The problem with most self-help books is that we turn to them when all else has failed, and often it is too late to deal effectively with the current crisis. Not that they can't help to point us in the right direction, but the advice would have been a lot more helpful if we had sought it before we got into the problem. Unfortunately, human nature seems to adhere to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. So we fail to anticipate future problems and find ourselves scrambling for help when "it (inevitably) breaks."
Fortunately, for parents today, there are some excellent books available that can help them prepare for their child's stages of development. These books, written by people who have worked through many of parenting's pitfalls, can make the journey so much smoother and more enjoyable. Dr. John Townsend, who often co-authors with Dr. Henry Cloud, has written a series of books dealing with parenting and relationships that definitely falls into this category. These titles include RAISING GREAT KIDS, HOW PEOPLE GROW, BOUNDARIES WITH KIDS and BOUNDARIES IN MARRIAGE, plus others.
We have heard that a child's personality and tendencies are formed by the time he or she is eight years old. So what hope do parents have when their 14-year-old becomes rude and disrespectful, refusing to follow even the simplest of family rules? According to BOUNDARIES WITH TEENS, help is available, and while the child's personality and tendencies will not be changed, his or her behavior will. This allows the family to function and mom and dad to have a measure of serenity.
Dr. Townsend says, "I have seen many teens become more responsible, happier, and better prepared for adult life after their parents began to apply the principles and techniques discussed in this book. Many of these teens not only made positive changes in their lives, they also reconnected emotionally with their parents at levels that the parents thought they would never experience again." Using biblical principles as his guide, Dr. Townsend has put together a book that gives parents uncomplicated strategies for dealing with the most common and disturbing problems they are apt to face with their teenagers. Not only is there a chapter outline, there is also a detailed index to help find answers that focus on specific needs.
In addition to the practical advice, BOUNDARIES WITH TEENS offers encouragement to parents on every page. It reminds them of their own spiritual needs and commitments and gives them hope for success. Raising children is more challenging than ever, and people like Dr. Townsend provide welcome assistance.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on January 31, 2008