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Radical Optimism in Raising Teens and Tweens

by John Duffy

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-57344-657-0
Publisher: Viva Editions

Raising a teenager can be just as much of an emotional roller coaster as being a teenager, but clinical psychologist, certified life coach and parenting expert Duffy assures parents that it doesn’t have to be such a turbulent ride for either party.

In his debut, the author insists that teens can be as endearing and lovable as they were before turning 13, as long as parents remain available. Among myriad other saintly qualities, the available parent is “unconditionally loving and accepting, and open to new and different ways of thinking…neither cruel nor dismissive.” Blending self-reflective exercises for parents with words of wisdom from teens and parents whom Duffy has counseled throughout his career, the author raises valid points about the benefits of being an available parent and offers valuable insight into the unique psyche of a teenager. Duffy dedicates an excessive amount of focus to describing why lecturing, overindulging and other obviously ineffective techniques do not work. The author’s objective may be to educate parents on how to monitor and maximize the quality of their interaction with their teens, but despite admitting that he has the “luxury of objectivity” as a therapist, his neatly resolved counseling sessions are narrated with a somewhat self-satisfied air. This is particularly apparent when the author recounts his success rehabilitating apathetic teens, simply by bonding over music or admiring artwork they never showed their parents.

Idealistically implies that available parents will unfailingly raise well-adjusted teens, and fails to offer comprehensive strategies for tackling the more complex problems that teens and parents often face.