Thoughts A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens: Talking to Your Kids about Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out by Joani Geltman, AMACOM/American Management Association 2014, 288 pages, eBook
I am currently attending Grad School, working on my Certificate in Instructional Technology. This will allow me the opportunity to work with schools to integrate technology into curriculum. One of my classes last semester was Technology Leadership and our group focused on issues for schools to consider in using social media in the classroom. So when I saw that my school district was offering a community workshop about kids and social media, I knew I wanted to attend. The workshop featured Joani Geltman, Child Development and Parenting Expert. Her talk was all about what parents need to know about what kids are investigating with the internet and social media. I explored her blog (click here: joanigeltman.blogspot.com) and now follow her on Twitter.
When she offered to send me her new book, I enthusiastically said, “YES!”
The structure of this guide is very easy to use as a reference. It is setup by Problem or Issue and gives terrific examples of teen attitudes and communications struggles and offers explanations of why they behave as they do. Then she offers a Solution. Some of it is Common Sense, some of it is Tough Love and some of the Solutions require what I expect might be new sets of thinking tools with specific language to try.
All of the sections are introduced with “Just Tell Me What to Do About...” and then are grouped by Raising Teens, Keeping Teens Motivated, Negotiating the College Process, and Teen Friendship Traps, etc. Each vignette or issue explores the dynamics of certain situations and provides parenting words to use that will not push the kid away but invite understanding. Such issues, for example, include GETTING YOUR TEEN UP IN THE MORNING and how to handle LIES of OMISSION. The one that I was most impacted by was the one about teens having too much time on their hands and how important it is that a person be busy in order to be motivated.
You can read it all at once or just flip to the specific issue you have to deal with RIGHT NOW. It is super well-organized and covers so many things I didn’t even know some could be a problem!
She offers the tough stuff, too – drugs and drinking, sex, cellphones and smartphones and social media applications. We are putting a lot of power, 24/7, in the hands of kids today who do not have the emotional, physical and intellectual abilities to understand the consequences and we are not monitoring or understanding ourselves what kind of trouble can be encountered.
Ms. Geltman’s style is direct and impactful; she delivers advice with humor and no bullshit. I recommend this guide for any parent, regardless of whether or not you have good relationship or not with your kids – I bet all experience those times when buttons get pushed and have experienced communication challenges. Ms. Geltmen will help you understand why teenagers do what they do and how you can react for a positive experience. Or at least, give you strength to endure it until they finally turn into adults.
Every time I hear a friend tell me that their kid is ‘driving them crazy’, I recommend this guide!
I am not a parent but I substitute teach in the High School. I agree that teens need to have something that excites and engages them and it not be ‘surfing the net’ all the time. I notice that I can tend to talk ‘like an adult’ when I am in front of students and too often banter the word ‘APPROPRIATE’ – a big clue to a teen to just not listen.
“I get it.”
Disclosure: I was given this book by the author in exchange for a fair review.