A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens: Talking to Your Kids About Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out


Turn back the clocks! Your sweet child has morphed into a teen. And it's no longer just a messy bedroom or an attitude with a capital "A" causing concern. There's a whole new range of issues on the horizon.

What if your daughter texts a naked picture to a "boyfriend"...which he then forwards to the entire class? What if your son becomes increasingly withdrawn...Or your child is being bullied online? Would you know what to do? You could read a whole book on teen psychology--but ...

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A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens: Talking to Your Kids About Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out

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Turn back the clocks! Your sweet child has morphed into a teen. And it's no longer just a messy bedroom or an attitude with a capital "A" causing concern. There's a whole new range of issues on the horizon.

What if your daughter texts a naked picture to a "boyfriend"...which he then forwards to the entire class? What if your son becomes increasingly withdrawn...Or your child is being bullied online? Would you know what to do? You could read a whole book on teen psychology--but who has the time! As a parent, what you need most is quick and candid advice for dealing with the issue at hand. After all, if you say the right thing you will open up the lines of communication, but say the wrong thing...and WATCH OUT.

A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens is the solution. Covering a broad range of issues from the terrifying (sex, drinking, drugs, depression) to the frustrating (defiance, laziness, conformity, entitlement), parenting expert Joani Geltman approaches each of the 80 topics with honesty and a dash of humor. Want to understand why teens do what they do? Joani reveals what they are thinking and feeling--and what developmental factors are involved. She then explains how to approach each problem in a way that lets your kid know you "get it" and leads to truly productive conversations.

From lying to sexting to falling grades, the teenage years can be an uphill battle. Here is the no-nonsense guide you need to get your teen talking, listening, and back on track.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Like a good horror movie, this book begins with pedestrian problems: your teen won’t get up in the morning; your son won’t tell you what’s bothering him. By the time the author starts listing “icky” websites like Chatroulette and Ask.fm, where a teenager may be doing a striptease for a total stranger, the parenting horrors have begun. Though the book may freak some parents out, it helpfully prepares parents for situations that didn’t exist before smartphones and social networking. (The author even cautions against buying your teen a smartphone at all). Geltman encourages parents to over-supervise teens, whether it’s triple-guaranteeing that parents are home during every teen gathering, monitoring texts and computer activity, or keeping “a tally of all the money you give to your teen” as a way to teach money management. She peppers her text with real-life tragedies of parents who allowed their teen and his friends to drink at home, or a boy who forwarded his girlfriend’s naked photo to friends and was charged as a sex offender. In other words, she gives parents the ammunition, information, and permission to meet these parenting challenges with open eyes and firm resolve. Agent: Lauren Galit, LKG Agency. (May)
From the Publisher

“If you, or any you know, are the parent or relative of a teen, this book is for you.” --Work & Family Life

“…gives parents the ammunition, information, and permission to meet these parenting challenges with open eyes and firm resolve.” --Publishers Weekly

"It's like having my very own ‘therapist’ on my night table, to give me advice any time I need it."--Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

“…book you'll keep in your night stand, or in the kitchen drawer, or in your purse (because we've all had those days, am I right?).” --BlogHer

"Every time I hear a friend tells me that their kid is ‘driving them crazy’, I recommend this guide!” --Care’s Online Book Club

"It’s a great and informative read that you won’t regret if you have or will soon have a teen in your home." --Mom on the Side

“Parents of teens needing a supportive, insightful guide to help them through the pitfalls of their child’s toughest years should take a look at A Survival Guide…" --The Sun Daily

“..Geltman’s advice will arm you with knowledge and tools that you can use to better understand and parent your teen. I highly recommend it.” --Mother Daughter Book Club

“The book is honest, open and frank and really allows any parent to understand the issues at hand.” --Dad of Divas’ Review

"The book is easy to understand and written with an appropriate level of humor....If you have a teenager, or a child who will soon be there, it's definitely worth getting!" --Motherhood Moment

"...a valuable guidebook filled with humor and advice that all parents should read regardless of how old their kids are...” --Twin Cities Frugal Mom

"This is truly a fantastic book for mothers with children at any age." --Power of Moms

“One of the five best books for parenting teens…This book is awesome for parents having trouble opening those ever-clogged lines of communication with their teen.” --Tampa Bay Parenting

“Whether it is drinking and drugs to motivating a ‘quitter’ teen, this book has it all… Pick up A Survival Guide To Parenting Teens today.” --The Baby Spot

“…power-packed resource for parents and caregivers who need a little help (or want to prepare in advance for) parenting their teens well.” --The Homemade Creative

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814433669
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 5/7/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 185,314
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

JOANI GELTMAN has a Masters degree in Social Work, and is an expert in child development and parenting. She presents her popular course, Adolescent Psychology, to schools and community groups, hosts Ask the Expert gatherings for parents, and provides home-based parent coaching services.

