Well, I just finished reading a most wonderful book:
The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters, by Michael Gurian
This book really gets into what makes teenage girls tick. Two main themes stick in my mind:
- There are solid scientific reasons why girls act the way they do, based on hormones and other things that affect the way they think, feel, and do what they do.
- Society has let feminism go a little too far in some ways, telling girls that they should not only be as good as boys, but be like boys, damaging girls’ nature of who they truly are.
Many elements covered in this book help me better understand my daughter and other youth women. I highly recommend it!
I just finished reading my latest youth development book, called “Get Out of My Life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?” It’s subtitled “A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager” and is written by a psychologist that’s worked with adolescents for over 30 years.
First, I have to say that the book is very frank. The author goes through several interesting points, each with facts, figures and evidence of experience to back it up. He covers many key points, including independence, communication, control, and conflict.
With that said, I struggle to say that I like the book. My summary would be something like, “Most teenagers are miserable monsters, and there is nothing you can do about it, so here are some coping strategies to get you though it.” I’ve met some parents that pretty much feel that way, and they should relate quite well to this book. I suppose I just have a better experience with most teenagers, so that seems a bit harsh to me.
In any case, whether you are a parent or other adult that works with youth, I think you’ll find this book a valuable read.
Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager, Revised and Updated
You might think that it is a mother’s job to raise a daughter to be a modern day princess of the King. While you would be partly right, and this book covers that plenty, this book also emphasizes and illustrates how important a father’s role becomes, especially as a girl gets older. For any mom or dad trying to better connect with your tween or teen daughter, this book is for you:
Raising a Modern-Day Princess: Inspriing purpose, value, and strenght in your daughter
Our family had fun tonight going on a “Random Road Trip”.
We got the basic idea from a magazine, and then we added our own flair to it:
- Gather the family in your vehicle.
- Agree on how much time to spend driving.
- Start driving. Yep, just start driving!
- Have everyone take turns deciding which way to go.
- Keep going until you have driven the agreed amount of time. Then, continue toward the next major intersection.
- Visit a place nearby that you have never been to before. It could be a restaurant, store, park, or whatever.
- Find your way back home, and enjoy the memory.
For our first trip, we agreed to spend 30 minutes driving to our random destination. That went by quickly, but it was good for a first trip.
For deciding which way to go, the first person decides which way to turn out of the neighborhood. The next person decides whether to go straight, turn left, or turn right at the next major intersection, as indicated by a traffic light or stop sign. Skip any intersections that just have entrances to subdivisions or shopping centers.
For a place to visit, try a local place (like “Gigi’s Pizza”) rather than a chain (like “Pizza Hut”) to keep things interesting. While there, do something different. Share a special meal or snack, get a little memento, or take a picture to remember your trip.
For more fun, perhaps bring some friends along.
For a bonus, take the opportunity to conduct a random act of kindness. For our first trip, our waitress seemed new and stressed, so we tipped her an extra few dollars.
Consider using Foursquare or another GPS-based service to find a place near your random destination. Or, maybe find a geocache in the area. There is plenty of room for variations, depending on what your family enjoys. Have fun!
Well, it’s Tuesday, so we experienced Taco Tuesday for dinner this evening. We do something a little different, in that we offer choices for dinner. For example, for Taco Tuesday, we have BOTH hard taco shells AND soft tortillas, and we have BOTH ground beef AND chicken strips. And, then we have all of the fixins laid out, including lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream and taco sauce. It’s basically a self-serve taco bar. Some family members only like certain things, and others have a couple different things because they like variety.
We do something similar when we have pasta for dinner. We only have one type of pasta. However, we have BOTH marinara AND Alfredo sauces, and we have BOTH powdered Parmesan AND shredded cheddar cheeses. Sometimes we have meatballs, onions, or mushrooms on the side for anyone that wants them. So, it’s like a self-serve pasta bar. Again, some family members pick very specific things, and others have half a plate of one variation and half a plate of another.
I sometimes wonder, is this normal or unusual, good or bad? It’s definitely good for getting the children to eat, as each one chooses what he or she wants. But, is it bad to allow them to be picky by having choices for dinner?
If you have tween or teen children, or if you associate with teenagers through church, Scouts or somewhere else, then you know they can be utterly confusing. I still think that Middle School Ministries is the best starting place to understanding tweens and teens, but if that is Parenting 101, then the latest book I finished reading might be Parenting 102:
An Intimate Understanding of America’s Teenagers: Shaking Hands with Aliens
The author is a veteran school teacher and youth group leader, so he packs years of insight and wisdom into this book on teenagers. He covers many points that won’t surprise you. Teenagers need stability, love, boundaries, purpose and respect. If you would like to better understand why they need all of that, and how you can help provide it to them, then you’ll find heart-felt and thought-out guidance throughout thise book.
Extra note: each chapter ends with advice for parents, teachers, and teenagers! So, this is even a great book for teenagers to understand more about themselves and their fellow teens.
Family traditions are important to children. It gives them a sense of belonging and something to pass on to their children.
Every St. Patrick’s Day, for the last 14 years, we have started the day by reading Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. All the while, we actually enjoy a plate of green eggs and ham!
If you have a child, then you probably already have the book. If not, then you can get it here:
Green Eggs and Ham (I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books)
For the dish, we just scamble some eggs, mix in some chunks of ham, and stir in a little green food coloring.
What St. Patrick’s Day family tradition do you have?
Courageous is a touching, family-friendly, Christian movie about a group of men that decide to take fatherhood more seriously.
Courageous on Blu-ray
Courageous on DVD
The movie is especially good for those men that won’t settle with just being a good-enough dad.
If you have seen the movie, then did it make you think or inspire you to do something different?
I just read an interesting Saturday Essay article on French parenting. You can check it out here:
Why French Parents are Superior
The most important lesson seems to be defining clear boundaries.
Do you think French parents have some lessons we can learn?
Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD
I just read this nice little list of thoughts to share with your middle or high school student:
20 Things to Share with your High School and Middle School Student
While I like almost every point, my favorite is probably #13.
If you like this list, which is your favorite point? Would you add a point?