Friday, February 8, 2013

Tough Guys and Drama Queens - How Not to Get Blindsided by Your Child's Teen Years

"Parents of preteens and teens can move from scared to prepared with a new approach to parenting their adolescents.
Parents of preteens intuitively know that no matter how good their kids are, there is turbulence ahead. Many feel lost and unprepared as they watch the damaging effects of culture collide with their child's growing pains and raging hormones.
For the past 35 years Mark Gregston has lived and worked with struggling teens and knows what it takes to reach them. He says, "A parent's success has little to do with either the validity of their words or their intent as messengers, it's more about how they approach their child and engage with them."

This book provides a functional interface between a teen and a professional therapist. I recently bought a copy to review and immediately purchased several for current clients. My adolescent clients identify with the examples and quickly catch on to "go to thoughts." Teens don't usually read straight through a book. They will tend to identify what matters most to them (in spite of what I may suggest as homework) and cut right to the salient features. It works well. Five thumbs (stars) up! Not too academic for them...thanks for your work.

I love the fact that she started off at Eagles on a whim, and then allowed herself to be drawn so deep into these lives, and to weave them together with her own. This is a wonderful document of dawning relationships, and it's wonderfully generous because it describes not only what the author could do for these trans teens, but also what they did for her.

Of course it involves such interesting questions. The issue of class is everywhere here, the fact that she could break out of her own world and accept their world on their terms. And the issue of when she got carried away with that--as when she accept the girls' prostituting themselves, which might be bowing to reality, or might be accepting someone else's life as they present it, or might be losing sight of the horror, or might be a realization that it's not quite so horrible if you actually get up close and look at it. There's something voyeuristically satisfying about reading the narratives of what it is like inside this strange universe. She has managed by and large to look at the questions attached to being poor and abandoned and the questions attached to being trans, and the balance she has achieved there is elegant. I found myself toying with what it would be like to be trans, and not feeling threatened by or uncomfortable with the idea, even the idea of being trans and impoverished and lonely and lost. Beam has brought a kind of solidness to these terrifying experiences, that made it possible to process them without too much trauma. Her courage in all she faced gives the reader a kind of courage to face it too.

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