ISBN: 9781440504648

A book for parents, on how to talk and listen to what their teenage children are really saying. Or not. And suggests ways to respond.

Gives tips to parents on when and how to continue conversations with their teens. Or when to not prolong an argument.

Doesn’t attempt to cover too much ground on Teen Psychology, though it does start with a brief introduction. P2.

American slant. Some parents on Singapore, whose teens watch a lot of American TV shows, may identify with some examples. Like teens one-word responses: “whatever” and “not”. The book provides examples to explain what may be the meaning behind those phrases, given different situations. And possibly why the teen may choose to respond in that manner.

The key is then to decide how to react, given the possible situational requirements.

But the authors put it in a less analytical manner, and with a practical slant.

Chapters include ways to encourage your teen to want to talk to you, how to translate nonverbal communication, dealing with teen secrets, how to broach sensitive topics with your teens. Also a chapter on “how traditions have been broken and rules about roles rewritten”.

Some examples seem universal. Like the use of the question “Why?”

Parent: “You have to go to…”
Teen: “Why”
Here the question indicates doubt or disagreement. Suggested parental response: ask your teen if she wants to hear your reasons. If not, let it go for another time.

Another example, where the teen may be making an honest inquiry:
Parent: “we have to find out about that.”
Teen: “Why?”
Suggested parental response: offer a complete and honest explanation.

Some are — or should be — common sense. Like “avoid divulging their secrets, if possible”. Though the “if possible” qualifer illustrates again the need for judgement calls. The decision point is whether the secret is harmless (e.g. A secret crush, so it’s OK to keep it a secret). The tip is to avoid shaming your teen, the authors say. If a secret must be out, tell them in advance.

Now, replace the word “teen” with “siblings” or “friends” or “coworkers” or “subordinate”, and it’s pretty much common sense, isn’t it?

Tips to get teens/ people to talk: “what songs did the band play at the concert?” may get a better response than “what did you do today?”

Of course, if the response is “you wouldn’t understand”,

Or I should say, the art of communication is about sensitivity, strategy and sense.

I suppose at some point, some Asian parents reading this may think, “This isn’t parenting. This is pandering!”

The recurrent point the authors make is that ultimately parents should use their judgement. The tips in the book should never be prescriptive.

It suggests honest discussion is the best way to deal with difficult topics. Like sex, drugs.

This reminds me of the Tiger Mother article.

Contains list of resources for further reading.