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Publishers WeeklyIn three previous books, Kutner, a psychologist and columnist for Parents magazine, covered the stages of child development, from pregnancy through infancy and the beginning of school. Now, he offers advice on what to do if your child starts smoking, how to handle driving, putting the brakes on overspending for the prom and how to offer guidance about jobs and college. Kutner reminds parents that teens, though on the cusp of adulthood and often rebellious, still need and want firm limits. Don't abdicate your authority, he warns: 'Your child has to learn to live with the fact that the two of you can disagree but that you're still the parent.'
Appearance and embarrassment, two teen obsessions, are covered in detail; Kutner reminds parents that teenagers are 'convinced that their behavior and appearance is the focus of everyone's attention.' In straightforward style, Kutner also touches briefly on tougher topics like anorexia, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, suicide and talking to teens about sex. To lighten up the procession of advice, most of which is well-worn if also well-put, Kutner throws in examples from his own childhood and psychology practice, reminding readers by example that a sense of humor is a sine qua non of dealing with teens: 'Falling in love for the first time and obtaining a driver's license are perhaps the two most profound events in an adolescent's emotional development.'