Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Available Parent Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens + A Tip From Dr. John Duffy

The Available Parent by Dr. John Duffy A Product Description

Teenagers are left feeling unheard and misunderstood, and parents are left feeling bewildered by the changes in their child at adolescence and 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. Well, the truth of the matter is, you can physically be right next to someone and still not really be available to them. If you need them to be something they’re not, if you are harsh, criticizing and judging, if your anxiety is center stage, then you are not truly available.

The available parent of a teenager is open to discussion, offering advice and problem-solving, but not insisting on it. 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. The available parent is self-aware, and keeps his own emotions in check when dealing with his teen. He is unconditionally loving and accepting, and open to new and different ways of thinking. As such, 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. The available parent fosters an extraordinary teenager.

We have a tendency today to over-parent, micro-manage, and under-appreciate our adolescents. Imagine for a moment shifting the dynamic in your relationship. If you can get there as a parent, you can begin to enjoy a healthy, satisfying, exciting new kind of relationship with your teenager, a relationship with a foundation not of fear, but of radical optimism. Dr. John Duffy's The Available Parent is a revolutionary approach to taking care of teens and tweens.
And we can all breathe easier as a thirteenth birthday approaches.

What I Can Tell You:
While I didn't always agree with Dr. Duffy, as I am 50% "helicopter parent". Two years ago I was 100% but I am dealing with kids 6 and 8 years old. I am getting better at giving them space as they get older and prove themselves. I also micro-manage at this time, mostly conversations, helping them use good manners however I don't believe I will do this as they get older. In my mind, how will they know how to be effective listeners, use good manners and good judgment, if they are not being told how to?
If I remove myself out of the veil of mommy to elementary aged kids, I think this is the perfect book to aid parents of tweens and teens. I love how Dr. Duffy looks at and sees things! These kids are not lying. They are saying exactly what they need from their parents and thankfully there is a book out there telling us how to interpret what they need and how we can adjust ourselves to be the best parent for our kids and especially our future relationship with them.

I know exactly who needs this book and I am so happy to be able to tell her about it. 

Five Quick Tips for the Successful Raising of Teens and Tweens
By Dr. John Duffy,
Author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens

Parents often ask me why their parenting seems less effective with their teens and tweens than it did when their children were younger. In the same breath, they also want to know why they feel so disconnected with their children. The good news is that parents have more control over these factors than they think. Here are a few quick tips that will help:

1. Save Your Breath: Lectures Never Work
The lecture doesn't work because it is a closed form of communication. There is no back-and-forth to it. I recommend instead open discussions, outside the drama and high anxiety of crises. Instead, try this: "Listen, I've noticed lately that your grades have been slipping, and I'm really concerned. What's going on? How can I help?"

2. Be an Emotional Role Model

Often, taking care of your teen means taking care of yourself first. As a parent, you need to know and understand your own emotional life well in order to model emotional management for your teenager. Just telling your teenager to "get himself under control" does not suffice. You need to exhibit and model self-control and emotional self-awareness.

3. Be Careful About Judgments
If we have a negative vibe about a friend or potential boyfriend or girlfriend, we need to make our feelings known. We need to do it in the context of an open conversation. Sit him down and ask about his new friends in a nonjudgmental way. Let him know your concerns. Stay away from judging phrases. And don't mandate that he stop seeing certain people. Perhaps toughest of all, be prepared to be wrong.

4. Laugh it Up, Wise Guy!

Laughter also contributes greatly to the richness of your relationship with your child. If you can laugh with your child during the smooth times, your relationship will be all the more resilient during the rough times. Laugh during the rough times -- you'll find connections and solutions come so much easier. Laughter brightens even the darkest of days.

5. Protect Time
When you're with your child, turn off the Blackberry. Don't answer the iPhone. The mail can wait. Make eye contact with your child, not the little screen. Let your child know that spending time with him, right now, is the most important thing. Not because you want it to appear that way, but because it truly is that way.
© 2011 John Duffy, author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens
Author Bio
Dr. John Duffy
, author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens, is a highly sought-after clinical psychologist, certified life coach, parenting expert, and proud parent. He has been working with teens, tweens, and their families for more than fifteen years. He has provided the critical intervention and support needed to help hundreds of families find their footing.

He has served as a contributing parent expert for a number of media outlets. These include AOL Health, AOL Parent Dish, Notre Dame magazine, Root & Sprout, bettyconfidential.com, makeitbetter.net, examiner.com, theteendoc.com, Chicago Parent, sheknows.com, Psych Central, Current Health TeensThe Oakland Tribune, andWorking Mother Magazine. He has also served as a parenting and relationship expert on a number of radio programs, including the nationally-syndicated Mr. Dad program with best-selling author Armin Brott, and The Lite Show on WNTD in Chicago. Dr. Duffy has also contributed to a number of books, including Living Life as a Thank You (Viva Editions) by Mary Beth Sammons and Nina Lesowitz.

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