“How not to get blindsided by your child’s teen years” – well, this subtitle certainly caught my attention. Being the mother of a 14 year old daughter, I jumped into this one with both feet, and I wasn’t disappointed. As the host of Parenting Today’s Teens (a national radio broadcast) and the residential counselor for Hearlight Ministries (a residential program for troubled teens), Mark Gregston offers first-hand insight into what teenagers are thinking and why they sometimes behave as they do. Tough Guys and Drama Queens is a beacon of hope for parents of teenagers. Gregston challenges the reader to adopt a proactive action plan for independence along with a list of top 5 rules (hills you are willing to die on) and mutually agreed upon consequences for infractions of these rules.
Relationship is the key theme for weathering the turbulent teen years. Parents must shift not only their style of parenting but also their expectations as their children begin making the transition into adulthood. His premise that parents and their teens actually share the common goal of having the teen grow into independence allows both the parent and child to collaborate on how to accomplish the goal. In his chapter on changing expectations, Gregston makes the following eye-opening statement: “The tendency for any parent is to feel that their child is choosing to play on the opposing team rather than on yours. That’s not always true. They’re just trying to find out what their position is on the team they’re playing on.” He concludes with some practical examples of ways to interact with your teen in the chapter, “Parenting Practices that Really Work.”
I cannot say enough positive things about Tough Guys and Drama Queens. It truly is the best insight I have read for keeping your teenager on your team! If you have a child between the ages of eleven and seventeen, I beg you to read this book!