8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter: And Other Tips from a Beleaguered Father (Not That Any of Them Work)


W. Bruce Cameron is the Dave Barry of modern family life. (John Temple, Editor & President, Rocky Mountain News)

It seems to happen overnight. One minute your daughter is wearing bunny slippers and demanding bedtime stories. The next minute, she's wearing a midriff-baring tee shirt and demanding the car keys. In 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, humorist W. Bruce Cameron takes us blow by blow, shriek by shriek through the process of raising teenagers, an ...

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W. Bruce Cameron is the Dave Barry of modern family life. (John Temple, Editor & President, Rocky Mountain News)

It seems to happen overnight. One minute your daughter is wearing bunny slippers and demanding bedtime stories. The next minute, she's wearing a midriff-baring tee shirt and demanding the car keys. In 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, humorist W. Bruce Cameron takes us blow by blow, shriek by shriek through the process of raising teenagers, an experience he says is similar to "blunt force trauma." It's a survival guide written by a man who has lived among teenagers and has the credit card bills to prove it.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
W. Bruce Cameron has two teenage daughters, and parents everywhere know that means trouble. From surviving his oldest daughter's first driving lesson to chaperoning (um, spying) at a high school dance, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter is a must-read for anyone who has been on the receiving end of a teenage girl's torturous behavior.

Parents and teenagers alike will chuckle at the familiarity of Cameron's stories, especially his dating rules: "The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: places where there are beds, sofas or anything softer than a wooden stool; places lacking parents, policemen, or nuns;... places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose-down parka zipped up to her chin." It's enough to make parents long for a return to the days of bunny slippers or pigtail-hair, and Cameron knows that all too well.

Some of the funniest sections are Cameron's observations about his daughters' clothing choices: "The heels you wear look like they were designed by the Society for the Promotion of Ankle Sprain. Watching you wobble atop your rickety platforms, I understand why you want me to buy you a car -- you're certainly not going to be able to walk anywhere." And every parent can identify with Cameron's trauma, as his oldest and most nightmarish daughter resists learning how to change a flat tire (according to the author, it somehow involves magic eggs from the country, axe murderers, and dead cell phones). 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter shows how you can laugh out loud along with the author through your daughters' teen years. (Soozan Baxter)

Denver Rocky Mountain News
"W. Bruce Cameron is the Dave Barry of modern family life."
—John Temple, Rocky Mountain News
People Magazine
"The talk of parents nationwide."
From the Publisher
"The talk of parents nationwide."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761126331
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/4/2002
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 367,079
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

W. Bruce Cameron makes his home in Santa Monica, CA.

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Read an Excerpt

A Father's Guide to the Impossible

Studies show that the world population of teenagers is on the rise, and I'm convinced that every single one of them comes over to my house after school to eat my food. (My wife ignores my instructions and actually spends money trying to satisfy these adolescent appetites, which is a bit like trying to warm a winter day by turning up the heat and opening your windows.)

Anyway, the world is positively teeming with teenagers, and as long as people continue to think about starting a family, the trend is likely to continue. This is not my fault. I am only willing to accept the blame for the ones that my wife caused and have taken educational measures with her to make sure it doesn't happen again. But if I am, indeed, surviving the experience, perhaps I can share with you some of the knowledge I have so painfully gained over what has been more than half a decade of tears, hormones, and stress fractures. If you've had a baby, or are engaged in breeding, I will tell you what you have to look forward to. If it's been about a dozen birthdays since you brought home that darling little bundle of girl baby, I am willing to explain the skills and tactics you will need to make it through the next eight years with a minimum of trauma.

Having a child mutate into a teenager is a bit like being an airline passenger who must suddenly takeover for a stricken pilot and land the plane. And in this case, the passengers are all yelling, "I hate you! I hate you!" and slamming the door to the cockpit.

With a book like this-an "owner's manual," if you will-you may learn enough to make it to the airport safely. Otherwise, you might as well go back and finish watching the movie with everybody else.

The Gathering Storm

First things first: Let's diagnose the situation. Just because your blood pressure is so high you swear other people can hear it doesn't mean you're suffering from teenager-your daughter might be a "preteen," which is sort of like having a tornado before a hurricane hits. Here's a checklist that you can use to confirm your worst fears.

