We have a tendency today to over-parent, micromanage, and underappreciate our adolescents. Dr. John Duffy's The Available Parent is a revolutionary approach to taking care of teens and tweens.
Teenagers are often left feeling unheard and misunderstood, and parents are left feeling bewildered by the changes in their child at adolescence and by their sudden lack of effectiveness as parents. The parent has become unavailable, the teen responds in kind, and a negative, often destructive cycle of communication begins. The available parent of a teenager is open to discussion, offering advice and solutions but not insisting on them. He allows his child to make some mistakes, setting limits, primarily where health and safety are concerned. He never lectures - he is available but not controlling. He is neither cruel nor dismissive, ever. The available parent is fun and funny and can bring levity to the most stressful situation. All of that is to say, there are no conditions to his availability - it is absolute.
©2014 John Duffy (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
I very much enjoyed listening to this book. John Duffy has an approach to parenting that allows them to feel more trust in their kids, and kids to manage their own lives better and learn from successes and mistakes. He helps parents pull back from micro-managing, lecturing, punishing or passive attitudes and move toward confidence that their teens and tweens have good instincts and inner resources for dealing with their own lives.
Duffy promotes parents taking a very active role--this is no approach that leaves parents free to ignore the kids--but one that is active in a "how can I help?" sense. Parents can make themselves available to kids to talk through the issues that matter to them (the kids) without being embarrassed or "preachy." He helps point out that when parents convey a positive sense of their being available for guidance, more than dictating rules and "fixing" problems, kids develop more confidence and become more able to meet the challenging situations they will run into as they move through adolescence.
Make no mistake--he is not advocating that parents shy away from stepping in, when it is a true emergency, but more one where their relaxed confidence is conveyed to the kids who can in turn use that relationship as a model, and a "go to" place when they want to discuss their lives. Parents are not meant to be friends, but encouraged to be friendly with their kids--leaving channels open to talk about anything without expressing judgments for ideas the kids are exploring for themselves.
He does not say this is easy--but listening to the way he explains his approach, it actually sounds easier than all the energy that goes into trying manage capable teens' lives from a viewpoint one generation removed. Seldom do I see approaches that give parents and teens a common ground in which to discuss ideas and have parents show their teens that they are trusted. (If that is not the case, he does recommend therapy for the teens or family). This is quite a useful book, well-narrated by David Colacci. Recommend.
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