Written by, Mark Gregston, the founder and executive director of Heartlight Ministries, and host of Parenting Today’s Teens (subscribe to the podcast), the new book Tough Guys and Drama Queens: How Not to Get Blindsided by Your Child’s Teen Years, is an insightful glimpse into the unique challenges facing parents, tweens and teens in the 21st Century world.  Gregston has over thirty eight years of experience working with teens, and, as such, has a vast repository of touching stories of real-world encounters as well as first-hand knowledge of workable techniques which parents can use to bridge the divide caused by overexposure (chapter 1) lack of connection (ch. 2) lack of respect (ch. 4) loss of gender difference (ch. 5) and the general uncertainty encountered in today’s world.

My Response

The book is written in three sections.  This works organizationally but you have to wade through some dark stuff in sections 1 and 2.  Part one is laden with stories of all that children have to face in today’s world and the litany of things that so easily beset them.  I can’t lie: it’s depressing.  Some of the stories he tells about children, especially young teens, that have gone through Heartlight Ministries, broke my heart.  As a father to two dynamic tweens myself, I couldn’t help but see my little ones in the place of these poor girls.

Part two is devoted to “Parenting Practices to Avoid.”  Honestly, I thought that most of these should be self-evident, but, again, I have to defer to Gregston’s experience on this one.  He has obviously seen them in action enough times to consider them bookworthy.

Part three of the book lists practices that Gregston finds successful.  As with part two, these seemed obvious.  But, at least, this section wasn’t as depressing as the first two.

Now, it may seem like I din’t enjoy this book, but that isn’t the case.  I found it an easy and quick read, and none of the stories seemed overblown or burdened with an overabundance of dramatic license.  The hardest part of the book was understanding the frustration that parents of teens might encounter wishing they had read it while their children were still tweens.  My advice: Get the book anyway!  It’s never too late to start.  Any divide can be bridged and any wound can be healed.  I’m stil naive enough to believe that. I think Gregston is too.

My Rating

Tough Guys and Drama Queens: How Not to Get Blindsided by Your Child’s Teen Years
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0849947294 ISBN-13: 978-0849947292
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches

Buy the Print Version or the Kindle Version

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