Field Guide to the American Teenager

Michael Riera, Author, Joseph Diprisco, Author, Joseph Di Prisco, Joint Author
Michael Riera, Author, Joseph Diprisco, Author, Joseph Di Prisco, Joint Author Da Capo Press $25 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7382-0267-9
Paperback - 310 pages - 978-0-7382-0519-9
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Seasoned educators Riera and Di Prisco cover many of the heavy-hitting topics that teens face, including drinking and driving, sexual issues, eating disorders, decision-making, violence and drugs. In fact, as the authors recognize, these issues ""come with the territory of adolescence."" It's not easy being a teen--or the parent of a teen. Riera and Di Prisco use an unusual format to present each issue, employing extended anecdotes and simulated conversations to illustrate each teen dilemma. This method is unique, but it may frustrate parents searching for easy answers; the truth is there are no pat answers when it comes to teens, for ""every teenager is happy and moody and tense and confused in different ways."" Still readers will find intelligent observations about teens; the authors have a solid grasp on what makes adolescents tick. The issue-oriented organization of the text is helpful, though each chapter's attention to the details of a particular teen's problem may leave some readers wishing that more time was spent on a general analysis of the problems all teens confront. The appendixes, which break down teen behavior into developmental characteristics, are particularly useful. The authors' over-riding themes--that parents should influence, not control their teen's life; that teens need to be trusted, guided, and loved--are invaluable for parents facing this challenging time in their child's life. (Sept.)
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