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Parenting Teens….A Loveable Enigma?

Teenager – When you are too young for half the things you want to do and too old to do the other half. This light-hearted definition of teenagers hits the nail on the head as clearly put forward in the book The Lovable Enigma – Teen Parenting by Devasena Desai, Ph.D. and Brinda Jayaraman published by Indus Source Books. Being a Teenager was never easy… but parenting a teen comes with its own set of challenges, which the book addresses. 

The base of the book is that parenting in the teenage years is extremely stressful for parents as teenagers usually do not confide in their parents and may deal with this important developmental stage in inappropriate ways. They may also pick up bad habits leading to negative consequences. 

‘If you haven’t time to help youngsters find the right way in life, somebody with more time will help them find the wrong way.’

You may ask, “What is new about this? We regularly read articles and see videos about this on social media”. What the authors have done differently in this book is that they have made it an easy and fast read so that even non-readers or busy parents can follow it. 

The book is structured beautifully and divided into 3 broad sections. Every parent dreams of an ‘Ideal’ teen but are they ‘Ideal’ parents? The first section talks about the physiological and psychological changes that teens go through. This is a largely ignored but much needed topic as parents need to understand what the teen is going through. Parents must empathise and be good role models on which children can base their behavior. 

The second section deals with effective communication and the last one on how to motivate teenagers to co-operate with parents. Both these sections consist of practical, day-to-day changes that can be made my parents in their communication and behaviour towards teenagers which will bring about a positive response from the teenager. At the same time, it will make the teenager realise that their parents trust them and will strengthen the emotional bond between them. 

Throughout the book, the experience of both the authors and their clarity of thought comes through in spades. The illustrations support the dialogues well and make the actions more relatable. The focus on parents understanding their teens and changing the way they interact with them is refreshing and does not leave room for excuses. 

What I missed in the book is depth – in trying to make the book crisp and an easy read, it has become very hurried and does not give time for one concept to sink in completely before going on to the next one. The same content is in the written dialogues and illustrations making it repetitive. Apart from these, this is indeed a thought-provoking book about the importance of the parents’ involvement and role in a teenager’s behavior. 

The crux is explained in this sentence of Clark F’s with which the book begins – ‘If you haven’t time to help youngsters find the right way in life, somebody with more time will help them find the wrong way.’  Well, with this book to guide you, parenting teens just became a tad bit easier! 

Bookedforlife Recommends 150 Brilliant Ideas to Keep YOUNG MINDS Fit & Fine by Neeraa Maini Srivastav…a book giving tips to teenagers on some practical aspects of their lives. Would be a helpful resource along with The Loveable Enigma, for parents as well.

Karishma Shah

Karishma Shah is a counsellor, who is passionate about reading books. While she is open to reading a variety of genres, fiction is where her heart lies!