A wise and inspiring guide to parenting through the extraordinary- and at times tumultuous-journey that is the adolescent and teenage years.
When Tom Sturges became a father, he decided that he wanted to be one of the greatest father that ever walked the earth. But things became a bit more complicated when his older son turned ten, and the chatty kid he'd known suddenly started locking his bedroom door. Tom realized he needed to find a way to stay on track-he needed crib notes. So, if a parenting idea of technique worked well, he wrote it down. And if he stumbled across something another parent did that was particularly ingenious or exemplary, he wrote that down, too. In "Grow the Tree You Got," Tom presents "golden rules" for raising happy, healthy, and compassionate adults. His mantra? It's impossible to show our children too much respect, but it's worth the effort to try.
The parents of teens have no shortage of grievances: "I wish my son would look up from his video games and talk to me"; "My daughter is dressing so inappropriately!"; "Why haven't they started their homework" But the solution to raising great teens is not to change them or war against them, writes Tom Sturges (Parking Lot Rules). Rather, we need to nurture their growth.
Sturges shares the rules behind this philosophy in GROW THE TREE YOU GOT & 99 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing Adolescents and Teenagers (coming from Tarcher / Penguin on May 5). While he barely knew his own father, legendary screenwriter and director Preston Sturges, Tom Sturges had always dreamed of being the best father ever. Yet when his first two sons reached their turbulent teenage years, parenting became far more complicated.
In his new book, he shares the 100 simple rules that guided him though their tumultuous transition to adulthood. Culled from fellow parents and his own experiences as a father and mentor to hundreds of Los Angeles's most at-risk teens, the rules direct parents to support, respect and, most importantly, love their children, even during stressful times. Sections include:
* The Seven Bridges Rule: Before your adolescent begins to rapidly change, build seven strong connections to keep you close. Cheering for your favorite sports team, planning an annual vacation, or worshipping in the same religious tradition can be stable bonds as your relationship evolves.
* Delay by two weeks some important event. Sturges was frustrated by his son?s lateness and wanted to change his behavior without punishment. The solution: for each tardy arrival, Thomas would have to wait an additional two weeks to get his driver?s license. While it took Thomas some time to turn around, he came to learn the importance of promptness and "eventually" get his license.
* Once said, never unsaid. Think carefully before you speak critically of your teen. During these developmental years, your criticism can really sting. Instead of ordering your daughter to change out of a risqu ensemble, begin by complementing her beauty and creative sense of style. Then, kindly suggest she make some adjustments.
* Seven Ways To Keep The Peace: Making decisions, even small ones, can tear families apart. Sturges suggests 7 decision-making rules that can simplify your disputes. Try ?half-time, bath time? or the 'possession arrow' to end the next family row.
* Liar, liar. Fear of punishment often compels teens to lie. Emphasize that honesty is paramount, despite the consequences. Convey that you're there to support them through any crisis, but can only do so if you're fully aware of the situation
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