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News & Views - Apr, 1991 Issue 

Book Review
Title: Decoding Your Teenager
(How to understand each other during the turbulent years)
Author: Michael DeSisto
Publisher: William Morrow & Co.: New York: 1991

Michael DeSisto founded one of the original Special Purpose schools. The DeSisto program was started in 1967, and his school in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, was founded in 1978. This makes him one of the early experimenters in Special Purpose schools and programs along with Mel Wasserman of CEDU Education, Steve Cawdry of Spring Creek Community School, Larry Dean Olsen of Anasazi, and Larry Wells of Wilderness Conquest, to name a few.

This book is written for parents especially, and is a summery of more than 25 years of Michael DeSisto's experience in working with teenagers with problems. It is easy to read, and is packed with observations as to why these teenagers act as they do, and tips on how to deal with various behaviors. Do you want to know what kind of teenager you have? Chapter three outlines ten types, along with identifying behaviors and the challenge the parent must meet.

The basic key to all problems, of course, is improving communication, so Chapter four outlines "Seven Secrets of Successful Communication" parents can use.

Part II talks more about each of the ten types: what is probably going on in the child's head, and what a parent can do to break through. Do you have a Weird Dresser? He suggests what the child is saying, and what the parent should do about it. The same is done for the Relationship Addict, the Victim, the Clam, and six other types. Much of the material I found familiar, but I still learned a lot from reading this book.

Michael DeSisto just completed a 12 city tour to promote his book, so it is likely to be available through your local book store. Otherwise you could order it from the publisher, or from the DeSisto School, 413-298-3776.

Copyright 1991, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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