Thursday, August 02, 2007

Review: Good Discipline, Great Teens

Good Discipline, Great Teens, by Dr. Ray Guarendi,
2007, Servant Press, 167 pages, Softcover.

In his latest book, Dr. Ray Guarendi offers more of his time-tested advice (Discipline That Lasts a Lifetime 2003, You're a Better Parent Than You Think 1985, DVD 2006) on raising children, but this time with a focus entirely on the teenage years. In question and answer format, Dr. Ray discusses teens and jobs, driving, dating, disrespect, sibling struggles and more. He asserts early on that "[my] impression, becoming stronger the longer I am a psychologist, is that modern day teen turbulence is more cultural than developmental." He sees the typical "faced-paced go-go, get-get, do-do, have-have" lifestyle of today's teens as a "recipe for friction", and reminds parents that keeping their standards high will "not only make for great adults someday but also for more pleasant kids along the way."

Dr. Ray is the father of ten children, and includes family conversations in his book. (A personal favorite of mine is when he tells his teens, "Sixteen is the minimum age at which the state tells me I can think about you driving. It is not the age it must happen.") He also lightens up difficult topics with his trademark humor -- "A.J." wants to use the car and "Sting" asks to go to a rock concert -- giving parents a reason to smile when they may want to scream. Finally, he knows our struggles, as when he says,
Parents used to instinctively expect to be challenged by their kids, especially in judgments of how fast one should grow up. What is quite different these days is that you are almost as likely to be questioned by your peers.
This book is full of wisdom for those parents who want to continue helping their children to grow in virtue throughout their teen years. In the author's words:
It's up to us parents to have the strength to bring out our kids' natural best and not to permit the worst to rule. Then we can honestly say to the shock of others, "I really like these teen years."
All of Dr. Ray Guarendi's books, DVD, and tapes are available at his website:

Reviewed by Mary Zelinski (8-2-07)

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