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on April 18, 2001
I like the style in which this book is written. Each chapter is self contained, i.e., you don't have to read earlier chapters for any other chapter to be useful. Thus, the book need not be read cover to cover if certain topics are not of interest to you. Each chapter deals with a specific topic such as drinking and driving, motivation, taking responsibility, date rape, eating disorders, etc. Each chapter starts of with a realistic scenario in which a problem dealt with by the chapter is set forth. Then, the authors discuss the general subject matter of the chapter in analytical terms. Finally, the discussion returns to the scenario and how the problems can best be dealt with and resolved.
The scenarios include dialogues between a teen and friends, teachers, parents or others who would play a role in the situation set forth. The authors later analyze how well the subjects of the dialogues handled the situations in the scenario. The book is very readible and the advice is genarally good, albeit not always in the greatest depth. As a parent and a school board of education member, I find the book useful and recommend it.
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on November 16, 2000
As the subtitle indicates, FIELD GUIDE TO THE AMERICAN TEENAGER is all about Appreciating the Teenager You Live With. That's a big concept: Appreciating the kid (not always an easy thing to do when you feel like you're at your wits end). Not dictating behavior or choosing career paths or keeping your kid from harm's way -- as if any of that were even possible by the time s/he's a teenager.
Riera and DiPrisco make it clear that there is no way to 'follow-the-dots' and come up with pat answers to the difficult subjects they tackle. Instead, this beautifully written book presents teens in their natural habitats. Real situations are depicted -- ones that anyone can identify with -- but rather than attempting to proscribe behavior, Riera and DiPrisco discuss each topic and scenario in an insightful section called Notes Home that will surely help parents bring a new slant to their thinking. It definitely opened my mind to new approaches.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with a teen -- or a soon-to-be teen. You won't be disappointed.
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on October 27, 2000
I work with at-risks teens and was looking forward to reading this book. If you're considering it -- don't bother. It simply contains 309 (including index) pages of safe generalizations. For example:
On your teen child(ren) -- page 17: "...you cannot monitor their every activity outside of the home."
On curfews -- page 17: "Curfews are similarly tricky, involving the ways in which kids can be alternately responsible and irresponsible."
"You will sense if they respect the curfew, and you will know if they are taking advantage of your flexibility."
On freedom and responsibility -- page 145: "It would be difficult to overestimate the significance of friends and friendships in the life of teenagers."
"The telephone is a sacred instrument of connection."
On suicide -- page 251: "Most teachers and most parents are not experts and should not try to be."
All in all, I gained absolutely nothing from reading this book and felt insulted that the authors broached sensitive issues without providing useful information. My fear is that teens will use this book as a guide to manipulate their parents, teachers, and educators.
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on October 9, 2000
I work with teenagers and so it is extremely exciting for me when I find a book or people whose dedication, intelligence and true understanding of teens is obvious. I am very excited about this book ,as I am about allof Mike Riera's works.I don't know his co-authors work as well but what I have read here is very impressive. This book is important for parents and for teens because it is time we start listening to those who not only understand this transitional period of life but respect it. These authors do both and as a bonus they make it very easy and clear for us to understand as well. I really can't say enough about how exciting it is for me that there are books like these available for parents of teens. I am a parent of a 15 year old. I don't know what the future holds for us and would never pretend to think I got it all figured out. Far from the truth. BUT< I do have great amazing moments with my son and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is respected and trusted. He has yet to betray that. It is an awesome feeling. Get the book. The respect they have for teens is contagious.
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on November 17, 2000
Many books of this genre fall into the trap of either being too clinical or too cynical. Thankfully, Drs. DiPrisco and Riera provide us with a wonderfully accessible and beautifully crafted inquiry into the American teenager. Having been a teenager once, (if I still trust my memory) I find their insight trenchant. While I cannot claim complete objectivity--I defy anyone who has read either DiPrisco's poetry or Riera's earlier books on teens to remain impartial--I am thankful for their effort and think it a national prize.
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