)
whataboutbob Sat 02-Aug-14 20:18:44

DS1 is only 11, but starting secondary school in September so I'd like to do my homework in advance! I can see adolescence looming, he's already showing physical signs. I have found "how to talk so kids listen and listen so kids talk" and Steve Biddulph's book about boys helpful so far, but something specific to the teenage years would be great.

This one is very informative and makes you feel you aren't alone.

chocoluvva Sun 03-Aug-14 00:06:39

Also Nicky and Sila Lee's parenting manual.

chocoluvva Sun 03-Aug-14 01:10:33

You could google the research into teenage brain development - explains why teenagers won't go to bed at a sensible time, can no longer talk in more than one-word phrases and do daft things with no thought for the consequences.

Also, go on twitter, instagram and facebook to 'learn' about teenage 'culture'.

Best tip I got (my two are nearly 18 and 15) is to offer to give them and their friends lifts. Sit very quietly and they sometimes forget you're there while they chat amongst themselves - that can be very informative.

I do feel like I have 'lost' DS1 (15) at the moment. Communication isn't great. sad

I second Sparkling's suggestion.
Also what Choc says about the lifts is absolutely true.

Hereshoping1 Sun 03-Aug-14 20:51:53

Very best book I have read is Get out of my life but can you take me and Alex into town first. Read it all the time for DS 1 didn't need it for DD1 and am just about to re read it as can see I will need it for DD2!

whataboutbob Sun 03-Aug-14 22:13:49

Thanks everyone, this is giving me lots to think about. I am a technophobe and am not on facebook, twitter etc but can see this attitude will not be sustainable and I need to familiarise myself with social media. DS1 came back from a party and was instagraming within minutes, and also asking for an iphone!
We do not have a car as we live in london, can't really afford one comfortably and husband has turned necessity into a virtue by being an ideological car basher.
All the books mentioned come well reviewed on Amazon. Thanks again for the suggestions.

chocoluvva Mon 04-Aug-14 15:13:00

Also, be welcoming to his friends. Better to be noisy and messy in your home where you have some idea of what they're getting up to than getting up to mischief on a street corner.

Don't panic when he announces that he wants to go to camping in cornwall with his friends next summer - it probably won't happen!

Especially if he isn't communicative - drop everything to listen - without looking shocked/angry/worried whenever possible.

Despite following these tips you will still be the most embarrassing parent for about four years. grin You will know nothing about anything so best not offer much comment or advice - save it for most important things and you'll have more effect. Easier said than done of course.

chocoluvva Mon 04-Aug-14 15:15:18

If he wants to wear ridiculous clothes/have a ridiculous hairstyle - let him - he'll soon grow out of it.
Don't bother buying him any clothes that are warm for the winter till he's at least 16. Or sensible shoes.

Oh yes choco we have saved a fortune on winter coats. smile

Don't panic when he announces that he wants to go to camping in cornwall with his friends next summer - it probably won't happen!

I used to agonise over whether to allow various schemes and adventures that they come up with, until I realised that 99% of them never happen.

My teenagers don't use Facebook other than to message. Snapchat and Twitter seem more in favour but you really should get up to speed IT wise yourself so you can negotiate around the pitfalls.

whataboutbob Mon 04-Aug-14 18:52:34

Thanks everyone this is most useful, especially as I had a slightly atypical teenage- I grew up in a Muslim, socialist country in the 70s where the whole idea of youth culture just was absent and consumer goods were very limited. Lucky for my parents! I know I have to adjust my expectations now and accept certain things. I guess charity shop clothes and the odd boden just won't cut it anymore, and that's fine. And thanks for warning me about the schemes that never materialise, that's well worth remembering.

helplessdad77 Mon 04-Aug-14 22:23:17

You're in for quite a ride the next few years. My wife and I are just about to send our first one off to college and have two years left until our last one leaves the nest. While it's not a book, I found this to be a great resource for Parenting Teens.
The best advice I found was the importance of being more of a consultant to your teenager, since they're growing and developing individuality makes them more likely to rebel against a strict Managerial approach to parenting.

