Teen Stages:The Breakthrough Year-By-Year Approach To Understanding Your Ever-Changing Teen

Teen Stages:The Breakthrough Year-By-Year Approach To Understanding Your Ever-Changing Teen

by Ken Mellor


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Teen Stages is a breakthrough in understanding the teen years, and a must-have for parents looking to help their child make the best of their adolescence.

Any parent can tell you that a 13-year-old is as different from a 16-year-old as Jekyll is from Hyde. So why do we talk about "teens"—and give advice on raising them—as if they're all the same? No wonder so many parents are frustrated…they don't have the right techniques that speak to their teen at the right time.

Teen Stages is the first guide to each year of a teen's development, giving you tactics specific to the stage your child is experiencing. With easy-to-apply advice, plus helpful activities and checklists you can use right away, you will learn how your child's moods and behavior change as they move through the six stages of adolescence:

  • The Baby
  • The Dissenter
  • The Fledgling
  • The Sweet and Sour
  • The Romantic
  • The World Leader

Once you understand the stage your teen is at, you'll have the keys to understanding why they act the way they do, what they really need, and how to communicate with them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402215292
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 05/01/2009
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,187,723
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ken and Elizabeth Mellor are internationally renowned parent educators, social workers, and psychotherapists who each have more than 30 years experience in working with children and parents, bringing simple parenting techniques to everyday lives. They live in Australia.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter1: Teenager on board

The teenage years are a delight to many parents and other adults. They can see the unfolding miracle of life in the intense aliveness, sprouting bodies, good humor, expanding maturity, and evolving independence in their young people. They like teenagers and celebrate their talents and creativity. These adults take in their stride the ups and downs of dealing with the bursting energy, the vitality, and the challenges. Also, many parents look forward to sharing all sorts of wonderful experiences during this time, both with their co-parents and with their children.

This is not, however, the side of things that we tend to hear and see reported. Generally, we are exposed much more to parents and others who are struggling with or troubled by their teenagers. And given what teenagers often do, this is completely understandable.

The truth is that lots of parents have difficulty coping with the great variety of emotional, practical, and other pressures that arise naturally with teenagers. Many go through years of tension, worry, anguish, anger, fear, frustration, or hopelessness. These feelings arise as they try to manage and care for their teenagers, to keep them safe, and to help them learn to live in the grown-up world.

An unexpected response
Here is a surprise: many parents, even those at their wits' end, do not seek help. Given the level of discomfort caused and how long they endure it, this is remarkable. Naturally, as parent educators, we have wondered about the explanation for this, since help is at hand and so many people could avoid so much discomfort so easily.

Getting help is cool
Many, perhaps most, teenagers put lots of energy into keeping up appearances. It is very uncool for them to show that they are affected by what is going on around them. This might mean hiding their delight, ignorance, upset, confusion, doubt, interest in others, or their problems. At times, some go to enormous lengths to cover up their feelings.

Clearly, they need to get help at these times. This is probably more obvious to us than to them, however, because they are right in the middle of their own feelings and struggles. We could even spell it out for them, if they would listen: "I think you need to express those feelings. You aren't stupid. You're a wonderful person. Also, you need to learn how to take care of what causes the feelings. This only takes simple steps and we can take them together."

Put another way, we are saying, "Your problems can be solved; you're wonderful; you can do it; and I'll help." But it is so uncool for them to show any of this, or even to be upset in the first place, that as parents we may need to act with considerable determination to get through their "barriers." Happily, as we persist sensitively, teenagers generally respond by opening up, learning what they need to, and becoming more relaxed about showing what is going on with them.

This can take years!

The uncool virus
While this kind of resistance is familiar to parents and to adults who have a lot to do with teenagers, there is something that many adults do not know. We can easily catch the uncool virus ourselves from teenagers or other parents. It is highly contagious. Transmission occurs simply through talking and other social contact. And the consequences are potentially serious, both for us and for the teenagers.

Above all, the main symptom is that we do not seek the help we need. In other words, we act like teenagers. So what is the cure?

Seeking help
Somehow, in the midst of our reluctance, embarrassment, uncertainties, self-consciousness, frustrations, fears, doubts, or hopes that things will change for the better very soon, we need to get ourselves to act. We need to be willing to act uncool, so we can solve our problems. Once we have, we will generally realize that seeking help was not as risky as it seemed it would be before we acted.

Fortunately, there are lots of options for finding help, including:

  • books, magazines, newspapers
  • experienced relatives or friends
  • parenting classes and courses
  • movies
  • chatrooms and bulletin and notice boards (on the Internet)
  • whole websites on parenting teenagers
  • professional advice
  • parent advice groups and telephone services.

However, to decide to get help, we need to understand that it is worthwhile. Simply knowing what is available is not always enough. Only direct experience truly works. So, if you need help, we urge you to go and get it, even if it is not easy for you.

Table of Contents


I Teenagers and you
1 Teenager on board
2 What comes next?
3 The switch
4 Becoming young again
5 Brain changes
6 The life cycle and its transitions
7 Why all the strife?
8 Community involvement

II Important issues
9 Staying engaged with your teenager
10 Hostage parents
11 The big secret
12 Safety first
13 Making it easy

III The six stages
14 "Oh, it's just a stage"
15 The baby (thirteen-year-olds)
16 The dissenter (fourteen-year-olds)
17 The fledgling (fifteen-year-olds)
18 The sweet and sour (sixteen-year-olds)
19 The romantic (seventeen-year-olds)
20 The world leader (eighteen- to twenty-one-year-olds)

Epilogue: Three final remarks
Authors' notes
Further reading
Biame Network

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