Interview

How To Parent Teenage Boys: A Review

10 August 2009

Review by BRIGITTE ROZARIO

 

COOL BOYS SUPER SONS

By Jamilah Samian
Publisher: Truewealth

This book is for parents with teenage boys. Its purpose is to help parents learn how to motivate their teen boys to strive for their best at home, in school and in their personal/social lives.

Jamilah Samian, the author of Cool Mum Super Dad, discusses various issues in this book such as trust, accountability, communication and even what to do with a rebellious teen.

The book is full of anecdotes and real-life examples. Most of all the author offers a lot of food for thought.

For example, boys love to be challenged and this will sometimes be reflected in the strength of their ambition. That would be a good gauge for his success in life when he grows up. While it is great for parents to challenge their teenage sons, they should be wary of presenting challenges that are too easy or too difficult for their children.

I found the chapter on trust thoroughly interesting. Jamilah highlights that a teenage son is not going to excel if we as parents don’t trust him enough to let him go and let him learn. Sometimes all he needs is to know that you have faith in him and his abilities.

She also advises parents to give their children another chance if the trust was broken before and to always stay calm in tense situations. The common mistakes that parents make here are jumping to conclusions and becoming intrusive or accusatory because then the child will withdraw even further and it will close down communication.

Actually, I found that the advice in this book can be applied to teenage girls as well. I’m not entirely convinced they work differently when it comes to matters of trust and challenges.

There is a nice chapter in the book that’s all about communication. Jamilah outlines two examples of possible conversations between a father and son when the son says he wants to pursue a future in marine biology.

In the first example, the father pooh poohs the whole idea – after all, what kind of future can you have in marine biology?

In the second example, the father seeks to find out more – why the interest in marine biology, does the son know what a job in this field involves. He seems genuinely interested in what the son thinks.

Of course, the second example is the better one because it opens up communication and allows the child to express himself without feeling foolish. Plus, parents need to know that there are a whole lot of jobs in the world now – many more ways that people can earn a decent income. The era of just choosing between being a doctor, teacher, engineer and lawyer is over.

In the chapter on personal accountability, Jamilah gives examples of how parents can offer encouragement and not lay the guilt trip on their teenage sons.

There are also some tips on how to get your son to be more organised.

Of course, everything in this book requires more patience on the part of the parents. It’s quicker to just scold your child and call him a slob as opposed to sitting down with him and saying, “Let’s see how we can sort out your room.”

Something I learnt from this book:

Studies reveal that teens tend to get better grades in school when parents stress independence over obedience, involve them in the decision-making and react encouragingly towards their academic performance and habits.

What does this mean? Your son is more likely to work harder if he knows you expect and trust him to do his work instead of reminding him often to do his homework.

There are even chapters on sex education, single parents, stepparents and the home environment.

The chapters are peppered with at-a-glance information – think about it, action points and in a nutshell – which make it easy for you to read if you want to quickly skim through that chapter or want to remember what you read.

Overall, I’d say this is a good book for parents – not just for those who have sons. It offers examples, interesting information and lots of food for thought.

Sometimes we tend to do things the way our parents did. But the children today aren’t anything like the children of the past so you do need to get better and more up-to-date ideas on parenting especially when it comes to teens.

Parenting teens takes ingenuity, skill and intelligence – you need to be two steps ahead of them and this book gives you lots of ideas on how to do it.

Recommended for all parents.

 

About Jamilah Samian

Jamilah has written 540 articles.

Jamilah Samian is an author and speaker.

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