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Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers Review by Heidi Miller-Ford

Jim Burns
Bethany House
6030 East Fulton Road
Ada, MI 49301

The word "teenager" evokes many different emotions in parents. How to handle them and keep your relationship intact is often a challenge. Jim Burns, author of Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, has been through the teen years with three daughters and survived. He has a passion to work with families and offer hope to those struggling. This book was created for that reason.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the parents themselves and how to help teenagers become responsible. The second part deals with common problems and solutions. The book is Christian-based and refers to Scriptural references throughout. Because the book is preparing the parent for the teen years, it would probably be most beneficial to read before your child gets to this stage; however, it would still be effective if your child is already a teenager.

The author is very careful to admit that not all teens are the same, and each can display different behaviors and to different extremes. The advice in this book will guide the parent in the most common problematic areas teens deal with and offer tools for putting them on the best possible path toward adulthood. Issues that have been around forever (such as drugs, depression, driving, and sexual purity) are covered, but there are also some problems that are new to teens, such as media safety, cyber bullying, and extreme tattoos and piercings. There are several contracts and agreements mentioned in the book, and samples of these are included in the appendix in the back.

What sets this book apart is the idea that parents need to focus on themselves and make sure they are in the right place to deal with this season in life. Part of the book discusses spiritual issues, the marriage itself, and how to make sure you are in the healthiest state possible to handle any stress that may arise. I found this advice helpful, as I had never really thought about the parents' mental, physical, and spiritual state contributing to the situation in a number of ways.

The book has realistic advice, and the author is very direct about some issues. I personally did not agree with some of the advice, as I felt it did not go along with my family's religious beliefs, but other families may not have a problem with it. My favorite chapter in the book was on communication, which is probably the most important key to parenting a teen. All in all, there is much to glean from this book, and it is worth reading if you have a child nearing or in the teenage years.

Product review by Heidi Miller-Ford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC , January 2011