November 3, 2014
Debut author Kallanian, a longtime counselor and consultant, offers an upbeat, thoughtful and unique approach to understanding and parenting teens.
In this book, the author’s premise is that parents can themselves benefit from the process of raising, loving and instructing their teens, because the teaching process is a two-way street. He explains that in his 16 years of working with teens (including many at risk), he witnessed a repeated pattern of development, for which he coined an acronym: EPIC—Explore, Play, Inspire and Connect. He describes each of these components in detail, and notes that adults can use and apply these same principles in their own lives. “Teens have answers you are looking for, but you must value their existence, respect their opinion, appreciate what they are trying to achieve, and listen to what they have to say,” he writes. This highly readable work provides some gold nuggets of insight; for example, the author asks parents to put aside the stereotype of the teenage “bad” attitude: “If teenagers wrote books on managing their parents’ emotions and actions, imagine how those titles would read!” He asserts that placing one’s trust and faith in a teenager isn’t a mistake; although kids appear to be bumbling and stumbling their way through many problems and dilemmas, they can also successfully solve them on their own. He says that if parents understand teens’ needs and values, they can better cope with their behavior—or misbehavior—and evolve better communication skills. To that end, the book explores verbal, nonverbal and “paraverbal” communication, boundaries and consequences, and other specific ways to connect with teenagers. It also includes hypothetical conversations with spot-on teenage dialogue, as well as chapter summaries that help to clarify the author’s theories throughout the text.
A sensitive, smart guide to raising teens, which emphasizes love, respect, trust, admiration and empathy. —Kirkus Reviews