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Wise Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens

Wise Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens

5.0 1
by Laura S Kastner Ph.D., Kristen A Russell (Contribution by)

Raising a happy and successful teenager is a challenge for any parent, even the most patient and wisest among us. Parenting adolescents requires all sorts of skills that most of us don’t naturally possess. In this down-to-earth, practical guide, you’ll learn how to tap your “wise mind” to calmly navigate even the stormiest of parenting


Raising a happy and successful teenager is a challenge for any parent, even the most patient and wisest among us. Parenting adolescents requires all sorts of skills that most of us don’t naturally possess. In this down-to-earth, practical guide, you’ll learn how to tap your “wise mind” to calmly navigate even the stormiest of parenting moments. You'll learn how to preserve your loving relationship while encouraging progress towards the 7 essentials of happy, healthy teens:

  • Secure attachment to parents
  • Self-control
  • Academic success
  • Social thriving
  • Emotional flourishing
  • Strong character
  • Physical health

With humor, wisdom and a deep understanding of the teenaged brain, Dr. Kastner, author of Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens, and Russell provide clear and useful tools for parents, giving them effective new ways to manage their own emotions in the heat of the moment  with their teen while maintaining — and even gaining — closeness.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Wise-Minded Parenting

Wise-Minded Parenting is such a welcome resource for parents who want to understand what really works to build success in teens. The authors go way beyond the usual parenting tips to describe cutting-edge research on such topics as self-control, academic performance, and mindsets. And they provide simple, down-to-earth strategies. How rewarding to see scientifically-proven practices given to parents where it can do so much good!”
Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
Lewis & Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Stanford University
Author, Mindset: How You Can Fulfill Your Potential

“This book is a guideline for how to stay in wise mind with your child—a difficult task indeed. When parenting, staying out of extreme emotion mind is both of the essence and extremely difficult. Thank heaven for this book, which gives step-by-step instructions on how to get into and stay in wise mind.”
Marsha Linehan, Ph.D.
Professor of psychology and adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington

“It’s very easy as a parent to lose your mind just when you need it the most. This wonderfully thoughtful, wise, and comprehensive guide maps out the latest research and knowledge about what our tweens and teens need to thrive, and, most importantly, offers us much-needed practical strategies for acting and responding more mindfully and effectively throughout this rich and challenging period, helping us to maintain our deep threads of connection with [our children] as they come to build trust in themselves.”
Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Authors, Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting

This is such an amazingly useful book for parents of a teenager. It gives you realistic dialogue that fails, and the retakes that make these dialogues work. First of all, what defines a great conversation with a teen may surprise many parents. Second of all, Kastner teaches you the specific skills and the general wisdom to guide your teen through adolescence, and stay emotionally connected throughout. This is a great book—a must read for all parents.”
John M. Gottman, Ph.D.
Author, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child

“Wise-Minded Parenting is one of those rarities in the world of parenting guides: a thoughtful and practical resource that is grounded in the scientific study of child development and parent-child relationships. I recommend it enthusiastically.”
Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology at Temple University
Author, The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting and You and Your Adolescent

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Read an Excerpt

Wise Minded Parenting

Mastering the Seven Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens and Teens
By Laura S Kastner

Parent Map

Copyright © 2013 Laura S Kastner
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780983012856

Chapter 1
Scene: It’s dinnertime on a school night, and just as you put food on the table, your teenager hits you with a request.
Kate: I need to go to Jen’s after dinner. Can you take me?
Mom: Wait—I thought you had a huge math test tomorrow. You need to stay home and study.
Kate: Mom. I’m ready for the test. Jen’s upset. She needs me.
Mom: I’m sorry about Jen, but studying comes first. You’re staying home. And you know we have a no-socializing rule on school nights anyway.
Kate: You never liked Jen! I hate your stupid rules! You are such a mean mom!
Mom: Mean? After all I do for you? I’m just trying to keep you from failing math.
Kate: I’ll fail it anyway. You’re ruining my life.
Sound extreme? Maybe not, if you’ve got a full-blown teenager living in your house. Communication breakdowns like this one are all too common during the late tween and early teen years, and they can be baffling, frustrating, and even frighteningly explosive at times. Where did this exchange take a wrong turn? How did this mother and daughter, who actually both want the same things—good math scores and a healthy social life—end up so at odds? What strategy could the wise-minded parent employ to reach a more satisfying outcome?
If you live with an older tween or teen, you’ve probably already noticed: Your darling child is morphing into something new—something at times strange and wonderful, but also sullen, self-absorbed, and occasionally, downright rude. If your child is still in their pre-teen or tween years (usually ranging from nine to fourteen years of age), know that it’s probably coming, if it hasn’t already arrived. Some days will be fine; on others, you may wonder if you even like each other anymore. At those times, it might be hard to imagine how you’ll ever again feel a connection to this sulking ball of hormones and attitude. Is all of this frequent conflict—and your mounting frustration with your child’s behavior—doing permanent damage to your relationship? How can you keep communication flowing and your once loving connection strong through the turbulent teen years? And does it really matter to your child’s future success if you don’t?
Why Attachment MattersMaintaining a warm, loving bond with your child certainly does matter, and not just because those glimmers of fond connection provide welcome relief during stormy times. A secure attachment is crucial to your child’s future success in all kinds of measurable ways. Tweens and teens who share a strong mutual bond with their parents are better adjusted socially, get better grades, are less likely to use alcohol and drugs . . . the list goes on, and the research backs it up (Cassidy & Shaver, 2008). Secure
Chapter 1 continued:

