How to Connect with your iteen by Susan Morris Shaffer, Linda Perlman Gordon

As a parent of a 12 year old, I was looking for a book with which to help transition her to middle school and all that it entails as she enters puberty. How to Connect With Your iTeen is well written, easy to follow, and very informative. Points are discussed in the beginning and then summarized at the end for quick reference by parents. Although the book sounds like it mostly deals with internet/social media/electronic devices, what we have is a comprehensive guide for raising a teen – including being better parents, how teen bodies and brains are changing, and intelligent ways to deal with the age.

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Topics include: entitlement and helicopter parenting, psychology of a teen and how they are changing, media and its terrible influence, teen friendships (friends, frenemies, etc.), school issues, ‘screenagers’, parenting road map to communication and connection (how to), why they take so many risks, and getting them ready for adulthood. At the back of the book are fact sheets to help parents determine if their teen has more serious problems, from depression to suicide, violence to eating disorders, and drug usage.

The emphasis of the book is helping a teen to become a productive and resilient adult. To do so, the book focuses on six behavioral characteristics: 1) persistence and grit; 2) self management and impulse control; 3) personal responsibility and self reliance; 4) empathy and self awareness; 5) boundaries and setting limits; 6) cultural competence/accepting differences. Addressing those character traits and developing them is the heart of How to Connect With Your iTeen.

The authors give many examples of actual teen and parent experiences and how they handled (or didn’t handle) difficult situations involving school, parents, friends, and more. But what I found most useful is that each chapter not only discusses but provides clear solutions and recommendations. The emphasis is not on the teens but on the parent-teen relationship, especially communication.

I found this to be extremely well written – and something I could share with my daughter to help her navigate the coming difficult middle school years. Highly recommended. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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