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Read an Excerpt


Help! I’m sick and tired of fighting with my teen about getting out of bed every morning!

Help! That attitude has to go! I’ve taken away the cellphone, the computer, and the Xbox, but he doesn’t seem to care what he loses. He’s still rude!

Help! My teen is on Facebook 24/7. Can’t she just read a book for a change?

Help! I just picked up my teen’s cellphone and OMG I can’t believe what I read!

I get messages like these all the time from desperate parents anxious for answers to the daily hassles they experience with their teens. Which is why I wrote this book. When you’re in a crisis with your teen—whether it’s a blowup between the two of you that got out of control; school, homework, and grades that have become a daily battle of wills; or frustration over your teen’s cellphone addiction, Facebook use, or video games—you don’t have the luxury of reading a tome on teen development. When you need help, you need help now! A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens is your 911 call. It’s the “Hints from Heloise” of parenting books. You read what you need, when you need it.

This book contains 80 entries, grouped by categories ranging from keeping your teen motivated in school, to dealing with teen “attitude,” to understanding your own parenting style, to social networking, to the classic teen triumvirate of sex, drugs, and alcohol. Each freestanding entry begins with a “Here’s the Problem” section, which lays out a specific issue from your point of view.

The next section, “Why It’s a Problem,” explains what your teen was thinking . . . or not thinking. It provides you with an objective, “take your own emotions out of it for a minute” framework that offers you a perspective other than your own and can make all the difference when you’re headlong into a crisis. Much of your interaction with your teen may feel very personal, but often it has nothing whatsoever to do with you. Nonetheless, when your teen pushes your buttons, it becomes all about you, which is the reason it’s important to take a step back and understand the “why” of it all.

Finally, each entry ends with a “Here’s the Solution” section that gives you a strategy. I tell you what to do, explain how to do it, and give you some ideas as to what to say to resolve the situation.

You can start anywhere. Whatever page you turn to, you now know exactly what you’ll find in that entry: Here’s what my teen’s doing, here’s why my teen’s doing it, and here’s what I can do to make it better. Ahhhh, you sigh, I think I can handle this!

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Table of Contents


Foreword by Ari Graynor



PART ONE Just Tell Me What to Do About . . . Raising a Teen

1 Deflection and Denial: Your Teen’s Main Defense Mechanisms

2 My Teenage Clone: The Power of Conformity

3 Getting Your Teen Up in the Morning: Strategies for Eliminating the Daily Fight from the Morning Routine

4 You Can’t Always Get What You Want: The Demanding and Entitled Teen

5 Too Much Time on Their Hands: The Busier the Teen, the More Motivated

6 The Power of Puberty: Changing Body, Changing Brain

7 L Is for Lazy: Getting Your Teens to Do What You Want Them to Do

8 Trust vs. Temptation: How to Help a Sneaky Teen

9 Lies of Omission: “Oh. I Didn’t Think I Had to Tell You That”

10 Why Don’t Boys Talk? A Different Kind of Silent Treatment

11 My Kid the Quitter: Why Won’t My Teen Stick with Anything?

12 The Parent-Teen Power Struggle: You Can’t Make Me

13 Helping Your Teen with Remembering: You Forgot Your __________ Again?

14 Teen Self-Absorption: My Teen the Narcissist

15 My Teen the Pit Bull: Never Takes No for an Answer

16 The Teen Who Talks Back: The Kid’s Got Attitude

17 The Messy Room: To Clean or Not to Clean

PART TWO Just Tell Me What to Do About . . . Keeping My Teen Motivated and Engaged in School

18 Why Can’t My Teen Do Better? How to Assess Achievement

19 Studying and Learning vs. Texting and Facebook: Strategies for Time Management

20 The Plight of the Homework Avoider: It’s Not Just Laziness

21 The Drama of Exams: A Strategy for Success

22 The Report Card: A Call to Action

23 Summer Reading: Thank You Teachers, for Ruining My Last Few Weeks of Summer

PART THREE Just Tell Me What to Do About . . . Navigating the College Process

24 Senioritis-Parentitis: Surviving the Application Process and Tips for Successful College Visits

25 Eenie, Meenie, Miney Mo, to Which College Should I Go? A Roadmap for Decision Making

26 What to Expect from Your High School Graduating Senior: Letting Go

27 What to Expect from Your College Students When They Return Home

PART FOUR Just Tell Me What to Do About . . .Helping My Teen Avoid the Friendship Traps

