From the Publisher
"[This book] is written by an experienced doctor, a grandfather figure of sorts. I like his style of writing, it is easy to read and relate to. This isn't really a 'how to' book and I think it is most valuable because it has so many quotes from teenagers themselves, revealing how they really think. Just the way the homeschooling book included so many quotes from actual homeschooling families and students. The book is like a collection of case studies that reveals many great tips on parenting teens. …"
-Anastasia B. Cafe Libri
"This book is a must-read for anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the psychology of teens and the importance of family in their lives."
-Daniel Salinas, M.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Read an Excerpt
My son Rafe was a bright boy with a GPA of 4.00 to prove it. But more importantly, he was street smart. He played trombone in the marching band, and although he had a lot of fun, he never got in trouble. He knew which kids to avoid and where to draw the line between fun and danger. He was the kind of guy you'd like for a friend, yet he didn't seem to have a lot of friends, just a few close ones who did things the same way he did.
"Tell me, Rafe, how do you deal with peer pressure?" I asked one evening during dinner."
"Peer pressure? What peer pressure?" he answered as if I had conjured the term and the problems associated with it out of thin air. Then he looked at me with his deeply set brown eyes and I noticed for the first time how thin his face was. I'd have to keep a close eye on him to be certain I wasn't just fooling myself, that I wasn't missing some terrible ailment befalling this youngster.
"Well, Rafe," I continued, "I see so many kids who smoke and drink and a lot who use drugs, so there must be some pressure for you to do the same. How do you handle it?"
"How do you deal with peer pressure, Dad?"
"I don't have any peer pressure," I replied, not expecting my well-intentioned query to be turned back on me. I was supposed to be asking the questions, not fumbling for the answers. This skinny kid is sounding smarter than I am, I thought, and I'm supposed to be teaching him and reassuring myself.
"Sure you do," Rafe said. "I work at the Country Club and I see some of the doctors you work with come in every Friday night and drink too much, then get in their cars and drive home. I never see you do that, Dad. Peer pressure is just an excuse to do what you know you shouldn't."
Rafe's revelation was one of those moments that parents dream about but don't really expect to happen. Real life rarely provides clear, moral-building episodes like we used to watch on "Leave It to Beaver" or "The Brady Bunch." It occurred when we were simply having dinner together as a family. Now a sense of urgency surged through me. I need to tell Coach Larsen about this, I thought.
Seven years earlier, when our oldest sons started high school, Coach Larsen and I decided that if we expected our kids not to drink, we shouldn't drink either. We both quit, and at that moment it seemed that the decision was paying off. Still, I wanted to draw my son out further to hear more of what he'd learned from my example and perhaps, just perhaps, what he could teach me, his father.