Parenting

Between Parent & Teenager (1967) , by Dr. Haim G. Ginott, was published before many of today’s parents of teenagers were born. Ginott, who has been dead for forty years, was a well-known child psychologist and parent educator. His insight was to encourage parents to use the same respectful approach when communicating with their children that counselors use with their patients. The result was this book, and two other classics: Between Parent & Child (1965) and Teacher & Child (1972).

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Seven years after the release of the movie, “Lonesome Jim,” I found it on Netflix. Starring Casey Affleck and Liv Tyler, it’s the story of a man in his late twenties who, after failing to create a life for himself in New York City, returns home to live with his parents while he considers his options.

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Father: “Hey, son. I thought I asked you to clean and put away the tools after you use them.”
Son: “Oh. Right.”
Father: “Well, the tools you used last night are still on the bench. Why didn’t you put them away?”
Son: “I don’t know. I guess I forgot.”
Father: “I told you if you want to use the tools you have to take care of them.”
Son: “Sorry.”
Father: “I don’t want you to be sorry. I want you to take care of the tools. And keep the work area clean.”
Son: “I’ll take care of it.”
Father: “Am I being unreasonable?”
Son: “No, Dad. I’ll put them away. I’ll try to remember next time.”
Father: “I don’t want you to try. I want you to do it. It’s not that hard, son. It’s about being responsible. Now go do what you should have done last night.”
Son: “Okay.”

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These days, a  hot topic for parents: teen brain development. Books have been written about it. Nearly every magazine that a parent might read, including National Geographic, has had an article about it. I have written extensively about it.

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That was then.

This is now.

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