I was looking for a book like this long before it was published. I wanted to read wisdom from someone seasoned with raising teenagers because I know this mothering thing will take a sharp turn soon and I don’t know how to drive on this new road.From the subtitle of this book, I was hopeful I had the book I wanted: Tough Guys and Drama Queens: How Not to Get Blindsided By Your Child’s Teen Years.
The author, Mark Gregston, has run Heartlight Ministries for 38 years. It is a residential counseling program for troubled teens, teens in a crisis situation that require removal from their home. There are 60 residents. And the ministry is run year-round. Mark’s heart for teens is obvious. He also hosts a daily radio show called Parenting Today’s Teens.
I loved this book. It is full of practical advice. It is divided into 3 sections: What’s So Different About Today’s Culture? Parenting Practices to Avoid, and Parenting Practices That Really Work.
Gregston’s main focus is that parents need to adjust to the times. Just because a discipline tactic worked for you and your dad, doesn’t mean it will work today in a culture where appearance is priority, there is overexposure to everything, and personal connections are instant but shallow. Removing our kids from the current culture won’t help them become healthy adults either.
Gregston wants parents, once their kids hit the teenage years, to drop the lectures and constant eyes of disappointment. Rather he wants them to work gradually toward giving their teens increasing freedoms based on following reasonable, pre-established rules. He wants the rules to be full of grace, able to change as teens show responsibility. And he wants parents to stop bailing their kids out of difficult circumstances.
I loved the ideas he gives for connecting with kids, for managing technology, for responding to irresponsibility. You will identify yourself and your kids in many of the stories Gregston shares from this ranch. The conversation starters in the back of the book are helpful too.
The book, while Christian, is light on scripture (perhaps to reach a broader audience?). And sometimes, I questioned the amount of freedoms he advocated, but I haven’t raised teens yet. No parenting book is perfect for every situation and with that in mind, I would recommend this book to parents of tweens everywhere and I would love to know what parents of teens think of his ideas. He certainly has plenty of ideas to point us all in the right d
Some quotes to make you want to read more….
- “Bringing up the past eliminates, if not destroys, any element of hope for change in the future.”
- “The tendency for any parent is to feel that their child is choosing to play on the opposing team rather than on yours. That’s not always true. They’re just trying to fin out what their position is on the team they are playing on.”
- “You can relate with your children well, ask a million questions, stop controlling everything in their life, help them become independent, quit being so strict, learn that conflict is good as you pick your battles wisely, and spend all the time in the world with them. But if you retract your relationship when they mess up, you invalidate all you’ve been building, and all your good intentions of loving your child through the adolescent years will go down the drain”
- “Parents could avoid a lot of drama if they would just give what their kids will eventually get anyway, just a bit sooner.”
- “My hope is that parents will move a preteen toward independence in a way that moves her to developing responsibility for her life and move away from depending on you for their existence and to have this process begin at age twelve.”
I received a free copy of this book from Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review.
What are you reading lately?