Friday, February 20, 2009

When Things Get Crazy with Your Teen

From the small stuff - like wearing weird clothes - to the serious - such as suicidal behavior - When Things Get Crazy with Your Teen offers exasperated parents of teenagers an immediate and practical course of action. Subtitled "The Why, the How and What to Do NOW," Michael Bradley's latest tome on taming teens is chock full of bullet lists and bite-sized advice. Set up like a reference book, it's not so much a book to read cover to cover as it is one to consult when the inevitable need arises. For instance, your 15 year old daughter insists she absolutely has to have her nose pierced. Quick! What do you say? What do you do? Pick up this book and scan the alphabetized sub-headings under Body/Appearance Issues until you find "Piercing, Wants A." Turn to the appropriate page and start following the DO list.
  • Set a minimum age requirement before she "has" to have them (if it's not too late).
  • Stay calm (now that it's too late).
  • Ask if she has researched the health risks.
  • Require a consultation with a physician
  • Have the doc list the piercing areas be relative risk
  • Insist on the least risky area.
  • Trade off piercing for increased responsibilities (grades, chores).
  • Negotiate the minimum interval before any other piercing can be considered (if any).
Next, consult the DON'T list for actions to avoid in this situation.
  • Flip out and yell "NO!"
  • Say OK right away.
  • Accuse her of "following a fad." (Of course she is - so what?)
  • Assume that all piercings have equal risks.
  • Allow an additional piercing within a short time (six months).
  • Assume that a pierced nose indicates pierced character.
It's not all this recipe-ish. There are also brief narrative Why and How sections, as well as general introductions to each issue area. And the book ends with "The Twenty Minute Guide to the New Millennium Teen." But, as Bradley himself states unapologetically in the preface, "In this book, you'll find little theory and lots of advice - practical, specific and well-researched advice."

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