Author: Michael Riera, PH.D.
Publisher: Da Capo Press Books, 2003
Subject: Parenting, Teens
Staying Connected to Your Teenager is a unique parenting book because it doesn’t deal directly with discipline or with a teenager’s changing body; instead it focuses on a parent’s relationship with their teenager and how to strengthen that bond. Riera, a former guidance counselor, educates parents on how to use the changes in a teenager’s life to stay connected. He explains why teenagers stay up later at night, why they are more narcissistic, and why lectures and advice aren’t as effective with teens.
Building on that knowledge, Riera shows parents how they can use late night hours and car travel to build a closer relationship with their teen. He also explains how to use indirect communication and joint adventures to strengthen the parent-teen connection, and teaches parents how to ease heated conflicts by having the parent be more honest about their own concerns with their child, and then putting the burden of proof and decision-making on the teen.
I thought this book had excellent insight into the parent-teen experience and gave solid, fresh advice to parents on guiding their child into adulthood while maintaining a healthy relationship.
Two caveats: 1) The chapter on how the sexes are different, while less stereotypical than many books, still stereotypes females and males.
2) Two examples Riera uses from real life anecdotes describe parents lying to or misleading their teen. While Riera doesn’t approve or disapprove of this behavior, I feel like adults model to their teens acceptable behavior and was horrified that a parent would consider lying to or misleading acceptable. But this otherwise excellent book has only maybe 2 questionable examples out of dozens of real life parenting anecdotes.