Book #Review: The Available Parent by Dr. John Duffy

Thursday, June 02, 2011 Posted by Dina N

Book Description
Have you ever been bewildered by the changes in your child and your sudden lack of effectiveness as a parent? When hugs and family fun have been replaced by silence, slamming doors and an ever-changing array of moods, you need new tools. Top teen expert Dr. John Duffy has encountered all of this and more in his family counseling practice and offers excellent advice, clear strategies and teen-tested solutions in The Available Parent.

Dr. Duffy can help you shift the dynamic in your relationship with your teenager. Imagine what it would be like if healthy conversations replaced angry outburts or petulant silence. Using the techniques in Available Parent, you can begin to enjoy a healthy, satisfying, new kind of relationship with your teenager - one based on a foundation of radical optimism, rather than fear-based control. At a time when many "helicopter parents" micro-manage and under-appreciate their children, Dr. Duffy's step-by-step guide is an innovative approach to taking care of teens and tweens. You'll see that it's the available parent that fosters the extraordinary teenager.

What you'll learn inside this book:
  • How to understand the adolescent mind
  • What teen rebellion is really about
  • How to build your child's self-esteem and confidence
  • How to create a successful behavioral contract
My Review
My kids are not teenagers yet but I know these years will be here sooner than I think. The tween years are even closer. I like to be an informed and prepared parent so naturally I was curious about this book. With the caveat that, in my experience, reading parenting books can rarely - if at all - prepare people for real life parenting.

In The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens, Dr. Duffy shares his experience from many sessions with teens and their parents. He draws on that experience to give parents advice on how to approach communication with their teens. The book is divided in three parts: your teenager's wild world, what never works, and what always works. He calls on parents to embrace "fearless parenting" in order to minimize conflict and maximize satisfaction in their relationship with their kids.

Dr. Duffy's book did not make me an expert in teen behavior nor did I expect it to do that. What The Available Parent has given me in spades is food for thought. The author is a trained medical professional, a clinical psychologist, and a parent to boot. I don't think that even he has all the answers, despite the radical optimism so boldly declared in the title of his book. Although I don't agree with every word, I feel that some parts of Dr. Duffy's approach can apply not just to parenting teens and tweens but to parenting in general. Reading the book also made me reflect on my own upbringing and on how parenting styles in my family affected my choices as a teen and young adult.

The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens was published last month by Viva Editions.

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the publisher or PR firm.

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