28 The Bully Pulpit: Strategies to Ward Off a Bully

29 Loyalty in Teens Can Be Harmful to Their Health: Penn State, a Case Study

30 The Agony of a Ninth-Grade Boy: What It Feels Like to Be the Youngest Boy in the School

31 Teens Who Feel Left Out: “Why Don’t They Ever Call Me?”

32 The Bad Seed Friend: What to Do About the Friend You Wish Your Teen Didn’t Have

PART FIVE Just Tell Me What to Do About . . .Drinking and Drugs

33 Getting to Know Your Teen’s Drinking Personality: What Motivates Your Teen to Drink or Do Drugs?

34 Keeping Your Teens Safe If or When They Choose to Drink: A Successful Strategy

35 The Consequences of Teens Drinking in Your Home: It’s Always Your Responsibility to Keep Teens Safe

36 What Happens When Teens Are Left Unsupervised: A Room-for-Improvement Parenting Story

37 A Chilling Drinking Story: Alcohol and Date Rape

38 Dope, Weed, Pot, Grass, Cannabis, Marijuana, Hemp: They All Spell Trouble

39 Teen-Proofing Your Home for Alcohol and Drug Safety: Looking at Your Home Through a New Lens

40 Party Planning with Your Teen: Commonsense Rules

PART SIX Just Tell Me What to Do About . . .Understanding and Dealing with My Teen’s Sex Life

41 Talking to Your Teen About Sex

42 Boy Wants Sex, Girl Likes Boy: Helping Your Daughter Say No

43 Spin the Bottle and Other Sexual Situations: Strategies for Good Decision Making

44 Keeping Your Teen Dressing Like a Teen: Sexy and the Teenage Girl

45 Finding Your Teen Between the Sheets: Love in the Afternoon

46 Is Your Teen Gay/Lesbian? Discussions on Sexuality

PART SEVEN Just Tell Me What to Do About . . .Online and Phone Sexting

47 The Consequences of Sexting: A “Weinergate” Moment

48 A Teenage Girl’s Painful Lesson: A Private Photo Goes Public

49 Sexual Harassment: Sending Sexy Photos Is Not Always a Choice

50 Skyping, Sexting, and Exotic Dancing: The Allure of a Live Audience

51 The Legal Consequences of Sexting: My Son, the Sex Offender

PART EIGHT Just Tell Me What to Do About . . . Cellphones and Smartphones

52 Cellphone/Smartphone Monitoring: Should I or Shouldn’t I?

53 Dealing with Your Teen’s Cellphone Addiction

54 Does My Teen Text Too Much? If So What Can I Do About It?

55 Driving Distracted: Don’t Let Their Fingers Do the Talking When They’re Driving

56 Teens Losing Sleep: Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Texting

57 Should I Buy My Teen a Smartphone?

58 A Scary Story: The Misuse of Smartphones

PART NINE Just Tell Me What to Do About . . . Social Networking Sites and Applications

59 Teaching Your Teen Safe Posting: The Too-Much-Information Dilemma

60 A “Friending” Intervention: Teaching Your Teen How to “Make Friends” on Social Networking Sites

61 To Give or Not to Give: My Parents, My Passwords

62 Facebook + Alcohol Posts = Problem Drinkers

63 Icky New Social Networking Sites . . . Beware!

64 Facebook Posts That Could Put Your Teen in Jail: Threats That Are Taken Seriously

65 Social Networking and the Stolen Identity: Keeping Your Teens Safe from Other Teens

66 I’ll Give You My Password If You Give Me Yours: Going Steady in the 21st Century

67 Cleaning Up Facebook and Twitter Posts: Preparing Your Teen for the Real World of Jobs and College

68 Online Bullying: Being Made Fun Of Can Really Hurt

PART TEN Just Tell Me What to Do About . . . My Parenting Style

69 Four Ways of Fighting: A Roadmap for Effective Arguing

70 Puh-leez . . . No Lecture

71 Playing the Game of Curfew: “Please Can I? Everybody Else Is” 3

72 Ask Less, Get More: Stop the Interrogation

73 Too Much Love Can Be a Bad Thing: Holding Your Teen Accountable

74 Too Much, Too Soon: Understanding Age-Appropriate Privileges

75 “So What, Who Cares?” Making Consequences Mean Something

76 Teaching Your Teen About Money Management: Curbing the Teen Money Pit

77 I Just Don’t Fit into This Family Anymore: Helping Your Teen to Feel Connected

78 Successful Rule Making: Sharing the Control

79 Good Cop–Bad Cop: A Parenting Dilemma

80 Finding the Bliss with Your Teen: Treasuring the Time


About the Author

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