Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I want to go everywhere I haven't been, and back to everywhere I have been.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens

I was not compensated in any way for this post, 
except for receiving an advance copy of the book.

Is there a teenager in your life?

If you are the parent (or grandparent) of a teenager, 
you're well aware of how tough it is 
to know the best way handle every situation that arises.

And oh, there are situations...
lots of them.

If you've read "About Me" on my sidebar,
it's obvious that staying one step ahead of my teenager 
ranks pretty high on my list of priorities..

Now that he is 14, sometimes it's feel like 
I am a stride behind my teenager.
By the time he's 16, I worry that I'll be jogging behind, 
trying my best to catch up.

I think it's time to invest in a good pair of running shoes.

Being the parent of a teen is exhausting...
and complicated...
and tricky. 

There are times that I wish I could hit the pause button,
and stop the action until I figure out what to do.

Wouldn't it be awesome if there was a "How To" manual 
for raising teenagers?

Oh, wait -- there IS!!!  

Joani Geltman, MSW, an expert in the field of 
Child Development and Parenting,
It just may be the answer to my prayers,
and probably yours, too.

She gives practical advice on everything,
 from laziness, lying, drinking and drugs, 
to sexting, online bullying,
 and lots of other scary teenager things. 

Maybe it's just me, 
but freaking everything freaks me the freak out about teenagers. 

I was "introduced" to Joani by a friend, 
who has a son the same age as Junior Goo Shoes.
We were comparing notes on teenage "stuff,"
when she told me about a blog called

Yes, please, I'd like that.

I subscribed to it right then and there...
chopsticks in one hand, and cell phone in the other...
in between bites of my spicy tuna roll.

Since then, I have read
Every. Single. Post.

Eventually, through comments, Joani and I connected.
(Don't you love that about blogs?)
I was thrilled when she sent me an advance copy of her book.
Having the Survival Guide makes me feel a lot better...
It's like having my very own "therapist" on my night table,
to give me advice any time I need it.

Which is, like...always.

The Survival Guide focuses on 80 issues 
that are typical teen behaviors.
They range from the not-so-terrible...
like monitoring cell phones, or coping with messy rooms;

to more serious issues...
like what to do about the "bad seed" friend, 
or teens who feel left out; 

to the truly terrifying...
such as binge drinking, 
or Facebook posts that could put your teen in jail. 

What I really like about this book is that Joani cuts to the chase, 
and dissects each issue by identifying...

What's the Problem
Why It's a Problem 
Here's the Solution

She helps you to get inside a teenager's head,
to better understand how their minds work,
and then gives practical, actionable advice on what to do. 
Yeah, that works for me. 

I just want Joani to tell me what to do! 
And, she does!

The Survival Guide is simple to navigate,
making it easy to find info on the 
particular behavior you're interested in.

Want to know about...
Navigating the College Process?
Helping A Teen Avoid Friendship Traps?
Social Networking?
Drinking and Drugs?

Just flip to that chapter, 
and you will find a series of related articles on that subject. 

In fact, I didn't read the book from start to finish...
I went to the issues that interested me most, first.

Take final exams, for example.

I always say that I dread Junior GS' exams way more than he does. 
He doesn't seem at all concerned about them until just before,
which makes me bonkers, so I went to the section called 
The Drama Of Exams.

 What's going on here, Joani?

"The dread of final exams comes from knowing 
what this weekend will be like for you. 
You are gearing up to play multiple roles: 
motivational speaker, prison guard, therapist, and tutor. 
You go from saying 'You can do it, you're a bright kid' 
to 'shut off that damn phone, get of Facebook! 
How do you expect to get anything accomplished?' 
to 'Honey, I know you're anxious, exams can be scary' 
to 'let's go over this together; I'll quiz you.' 
Your teen both needs you and hates you."

Yup, that's pretty much the scene in our house 
before mid-terms and finals. 

Fortunately, we haven't had to deal with 
many of the issues in the book,
but if and when we do, I'll be much better prepared. 

Maybe I don't need those running shoes after all. 

Somehow I think that I'll have a better chance 
of staying one step ahead of my teenager 
armed with my copy of  
A Survival Guide To Parenting Teens

Boston and NY readers:
Joani is doing several readings and book signings 
(see schedule below)
over the next month. 
I plan on attending the NY event,
and would love to meet some of you there!
Please let me know if you are interested in going! 

May 14 Buttonwood Books, Cohasset, MA 7pm
May 16 Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA 7pm
May 20 Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA 7pm
May 29 New England Book Fair, Newton, MA 7pm
June 9 Barnes & Noble 86th St & Lexington New York City 7pm
Sign spotted in store window

Happy Mother's Day!


