THE PRIVATE LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER by Jane & Myron Harris Norman

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The intimate, indicative details--from still another public sampling. 66 percent of American teenagers drink, 43 percent smoke pot, and most say their parents don't know that they smoke or how much they drink. Yet six of ten say their parents listen and care about their ideas and opinions. (By more than three to one, mothers are easier to talk to and get along with than fathers.) Over half admit that they cheat on tests, but 77 percent believe that they'll achieve what they want in life through hard work. (A touching 97 percent expect to achieve what they want one way or another.) 81 percent believe their parents have a happy marriage, but many couldn't stand such marriages themselves. Nearly six out of ten 16-to-18-year-olds have had sexual intercourse, and nearly six out of ten sexually-active teenagers do not use birth control. The authors got these and other figures by polling about 150,000 teenagers through questionnaires in classroom magazines, polling 857 more extensively at shopping centers and malls, and interviewing ""over 100"" others in depth. They present the results, topic by topic, in chapters (on sex, school, friends, etc.) that begin with lists of statistics, repeat the same information more wordily, quote from the in-depth interviews, then advise or lecture parents on their implications--e.g., don't compare children, don't pry into their friends' lives, show your teenagers you trust them. In general, the kids have fairly conservative attitudes about discipline and authority, and the authors, no doubt correctly, assume that ""we parents"" hold somewhat more conservative views. Their basic advice, frequently repeated, is to listen to your teenagers and respect their opinions. Neither the advice nor the findings will surprise anyone who's read other reports and guides, but perhaps the figures here will back up the conclusions (e.g., why criticize their friends when 88 percent will go on seeing them anyway?)--besides providing easy-access documentation when teenage-issues arise.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Rawson, Wade--dist. by Atheneum