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Pub Date: Aug. 22nd, 1984
Publisher: Little, Brown

The negative title notwithstanding, this is calm, firm, comprehensive guidance to ""positive patenting"" of teens, in everyday life and crisis situations: when to lay low, when to back up or buck your teenager, when to call in the pros. The St. Louis-based authors have a timely range of expertise: Robert Kolodny is a Masters & Johnson collaborator; Nancy Kolodny, his wife, is an ex-high school teacher now treating eating disorders; Thomas Bratter is a psychologist specializing in teenage drug abuse; Cheryl Deep, identified as ""a polished writer,"" has worked with both the Kolodnys. Part I, General Issues, first asks parents to recall their own adolescence--and not to portray those years ""in a glorified, idealized way""; to be aware, moreover, that ""the problems confronting teenagers today are far more complex and troubling."" A chapter on parents as role models dismantles the ""Do what I say, not what I do"" syndrome; another, on adolescent gamesmanship, explores the motivations (skill-testing, rebellion), the rules and ploys, the appropriate responses. (Nobody need ""win."") Part II, Problem Solving, deals with the realities of sex, drugs, and school (precisely what to say, and do, if you suspect drug abuse; how to approach a hostile teacher) and with lesser sticking-points, from telephone use to electronic games and computers. It also offers two closefelt discussions--of, indicatively, ""Social Skills, Risk-taking, and Self Esteem"" (the fine line between infatuation and love, minimizing teenage embarrassments) and ""the Antisocial Adolescent"" (how to distinguish loneliness and isolation from the need for privacy, how to confront fear of rejection, when to take alarm). Part III, Crises, faces up to the emotional turmoil and practical exigencies of: divorce (and disillusion with marriage), eating problems (overeating too), pregnancy, runaways (the law, the recourses), Cults (nonlegal and legal remedies, chances of success), and suicide. (Acutely noted, along with warning signs, is the pre-terminal lifting of depression.) Throughout, the authors aim at understanding and effective, caring action, even at the cost of rejection--""which is simply a part of parenting an adolescent you'll have to learn to accept."" Complementary, in tenor and focus, to John Schowalter and Walter Anyan's superior, encyclopedic The Family Handbook of Adolescence.