Wise-Minded Parenting 101 - For help handling the tough and emotionally-laden times with teens, parents can utilize some of the concepts and techniques of an evidence-based treatment approach called “Dialectical Behavior Therapy” (DBT). Developed by University of Washington psychology researcher Marsha M. Linehan, DBT combines common cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotional regulation with elements drawn from Buddhist traditions of acceptance, tolerance, and mindfulness. While Linehan developed DBT in research with adults, many individuals have translated its principles for working with children, especially for those who experience intense emotions (Harvey & Penzo, 2009).
The word “dialectical” refers to the crucial process by which we examine opposing truths in an effort to reach a deep understanding of a principle, a feeling, or a dynamic. For instance, we love our family members, but they often frustrate us, make us mad, and leave us feeling awful. To understand the truth of intimacy, we need to examine the ways in which we love, cherish, and adore our families, even as we can feel furious, befuddled, or trapped. Remember the ancient philosophers Socrates and Plato? Dialectics is what they were doing in all those amazing dialogues—and what happens in the best classrooms and dinner conversations! We want our kids to become critical thinkers, and this is one of the ways it can be developed (more on the “Socratic Method” in chapter 4).
One of the most important dialectical principles to understand and embrace is the “acceptance/change” principle: In order for you to help your children change, you must first accept them unconditionally. Think how often we react to our child (in mind, mood, or words) with “I love you, but….” Even though children need to mature, learn new behaviors, and change old ones, they first need to feel they are accepted. Change evolves from the bedrock of acceptance.

In order to help my children change, I must first accept them unconditionally.
Here are some important DBT principles that can help parents learn to practice acceptance:

  1. Your child is doing the best he can at this moment in time. Parents who accept this truth can move the child along toward change in the future.
  1. Your child needs to do better, try harder, and be more motivated to change…but that will result from your skillful handling of his extreme emotions and behavior.
  2. Your child wants to make things better. Children naturally seek approval from their parents and are happier when they master challenges.
  1.  Your child must learn new behaviors and take responsibility for coping in difficult situations. And she will, as she matures and you skillfully work with her.
  1. Family members should take things in a well-meaning way, and not assume the worst Negative reactivity is normal, but it’s not usually helpful.
  1. There is no absolute truth. Think about how often you argue over the truth with your child. He may say, “You never let me do anything.” Or maybe, “You always take my brother’s side.” You have a choice: You can argue—and have a power struggle—or avoid an argument and say nothing. Even better would be saying something that validates his intense feelings and opinions right now. Arguing over the truth usually exacerbates conflicts when people are extremely emotionally upset.
The “wise mind” is a concept Linehan developed to emphasize the effectiveness of combining thinking processes (the “reason mind”) with emotional regulation (the “emotion mind”) to produce intuitive, effective ways of handling distressing situations.
To be wise-minded, you harness the quiet empathy that comes with a deep understanding and acceptance of emotions, both yours and your child’s, and then integrate that empathy with reason for a balanced response. This dynamic combination allows parents to come up with wise, discerning, and--best of all--effective strategies for handling any given conflict or situation with their child.
The wise-minded parent moves beyond reason mind, which processes and responds to the mere facts of a situation. For example, the facts of the scenario at the beginning of the chapter are: Kate has a math test. The parents have a no-socializing rule for school nights. Kate is being extremely rude. If she goes to Jen’s, she won’t study as much. The mother also knows, or should know, that kids feel very intensely about their friends at this age. Basing her response on the facts alone—accurate though they are—discounts how this Kate feels, hinders empathy, and significantly reduces Mom’s effectiveness as a parent.


Excerpted from Wise Minded Parenting by Laura S Kastner Copyright © 2013 by Laura S Kastner. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Laura S. Kastner, Ph.D., is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington. A psychologist and mother of two, she writes and lectures widely on adolescence and family behavior. With Jennfier Wyatt, she co-wrote The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting Senior Year to College Life and The Seven Year Stretch: How families Work Together to Grow Through Adolescence.

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Wise Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I am such a more confident and relaxed parent with the help of Wise Minded Parenting. With the help of this and her previous book, Getting to Calm, Kastner has provided my 'reference manuals' for maintaining a warm and loving relationship with my sons as they grow into healthy men." ............... Calm and Wise Minded in California