Finally. It’s out. The Unofficial Guide to Therapeutic Parenting, the Teen Years has been published. You can buy it here or here and other places too. Isn’t it a handsome thing? I love the cover (it’s a metaphor you know).
The book is an honest, real life look at therapeutic parenting during the adolescent years because just when we’ve got a handle on the special kind of parenting many our children require (well done us), adolescence swaggers in and sticks two fingers up. Adolescence on top of trauma and relational difficulties is an interesting combo. Our loved ones who found it challenging to regulate their emotions, assess risk and follow rules even before adolescence showed up, will certainly experience extra challenges. Yes, my friends, adolescence plus trauma is rather a double whammy.
Teenagers naturally drift away from their families and support networks and fall into the arms of supportive peer groups, right? ‘What’s that?’ I hear you cry, ‘they don’t have a supportive peer group’. Many of the protective factors that cushion averagely raised young people against risk are not available to our loved ones. We may find ourselves picking up the pieces amongst some interesting situations. Our influence as parents, carers and professionals wanes just when our young people are perhaps at their most vulnerable.
The Unofficial Guide to Therapeutic Parenting – the Nightmare Years (lol) is set amongst the modern day parenting obstacle course, littered as it is with sexting, self-harm, exploitation, aggressive behaviours and internet addiction, to name a just few of the challenges. The risks todays teens face are not what they were certainly when I was young and many of us middle-aged parents and carers have few reference points. For example, when I was a teenager I smoked a bit of tobacco and had some inappropriate boyfriends. I didn’t do anything that could have landed me in jail or the local ICU. I didn’t even send pictures of my tits to random strangers. What a square! It’s a baffling world some of our young people find themselves in, at the press of a button, in a moment.
Of course, not all teenagers who have had traumatic early lives experience a rocky adolescence and for that reason my book comes with a massive proviso. If you and yours are gliding quite nicely through these years then don’t read it. Do something lovely together instead; have a barbecue, crack open a Coke Zero, watch a film, or even better, leave your teenager alone in the house and reclaim your social life. The Unofficial Guide has been written for those of us parenting at the hard edge of adolescence, who are a little overwhelmed and frightened by it and who struggle to recall what a social life is. I’ve worked hard to produce something practical, relevant and entertaining, whilst walking the talk. (These books aren’t just dashed off, you know.) There is humour, swearing and practical suggestions and if that’s what you’re after then please buy a copy. If you like it, I’d be very grateful if you could leave a review on Amazon and pass on recommendations to your friends and colleagues. My work is very much a word of mouth thing.