Books of Interest
Book Reviews

Oct 3, 2005, 10:57

By Michael Riera, PhD
May 1, 1995
Celestial Arts, 1995
ISBN# 1-58761-224-0 (pbk)

Book Review By: Anita Biase

Do you have a "communication" problem with your teenager? Are there constant conflicts that leave you 'wrung out' and make you feel like you want to find a good, safe hiding place? If so, "Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers" holds the answer for you. "Uncommon Sense" will help you understand your teen's behavior as well as offer the tools to dodge the difficulties many parents encounter while raising children in today's environment.

Michael Riera promotes the idea that parents should be mentors or advisors to their teenagers, rather than supervisors, and offers practical suggestions to help frustrated parents manage their teens' behaviors. He uses a modified Socrates technique to pose and answer all the questions you could possibly have. He then lays out a blueprint for you to follow in raising your teen.

Traditional wisdom subscribes to the idea that the teenage years are to be dreaded and greeted with apprehension. Riera takes issue with "conventional wisdom," and advocates a much more unique and constructive image of the parent-adolescent connection. He points out that teenagers are fledgling adults, and describes many ways that parents can help their adolescents safely try their wings.

This book has brief, easy-to-read chapters packed with wisdom and sage advice for parents. The introductory section provides information about the parent-child relationship. The following chapters deal with a wide variety of situations including the world of the adolescent, high school, structure, limits, natural consequences of one's actions, alcohol, drugs, academics, motivation, learning problems, sex, romance and homosexuality. Later chapters explore technology, sports exercise, nutrition, stress, making friends, getting a driver's license, eating disorders, adolescent grieving, divorce, remarriage and blended families to name a few. The final three chapters discuss single parenting, parent mental health and professional help with the author's conclusions in the final chapter.

Many parenting books are available today, but I found this book to be different because in my opinion it delivers what it promises, and provides parents with no-nonsense, practical advice for understanding teenagers. I feel the author's positive, down-to-earth attitude toward teenagers fosters real interaction and communication between parents and teens. Throughout the book, he comes across with a warm and supportive attitude that I think makes this book an outstanding accolade to the parent-teenager relationship.

About the Author:
Michael Riera is currently the Dean of Students at Marin Academy in San Rafael, CA. He also speaks nationwide to parent and professional groups about developing effective communication between parents and their teenagers. Rivera is the adolescent adviser for CBS's "The Saturday Morning Early Show." He lives with his wife and daughter in Berkeley.

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