Warning Signs That You May Be Living with a Teenager

- Your phone is always busy, so you put in a second line and it's always busy.

- Your gas tank is always empty and your laundry basket is always full.

- While you've generally been in favor of them up until now, suddenly "Miracle Bras" seem like a really bad idea.

- You realize it's been more than a year since you haven't had to pay a late fee when you rent a video.

- Your car insurance suddenly costs more than your car.

If you are experiencing some of the above warning signs, do not panic. Follow the advice contained in this book and remain focused on your goal, which is to get the teenagers moved out of the house before they breed and the whole cycle begins again. (Some sociologists decry the loss of the "generational home," where grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren all live under the same roof. I've never heard such nonsense in my life.)

Remember, you can get through this. Your parents did, which is why they always start laughing when you call to explain to them how impossible it is to live with teenage daughters. (If, as they are choking through their hilarity at your expense, they claim that your child's behavior sounds "just like you at that age," hang up immediately. Not only is this completely ridiculous, but if you allow your parents to express this thesis, they will become obsessed with the idea, and that's all you'll hear for the next decade.)

I Need You, Leave Me Alone

When children are young, dads regard themselves as giant shock absorbers, there to protect the family from the ruts and bumps on the road of life. But gradually, the role of the father evolves. You begin to see yourself as more like a coach, running your children through practice drills so they'll be better prepared when they have to go out and play the real game. Life's a contact sport, dads will argue, so a few non-fatal bruises along the way merely toughens the body and steels the soul. If a daughter fails to save enough money to purchase a homecoming dress, why, then, she doesn't get a homecoming dress! (Naturally, no one else in the family agrees with this.)

There are a few exceptions to this now-is-the-time-to-experience-some-of-life's-pitfalls philosophy: some calamities, such as teenage boys, are viewed as still too dangerous for your daughters in all but the most controlled of situations. And these are the very experiences your daughters will most crave, thrusting the father/daughter relationship into a series of battles that can be summed up as the father saying, "I can't help you out of every unfortunate situation you get yourself in to. You need to do things on your own now, except for when I don't want you to."

On the other side of the battle zone, your daughter is saying, "I don't need your advice. I don't want your rules. I am an adult. I am completely independent. I need money for lunch."

Now What?

Having a teenage daughter puts you in what is commonly referred to as a "punting situation." However, there is no receiving team on the field, so you're going to have to carry the ball yourself. It's not going to be easy - in fact, I'm pretty sure it's impossible. But no one else is going to do it: you've got to, you're the father.

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Table of Contents

A Stiff Dose of Reality (1)

The Gulf of Communications (13)

The Relationship (or Lack Thereof) Between Allowance and Chores (31)

The Telephone (49)

Field Observations (65)

Crime and Punishment (85)

Unauthorized Physical Changes (111)

Feeding Your Teenage Daughter (130)

The High-Tech Teenager (152)

Prohibited Teenage Fashions (172)

It's Her Part and I'll Cry If I Want To (195)

Learning to Drive (210)

There Are Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter (229)

The First Job (250)

The Boyfriend (267)

The High Cost of Higher Education (289)

Acknowledgments (316)

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2008


    I havent read the book but i love the show i cant wait to read it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2003

    greatest book EVER!!!

    8 Simple Rules is a great gift idea, and one of the funniest things i have read! i loved the show, love the book! a must read for all you teenage daughter parents out there! you'll be lying on the floor laughing by the time you're done!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2003

    Way better than the TV show!

    I picked this up because I'm a fan of the show, but this is ten times better! I laughed so hard I had to stop reading until I was alone. Hilarious and wonderful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2003


    You will NEVER read a funnier, more realistic, educational book than 8 Simple Rules! This is a MUST READ for BOTH parents who have daughters! The younger your kids are, the more important it is to read this NOW, but it's never too late if you already have teenager daughters!!! BUY THIS BOOK NOW! We always buy this book to give as gifts and EVERYONE we've given it to has agreed it's the BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN! You will too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2003

    Fun Fun Fun

    Very funny book! Great for scaring my daughter's boyfriend away

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2003

    I love it!!!

