Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Tough Guys and Drama Queens by Mark Gregston

Title: Tough Guys and Drama Queens: How Not to Get Blindsided By Your Child's Teen Years
Author:  Mark Gregston
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Format:  softcover
ISBN:  978-0-8499-4729-2
Price:  $15.99

I have to confess.  I have good teens.  They aren't sneaking out at night, not drinking, not doing drugs, and they usually tell me the truth.  But there are times I have felt blindsided by their emotions, their questions, and their words.  In those moments, I often feel as if I'm failing at this parenting thing.  I begin to fear that my good teens are going to walk away from God and make some really bad decisions in their lives.  Then my gut reaction is to lecture more, tighten rules, and try to make sure they stay on the right path. That's the wrong response, unfortunately.

I'm learning that teenage girls are drama queens.  They just are.  Not necessarily in the trouble-making, manipulative and mean way I usually think of drama queens. But to them every emotion is HUGE and every difficulty is THE END OF THE WORLD. Some of this they can't really control.  Their changing hormones help blow everything out of proportion and their youth means they don't have enough life experience to have a realistic perspective yet.  The "right now" of their life really does seem like forever to them.  As parents, we're looking at situations with the wisdom of 20+ years more life experience.

The hardest part of parenting teens is learning not to react to the drama, and not to take it personally.  The second hardest part is knowing what to let go of, and where to stand firm. What battles are worth fighting, and which ones will only damage your relationship with your child?  That's where I found Tough Guys and Drama Queens helpful.  Mark Gregston used his 35+ years of experience working with teens and their families to write this book.  He points out the common parenting errors that contribute to parent-teen conflict and offers guidelines for parenting that can help build relationships, guide teens to maturity, and limit unnecessary conflict in the home.

Tough Guys and Drama Queens is divided into three parts:
  1. What's so different about today's culture 
  2. Why traditional parenting no longer works 
  3. A new model for parenting teens

I have to admit that I knew today's culture was very different than the culture I was raised in.  I'd seen firsthand how teens question authority and challenge rules so much more than they did 20 years ago, even good teens. But I didn't fully understand why.  I'll be honest.  I figured it was because we were all doing something wrong. Somehow, I figured my parents had done something right, that I had missed. I didn't realize that part of it is simply the change in culture.

Changing how we parent as our teens mature is so important.  Some parents will pick up this book because they are really struggling with their teens.  Maybe their teen is in danger of dropping out of school or has had brushes with the law.  This book can help them know what needs to change, and what help to seek for their family. 

Some parents will pick up this book because they're just feeling a bit blindsided by the changes their child is going through and its effects on their relationship.  Maybe they're wondering what they're doing wrong and starting to worry about their teen's future.  This book can help them understand what isn't working in their family and figure out more effective ways of parenting their teens.

Even if you disagree with the guidelines that Mark Gregston lays out, feeling he's too permissive for your family situation, I think you can still benefit from reading the book. First of all, reading this book helped me not to be judgmental of parents struggling with their teens more than I am.  Second, it really did help me to re-evaluate how I am relating to my teens and what areas I needed to change.

I highly recommend Mark Gregston's book, Tough Guys and Drama Queens, to anyone parenting teens today.  It was eye-opening and reassuring.  For one thing, it reminded me that my girls really are good teens.  I was so thankful not to be facing some of the issues Mark has dealt with in his work with troubled teens.  But it also helped me identify ways I need to change, and how to be a better parent to my teens.

April E.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Booksneeze.  A positive review was not required, and the opinions in this review are all my own.

I review for BookSneeze®

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