  1. Sounds like a MUST read book, Amy. Thanks for sharing - tweeted this!

    1. It really is an excellent book, and really practical advice. So sweet to tweet - thanks!

  2. I am happy to say I have passed that stage...on to the next! but there really is nothing like good, sound advice. Blessings, Catherine xo

    1. If there's one think I could use a lot of, it's advice! Hope you had a Happy Mother Day, Catherine!

  3. Thank goodness there is a book like this! I am drowning in the dramas of having a male teen of 16 and a female teen of 14. Trying to good but they portray me as the devil incarnate! After all, how hard can it be to put rubbish in the bin which is right next to where they threw it?, put their washing in the basket? stop pretending to be revising when they have their laptops and iPods on at the same time! Oh, the list goes on and on and on! My trick however is to start crying!! I'm going to take a look at Joani's blog now to see what I can learn... I'm desperate!! xx

    1. I hear you, Chel! My son never throws anything in the trash, or puts it back in the fridge! I really find Joani's blog helpful...and the book gives great advice on so many things.

  4. I could definitely use this book! I have a child that just turned 13. I also have a 20 yr old that although is not a teenager anymore, is more a part of all of those issues than my 13 yr old at the moment. I never had a guide to deal with my first born becoming a teenager and would love to have one with my second son. Thanks for the review. Sounds perfect!

    1. I think it's great that the book makes you look at an issue in a different way, from the kids' point of view. For example, she talks about trust versus temptation. We might look at a problem and say the kids broke our trust, but Joani explains that the issue is temptation. The book is full of things like that.

  5. I love the sign! I saw it somewhere online awhile ago and wanted to print out and hang ony daughter's door, but my husband didn't think she had enough sense of humor to grasp the message:)
    I will be sure to check out the book, thanks for the review, Amy. We have had out fair share of teen-related problems and have navigated them more or less successfully. But it cost me lots of sleepless nights and grey hair! With three more future teens, I would be so happy for have professional support and help.

    1. It's always a good idea to validate with someone who really gets it! I like how Joani explains things from the teenager's point of view, so that you understand better why they do what they do.

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  7. I love this! I need to read this book. I have three teenagers!

    1. I found it so helpful, Michelle...and the blog, too. It's good stuff!

  8. LOL I HAVE 3 boys are older now but just in case anyone needs it..if you don't know what the heck they are talking about on FB or wherever, just go to Urban Dictionary. It's saved me many a time

    1. It' good to hear about survival stories, Deb! Thanks for the tip about Urban Dictionary!

  9. Thankfully my teenagers are now adults. I'm happy they made. Sometimes I wasn't sure they would. This book sounds great, because every parent needs help with teenagers...every one!

    1. I agree, Corinne, it is tricky raising teenagers, and I agree, I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't benefit from some help!

  10. This sounds like an awesome book! I have two teenage boys now. Both are very good so far and the biggest problem I have to speak of right now is with my 13 year old. We butt heads, and butt them often. Lots of power struggles going on and he wants to win! I don't budge though and have learned that in the end kids like discipline. Even though at the time you are their worst enemy. I am not their friend, first and foremost, and they both know it. Maybe when they are 30 I will consider a friendship LOL. Happy Mother's day Amy!

    1. I hear you, Debbie, and couldn't agree more that they do not need us to be friends with them. We do our fair share of head-butting here, too. I think the book is really terrific, and I can see myself referring to it for the next few years. Keeping fingers crossed that I'll never need to re-read those super-scary chapters!

  11. Hi Amy - As the mom of two who have made it through the teenage years (our youngest is 20), I can say that there is life on the other side! We took an authoritative, but not authoritarian, approach with both our boys, and gradually gave them more responsibility and privilege as they got older. We also treated them like people and with respect, even if we were saying "I am the parent and at this point in your life you have to do it my way." I am happy to say that we are still friends with both of them and are developing adult-young adult relationships with them. But it is sometimes very nerve-wracking as you're heading down that teenage path! Thanks so much for sharing with the Let's Get Real party.

    1. Thanks, Gaye, for giving me hope that all will turn out alright! It is very nerve-wracking, to say the least, and my son has been good so far. It's all of the temptations that cross his path, that I worry about.

  12. Hi Amy! Great, great post and I am crying with laughter over the final graphic! I know this will be helpful to a lot of parents. Like Gaye, I also made it though the teenage years and have come out the other side (pretty) much intact! :) Every stage of parenting is new and scary adventure; it helps to know one is definitely not alone! Thanks so much for sharing at Best of the Weekend - pinned and shared! Hope you're having a fabulous week!

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