01 Apr What You Can Learn From Your Teenager
In addition to holding a master’s degree in counseling psychology, Jean-Pierre Kallanian spent sixteen years working with at-risk youth in Massachusetts, so he’s had plenty of first-hand experience dealing with teen angst. He also has two sons of his own, so he keeps in practice on a daily basis.
His book, What You Can Learn from Your Teenager: Lessons in Parenting and Personal Growth, encourages parents to step into their teenagers’ shoes to discover the motivation behind questionable behavior. He reasons that all behavior stems from the desire to fulfill basic needs, and a pretty significant need is power. Teens are caught in a precarious spot, teetering between complete parental control and an ever-increasing sense of independence as they learn what power they yield over the world at large.
But What You Can Learn from Your Teenager is aptly titled because it’s less about learning to control your teenager than it is about learning what it means to be a teenager again. It’s amazing how quickly we forget those days as we grow older. Kallanian shows parents how that bit of soul-searching we experience as teens shouldn’t end when we become adults and our children can give us lessons on figuring out what is really important in life.
He provides constructive ways to solve disputes that preserve both parties self-respect and prevent the tirades we so often fall into as parents. It’s so easy to start yelling and assume you’re doing the right thing–just trying to get your point across–when the situation could be handled in a different way that leaves both parent and teen with a positive outlook. His techniques also help to persuade teens to open up and share when there is obviously something bothering them, as well as being better able to detect these instances from a parental standpoint instead of assuming it’s hormones or general sullenness.
There is some sound advice in What You Can Learn from Your Teenager, and every parent can benefit from a reminder of what it’s like to be a teenager. As adults, we become so far removed from those years that we often forget the existential struggle kids are dealing with. The reader will take away some actionable techniques for developing a stronger familial bond and diverting conflict.