    AAH! This book is AMAZING! Even my dad liked it! This book is HILARIOUS, and being a teenage daughter myself, I realize that it describes almost exactly the way I act towards MY dad! (And also the way my dad acts towards me) It's the GREATEST. I love the way he words things...making it sound complicated, but I can still understand it. I must have read this book at least 30 times! If I was the father of two teenage daughters, I would totally use this book as a guideline on how to handle them...no joke! But, I'm not the father of two teenage daughters, so for now I'll use the teenage daughters' behavior as a guideline about how I should be towards my dad (even though I have already been doing this for the past three years.) Please, if you see this book in a store, BUY IT. It is TOTALLY worth your time!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2002

    W. Bruce Rules!

    An excellent sendup about the challenges of parenting in American adult-contemporary life. It's also funny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2002

    You Don't Need Teenage Daughters to Enjoy This Gem

    I am in pain after laughing my way through this book. Bruce Cameron has a appreciation and a knack for providing laughs through the teenage daughter experience. Because I have two teenage daughters, the book hit home and made me hoot out loud! It described my daughters and my experiences to a 'T,' so much that I thought Bruce was writing about me. Anyway, this is a true treasure of a book, and it should go down as a parenting classic. However, don't expect tips. Bruce is way ahead of you. When you have teenage daughters, nothing works. Not even spraying them down with a hose. But don't forget, you are the father (hint: read the book).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2001

    Dave Barry - Move Over

    You will want to get this book and keep it handy. Reread it over and over just to feed the soul with laughter. Little things we over look is brought to life inside the pages of this jewel. THANKS CAMERON!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2001

    L O L

    I am hiccupping with laughter! Mr. Cameron has captured beautifully (and with hilarity) the angst of teenage girls and their bewildered male parents. This wonderful book will be my Father's Day gift to my dad, who raised (survived?) four daughters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2001


    This book is a MUST READ commentary to any father who has survived the insanity, the stress, the joys, and passionate determination of raising a teenage daughter....for any mother who lived with a driven, totally protective and out of control father...and for any teenage daughter who endured the years of a father's attempt at preserving her purity while at the same time creating havoc, embarrassing exhibitions and total mayhem within the walls of the family while he assumed the role of protective father. As I reluctantly read the final page of this incredible testimony to this father's ludicrous, mildly insane and hilarious antics, all in the name of being a good and responsible father, I was saddened to be leaving the events that had unfolded in this wonderful book. I thought about the man who loves his daughters with such a passion that his entire life had been devoted to their protection. I thought about the hilarity of how life with this man on a mission to compel and monitor his daughters' purity until they reached well into their Senior Citizen years, must have generated constant attempts by the otherwise perfectly normal Cameron daughters to flee this maniacal menace in father form. I thought about my privilege of experiencing the side splitting laughter and abundance of hysterical tears over the last few days while reading this commentary to love in it's most deranged and compulsive form of life experiences of this father's attempt at raising and controlling two teenage daughters. I felt sincere sympathy AND total empathy for the daughters and their tribulations while attempting to raise and ignore whenever possible, a manic, obsessive, and totally out of control father. I then thought about the tears that uncontrollably flowed down my face when I became a silent witness to his emotions when his oldest daughter kissed his cheek as he reluctantly gave her the independence of womanhood the day he deposited his 'little girl' into the hands of college life, and a li

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2001


    The feelings from page one are saturated with compelling, tender, gut wrenching hilarity, and warmth. This is a 'feel good' kind of book exploding forth with emotions of experiencing first hand the worry, passionate love, driven devotion, and slightly insane protection that this father felt for his daughters as they attempted to live a normal teen life despite his constant interference, meddling, awkward intrusion, embarrassing attendance, ridiculous implications, and bizarre behavior throughout their teenage years. Thank you W. Bruce Cameron for making me feel so good inside. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity of sharing this wonderful story of life during the teenage years with your daughters. Thank you for causing my sides to ache from laughing so hard as I walked through each and every hilarious page.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2001

    Way To Go Bruce

    Bruce Cameron is a funny man. He also has two beautiful daughters who will not be speaking to him for awhile. That is a positive experience for some fathers. It means that there will be no requests for funds, more clothing, a car, or a larger bedroom. A little girl loves her dad. She barely tolerates him during her teenage years. However, that eventually changes. After marriage, she will discover that 'the old man' ain't so bad after all. This book should be read by all fathers with teenage daughters. It may not solve your problems. However, there might be some comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

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