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On Becoming Teenwise ~ Parenting Your 13 -19 Year Old

Why do teenagers rebel? Is it due to hormones, a suppressed primal desire to stake out their own domain, or a natural and predictable process of growth? To what extent do parents encourage or discourage the storm and stress of adolescence? On Becoming Teenwise looks at the many factors that make living with a teenager a blessing or a curse. It exposes the notions of secular myth and brings to light the proven how-to applications of building and maintaining healthy relationships with your teens.

We are challenged by the variety of circumstances faced by moms and dads who will pick up this book. For some right now, the biggest challenge is to get their teen to turn off the bedroom light without being reminded. Others are faced with school and peer influences but no serious relational difficulty. Yet, many others are in open war with their teens and are deeply troubled, to the point of despair. They are overwhelmed by the feeling that something has gone dreadfully wrong and are continually berated by an inner voice that relentlessly chants, “You are a failure.” For them, the prospect of family renewal and friendship with an unmanageable teen seems nothing more than an impossible dream.

Just one generation ago, we heard how awful the teen years would be--a full-time headache, marked by impossible communication, peer-dependent children, rebellious behavior, and the end of domestic peace. The warnings were endless: “If you’re too strict, your children will rebel.” “If you hold them to a standard, they will reject your values.” “If you insist on compliance, you will only get opposition.” “Enjoy your kids when they are young, because it is not going to last!”

If a parent hopefully asserted that maybe there was something parents could do to avoid rebellion, drug use, and experimentation with sex by their teens, they received glares and frowns from mournful souls who offered the timeless warning, “You just wait.”

We did wait, and discovered our experienced with our teenage children was the opposite of what was predicted. The teen years were not a disappointment, nor were they a disaster. They were delightful years--not perfect, but delightful nonetheless. We did not experience from our teens rebellion, sassy talk, doors slamming in defiance, threats to run away, or experimentation with drugs or sex. Not only was this period free of dominant negatives, it produced many positives.

This book is not just our story; it is the story of many families who have experienced the joy of friendship with their teens. Although these families may appear to be a minority within our society, we believe it is time that our voices be heard as an alternative to the disparaging message of the age. The stereotyping of teenagers as hopelessly stress-ridden, rebellious, anti-parent and hormone controlled might reflect more accurately society’s lack of faith in the power of family relationships. Our goal for all On Becoming Teenwise readers is this: to find at the end of your childrearing years that your grown children have become your best friends. That’s where we believe this book will take the reader.

Whether you worry about your teen and dating or your teen and drugs, the principles of On Becoming Teenwise are appropriate and applicable for both extremes and everyone in between. They do work!