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Surviving Your Child's Adolescence: How to Understand, and Even Enjoy, the Rocky Road to Independence

ISBN: 978-1-118-22883-8
288 pages
February 2013, Jossey-Bass
Surviving Your Child


Expert suggestions for guiding your child through the rough teenage years

Does it sometimes seem like your teenager is trying to push you over the edge? Learn what your child is going through and what you can do to help your teen navigate this difficult period in this practical guide from psychologist and parenting expert Carl Pickhardt. In an easy-to-read style, Dr. Pickhardt describes a 4-stage model of adolescent growth to help parents anticipate common developmental changes in their daughter or son from late elementary school through the college age years.

  • Provides unique advice for dealing with arguing, chores, the messy room, homework, and many other issues
  • Offers best practices for teaching effective communication, constructive conflict, and responsible decision-making
  • Includes ideas for protecting kids against the dangers of the Internet, bullying, dating, sexual involvement, and substance use

An essential road map for parents looking to guide their children on the path to adulthood.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

About the Author xi

Author's Note xiii

Introduction xv

Voices of Parents Past xix

1 Preparing for the Inevitable 1

2 A Road Map to Early and Mid-Adolescence 21

3 A Road Map to Late Adolescence and Trial Independence 49

4 Parenting Adolescent Sons and Daughters 83

5 The Complexities of Spoken Communication 105

6 The Use and Abuse of Confl ict 127

7 Discipline That Does and Doesn't Work 149

8 Informal and Formal Education 175

9 Problems with Peers 197

10 The Power of Parents 227

Epilogue: Climbing Fool’s Hill 249

Recommended Reading 253

Index 255

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Author Information

Carl Pickhardt, PhD, is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years in private counseling and lecturing practice in Austin, Texas. He is the author of fourteen parenting books and writes a weekly blog, Surviving (Your Child's) Adolescence, for Psychology Today. More information about Dr. Pickhardt may be found at www.carlpickhardt.com.

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Psychologist, prolific parenting author (Boomerang Kids) and Psychology Today blogger Pickhardt focuses on helping parents understand the adolescent years, "the age of argument." Pickhardt identifies four adolescent stages, beginning with early and mid-adolescence, and then moving on to late adolescence and trial independence (which ends after the college years). With characteristic clarity and wisdom, Pickhardt walks parents through various ages and stages, explaining how to be supportive, empathetic and accessible while at the same time providing limits and boundaries. He concludes with "eight anchors for adolescent growth," including completing homework, cleaning up one's room, doing household chores, joining in family gatherings, community service, saving money, developing proficiency and relating to salient adults (a counterbalance to the overwhelming influence and "mixed blessing" of peers at this age). He also covers such familiar teen topics as sex, substance use, the Internet, dating, and effective communication. Pickhardt is adept at deconstructing the complexities of the parent/adolescent relationship, pointing out, for instance, that the mother/adolescent daughter relationship is often the most conflicted and intense due to the "double closeness" created by being attached by birth and sexually similar. This witty yet sensible guidebook to the adolescent years will help parents stay steady as their kids negotiate the rocky waters on their journey to independence. (Mar.) (Publishers Weekly, April 2013)

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Press Release

March 11, 2013
Surviving Your Child's Adolescence: How to Understand, and Even Enjoy the Rocky Road to Independence


Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence:

How to Understand, and Even Enjoy the Rocky Road to Independence 

San Francisco, CA – Parents of teenagers often wonder, “Why is my kid trying to drive me crazy?” as their once sweet child begins to be defiant, combative, manipulative and even lazy.  This distinctive change in a child’s behavior often marks the onset of adolescence.  It’s when a child starts to test boundaries and pull away from their parents so that they can have more room to grow.

To explore the impact of adolescence on families, and to help parents cope with this challenging stage in their child’s development, Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist, parenting expert and blogger for Psychology Today, has written SURVIVING YOUR CHILD’S ADOLESCENCE (March 2013, Jossey-Bass,  978-1-118-22883-8), an indispensable guide to understanding and navigating this unique developmental period. 

Publishers Weekly considers SURVIVING YOUR CHILD’S ADOLESCNECE a “witty yet sensible guidebook to the adolescent years will help parents stay steady as their kids negotiate the rocky waters on their journey to independence.”

Yet, despite whatever alarming accounts parents have heard, they aren’t destined to suffer when their child enters adolescence.  In fact, adolescence is a relatively new concept that was developed in the early 1900s to describe the transitional time between the end of childhood and the onset of early adulthood.

In an easy-to-read style, Pickhardt breaks down adolescence into four stages, not only so that parents can anticipate the common developmental changes, but also to illustrate the ways adolescents evolve throughout the years.  Starting from late elementary school through the college years, the four stages are:

  • Early Adolescence (ages 9 – 13) - accomplishes the separation from childhood
  • Mid Adolescence (ages 13 – 15) - establishes an independent ‘family’ of peers
  • Late Adolescence (ages 15 – 18) - experimenting with acting older to get ready to operate more grown up
  • Trial Independence (ages 18 – 23) - to practice taking care of oneself on one’s own

SURVIVING YOUR CHILD’S ADOLOSCENCE also shines a light on the significant ways in which Mothers and Fathers parent differently, and how parents can work with these sex roles to better contribute to their child’s growth.

Pickhardt says, “Mothers and Fathers face different parenting challenges – Mothers often have a hard time letting go and Fathers can have a difficult time staying connected to their kid, especially if they have a daughter.  This issue is often overlooked, but it is vital for parents to know how to both let go and stay connected to their sons and daughters as they move through this transformative period of time.” 

From communication, conflict and decision-making, SURVIVING YOUR CHILD’s ADOLOSCENCE speaks to every aspect of the adolescent experience.  It is the must-have touchstone resource for every parent who wants to protect and guide their child through the journey of adolescence to adulthood’s shores.

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