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by Karen Zager and Alice Rubenstein
American Psychological Association, 2002
Review by Fred Ashmore on Mar 17th 2004
and Zager have created a book that pulls together answers to the Big Questions
raised by teen girls and their parents. And these are not the "How do I
get rid of zits?" big questions, but the ones that get to the heart
of moving on with life, making the most of it, enjoying it.
I was thrown
at first by the double fronted set up! The book can be read from the front or
turned over and read from the back. One front cover is for parents; the other
for teens. It ‘s weird at first, but actually very sensible for this book
because parents questions are so different from teen questions.
Who am I? and why do I feel
What's happening to my body?
Girlfriends and boyfriends -
why is it all so complicated?
Guys, love and sex - how do I
decide what to do?
School, school, school - why
is there always a problem?
How do I find time to do it
Are all families this
difficult to live with?
Eating disorders, anxiety, depression:
how can I tell if I'm really in trouble?
Drugs and alcohol: how can I
not be tempted?
What will my future be like?
Why is it so hard to fit in?
My parents don't listen. How
can I talk to them?
Why is she so difficult to
Why can't she think for
Will I ever stop worrying
How can I help he feel good
How will she ever become an
has a series of more specific questions with answers that explore possible
solutions. They drill down into the subject, and the answers display wisdom,
common sense, practical approaches to real problems and a good balance from
"This you might sort out in this way or think about in this way," to
"If this is what you think is happening, you should get competent help as
soon as you can."
definitely a good book. Time and again I found myself nodding agreement as I
read. I speak as the father of two lovely girls, one who had a hellish time as
a teenager (generously shared with us) and the other who is in the middle of
what seems to be a pretty good experience (so far, fingers crossed). The book
is full of sound advice and good sense, and I'm glad I read it.
were times when I longed for a bit of crunch. Constant good sense and
tolerance can feel boring - but I would recommend this book to any parent of a
teen girl. I was reminded of just how full life is likely to be for a teen
girl, and how this eats away at the time she needs for relaxation; how puzzling
the mood changes are from the inside as well as from the outside. And I was
reminded that Dad matters too, for which thanks to the authors. My wife's
response when she saw me reading this was to question the appropriateness!
reading? For sure if you have a teen girl. I think it is aimed at parents,
mostly, being a bit discursive for many teens (at least my 14 year old daughter
gave it short shrift). It would be useful for any adult who has to deal with
teen girls, in fact. It is not, I think, aimed at the expert professional but would
be helpful for teachers, counsellors, youth workers. A lot of it will feel
familiar and even repetitive, but keep mining, there are nuggets there as well.
© 2004 Fred Ashmore
Fred Ashmore is a
member of the public with a strong interest in drugs, drink and addiction and
how people recover from them. He is active as a meeting host for the SMART Recovery® program, which offers
help for people who seek to modify harmful and addictive behavior.