ephpa95 Mon 04-Aug-14 23:50:39

The Teenage Edge: Guiding Teens to Their Unique Strengths by Ted Warren
Important to understand what is going on with their brains and bodies.
For you to survive the days of changes (You are changing too!): The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison (see her blog, she has two sons)
And for him, if all gets very rough (but a bit older though!): Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. (You read it too) Uplifting. And: Feed Your Head by Earl Hipp (published in 1991 but still really good).
My best friend raised two boys. She did lots sports with them - especially went jogging with them, or biking to get them to talk about what is going on in their heads.

chocoluvva Tue 05-Aug-14 10:27:58

When I'm not mad as hell with them grin I am very sympathetic to 'today's' teenagers. Although they often have it easier in terms of material things and more tolerant attitudes, the pressures to look a particular way and fit into a group are definitely greater than when I were a lass. The 24/7 nature of electronic communication must take a lot of dealing with. My teenage years in a small scottish town, though dull in comparison with my DC seem more straightforward. We got a break from news of each other and unhelpful images of attractive, sexually available young people when we were in our homes unlike our teenagers.

And with the economic climate the way it is there isn't the same reassuring sense that with hard work you'll prosper and things will 'come good'.

I have the impression that more of today's teenagers are drinking at an earlier age than when I was young -at parties - not in pubs - they've really tightened up. Maybe that's just me. Though drug taking and smoking tobacco are less common than in the nineties, according to statistics.

niceguy2 Tue 05-Aug-14 14:36:19

I've got one DD who has just turned 18 and DS who is 13.

To be honest DD hasn't been anywhere near as bad I feared.

Sure we endured several years of her grunting one word answers, tutting and we nicknamed her the bedroom dweller but we have survived relatively unscathed and she now occasionally talks to us grin

The biggest lesson I've learned is that your job now is to help them be adults. That means letting them go and make their own stupid decisions, make mistakes then picking up the pieces. The earlier you do this the better.

Bringing up a teenager is very very similar to toddler taming. You can't defeat them with logic. They will throw tantrums and argue black is white.

Be consistent and slowly give them more & more responsibility for themselves as they prove themselves.

whataboutbob Wed 06-Aug-14 18:00:12

Thanks everyone, there's a lot of excellent stuff to think about here. Yes teenage must be hard for the kid who's undergoing it, so many expectations and so little certainty in today's world. And some of the pressures are downright obnoxious (all the marketing at them, not to mention drugs, sex before they are ready etc). It is good to remember that our job is to facilitate their becoming adults Niceguy2. Ideally I'd like to be a consultant to my teenagers, but for that i need to be strong and sorted myself! For unrelated reasons i have just had 22 months of counselling and i think some of the tools I learnt there will come in handy, especially dealing with anger. My father was very volatile, "emotionally incontinent" and could be violent. That did my brother especially no good at all, and i am very keen to break that cycle (I think I mostly have). Thanks again, will check out all the books.

comedancing Mon 11-Aug-14 21:00:40

Few things that helped me..having a friend who was totally honest about her teens so l didn't feel alone..a lot of people pretend all is fine..a good sense of humour as teens can be such good fun...also often its our own tiredness stress that we take out on them..so come home after good day..trip over gear bag left again inside front door ..say hi ds how was your day...come home stressed with work..same bag same place..shout..can you never put your stuff away..rant rant..it can be us...also chat in car as not face to face so boys like it..saddest thing for me now as D's off to university is chat in car each evening as picked him up from school..he is 19..but always nice time..no screens..lastly bounce back..don't hold a grudge..let it go move on..you are the adult...it won't be too bad!!

chocoluvva Tue 12-Aug-14 12:47:19

Oh yes - it's really helpful to realise that other people's teenagers are 'difficult' too.

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