My daughter is nearly twelve and for the last few months our relationship has been deteriorating steadily. She's such a different personality from me that I found my intuition - which has always helped me greatly with my son - was of no use at all. All I knew was that on a daily basis I was failing as a parent and neither of us were having any fun.
Staying Connected To Your Teenager has been extremely helpful in providing some perspective and some useful suggestions. Like many other books of this type, often the greatest benefit comes from stepping back a little and considering events from a slightly new perspective. When I disagree with the author I find myself having to think through my own approach carefully, which is very beneficial. And when the author seems to be on solid ground I feel as if I've been given a key to the door that has until now barred the way between my daughter and me.
As a European I'm still puzzled as to why American teenagers seem to be so much more difficult to handle than teenagers in other cultures. Perhaps it is a combination of an extended childhood, the lack of serious responsibilities, and an entertainment-oriented lifestyle in which if things are not effortlessly fun they are automatically boring. But whatever the underlying causes of American Teenage Malaise, my daughter is 100% American raised and consequently I need to understand how to be a more effective parent in this context. This book has provided me with several useful approaches and has led to me developing several more as a result of thinking through matters in light of the author's observations.
I do wish there was an alternative to the standard American approach to sexuality but the innate assumptions of the author, made explicit, have helped me to understand a little more how US culture sees this area of human activity and therefore, by extension, how my daughter will increasingly see it as she grows up. I may not like it, but I need to understand it and react accordingly, even while I yearn for some way that she could spend a few years elsewhere to round out her understanding and provide a more adult context for this important part of human life.
I can recommend this highly to anyone struggling with the teenage years, even if - as is my case - the children in question aren't even officially teenagers yet.