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Psychologist/author and popular lecturer Taffel (The Second Family) claims that in the postboomer era of parenting, children enjoy unprecedented freedoms. The "Free-est generation," which knows "no bounds," is ensconced in youth and pop culture. But while the peer group seems omnipresent, Taffel believes that parents are just as important as ever. The problem, as he sees it, is that parents need new child-rearing techniques to keep pace with the changing world of their offspring. To that end, Taffel presents various methods to help parents stay "engaged" with their children. While he rightly observes that the generation gap has narrowed (with kids often feeling free to tell their parents just about anything), many parents have become distant, two-dimensional managers of their kids' busy schedules, hesitant to reveal their inner thoughts and opinions, and cowed by their kids' independence. Taffel coaches readers to open up to children in ways that will foster true connection: for instance, he suggests setting enforceable limits, giving only authentic praise and honoring the ways and times when children are most available for conversation. While this generation is prone to high-risk behaviors, Taffel also notes that it's the most philanthropic, and that many kids thrive when encircled by forces of family, spirituality, community and school. Taffel offers parents food for thought as well as practical ways to reconnect with their kids. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.