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Closing the Gap: A Strategy for Bringing Parents and Teens Together

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2001

    Humorous, Helpful Advice for Happier Parents and Teens

    This book will be helpful to both teens and parents. You do not need to have your parents or your teen read the book to get benefit from Closing the Gap. You can simply begin closing the gap from your side. Mr. Jay McGraw (older son of Dr. Phil McGraw of Life Strategies, Relationship Rescue, and Self Matters fame) has done it again! This book is another fine effort in improving communications within families. At age 22, Mr. McGraw is close enough to being a teenager to know what it¿s like and close enough to being removed from the teenage years that he can see the parental perspective. Favoring neither perspective, he is like a matchmaker bringing together two shy people who are in love with one another . . . but unwilling to declare their love. The book opens with a heart rending story of Jennine at age 25. This woman became pregnant as an unmarried teen, dropped out of school, has been a substance abuser, has been married and divorced twice, and is just recovering from a serious automobile accident (among other problems). At a Life Strategies seminar she is attending as a guest of her parents, she turns to her parents and savagely asks, ¿Why did you let me throw my life away when you knew better and I was being a complete moron? ¿Why didn¿t you make me do right?¿ Teens: Do you want to become Jennine? Parents: Do you want your children to ask you these questions someday? To assess how well you are communicating, the book offers a brief quiz for parents about teens for teens about parents. If you are like me, you will find you have some room for improvement! The book is built around the philosophy of win-win negotiating. ¿So, teens: if you want your parents to do what you want, all you have to do is figure out what their needs are and meet them.¿ This must occur within the context of a lot of communication. The number one factor in home life quality is ¿the number of words spoken!!¿ The book explores teen myths (such as ¿my parents don¿t want me to have any fun¿ which often relates to parents wanting their teens to be safe), parent myths (such as ¿a good relationship is a peaceful one¿ underneath which all kinds of problems may fester), teen land mines (such as ¿thinking you are a lost cause¿ when everyone is ready to help you and you probably haven¿t really tried all that hard), dos and don¿ts for parents (such as having a ¿clear boundary between parent role and buddy role¿), and dos and don¿ts for teens (such as ¿look before you leap, but do leap¿ as a way to become more competent). There¿s also a fine section on anger management that teens and parents both need. The book then proceeds to explain how parents and teens can reconnect by deciding what they each want out of the relationship, explaining their own needs, finding out what the other¿s needs are, and working out a plan for reconnecting. The book has some forms that you can use for this purpose. If your parent or teen won¿t fill one out, you can try filling it out for them and showing them the result for comments. The needs described are usually for belonging, security, self-esteem, vocational and artistic expression, love and affection. The book has lots of good suggestions for activities to do together that will encourage conversation (all of those hours together watching E.R. don¿t count!). I was impressed by the advice for helping teens keep the conversation going. Rather than sulking away after being told ¿no¿ teens are encourage to ask an automatic ¿why not?¿ so that they can uncover problems they can solve . . . or at least learn something from the refusal that may help in the future. Although this is a serious subject, I thought that the humor was helpful leavening. Here¿s an example: Mr. McGraw cites that ¿ancient British philosopher Mick Jagger.¿ He also talks about the wisdom of parents who once liked Nehru suits. You can summarize the book as advising teens to explain why what they pl

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012


    Hes doctor phils SON?????Thats sooooooo cool!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2003

    Strategies abound

    Great read that examines the relationships between parents and teens. Super effort pays off big time.

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