TALKING WITH YOUR TEENAGER: A Book for Parents by Ruth & Leni Wildflower Bell


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The co-authors of Changing Bodies, Changing Lives (1981), for teenagers, now address their parents--with information and advice on new as well as chronic concerns. As one would expect, Bell and Wildflower are non-judgmental, mistrustful of simple solutions, and mindful of both parents' and teenagers' feelings. Better to let teen ideas of looking ""nice"" prevail, for instance, and keep communications open around major issues. But you are entitled to ""pull rank"" and set ""reasonable rules""--wise counsel, as far as it goes, at least for the relatively secure. The really valuable material, for any family, is on the physical changes of puberty, the issues of sexuality, the ongoing problems of substance abuse and the burgeoning problems of eating disorders. Some of this--the onset of changes, concern over small penis or breast size--parallels the content of Changing Bodies, Changing Lives. On controversial issues, the authors speak plainly but undogmatically. ""Information about birth control does not increase the likelihood that our children will have sex."" ""If your daughter is opposed to abortion and if it is unrealistic for her to consider raising the baby herself, adoption is a viable choice."" ""Children don't become homosexual to spite their family or rebel against society."" (Nobody knows, as yet, why.) The briefing on STDs--including AIDS--is rigorous and sensitive and up-to-date; the dossier on drugs is specific as to costs, sources, etc.; the review of eating disorders compresses the essentials--how to detect, who's at risk, what to do--into a few pages each. One recurrent, salutary stress: our children need our help in resisting social and media pressures--toward early sex, looking a certain way, or weighing a particular amount. In the Our Bodies, Ourselves tradition of freedom-of-responsible choice: first-rate.

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 1983
Publisher: Random House