There are a few things that make me want to lock myself in the closet, however, parenting a teenage girl will do it to me every time. Arden Greenspan wrote What Do You Expect? She’s a Teenager! to help us all survive. In this fifteen-chapter book, there’s advice that will navigate the complex world seemingly ruled by our precious pre-tween, tween and teenage daughters.
Using her 35 years of psychotherapy experience, What Do You Expect? She’s a Teenager! captures the world of mothers and teenage daughters with relevant questions and advice. It’s a book I found captured my heart and soul.
Things have changed since my boys hit their teenage years. Facebook was just coming into light and sexting was not in our vocabulary. Bullying was occasional at school, not online. Of course there were the tried and true parts of growing up: Peers, school, family dynamics, body image, and eating disorders. Greenspan captures the struggle in her chapter, Why is She Like That?, giving a deeper understanding of who and what is needing to be dealt with.
One of the things about this book that I love is the conversation starters and ice breakers. Sometimes subjects seem so taboo, but with these tools, it’s easier to build into the conversation. It also is a great way to gain perspective on topics and handle the conversation effectively.
Greenspan is a lot like me in her no-nonsense, straight-from-the-hip approach. Not only does she have a private practice, but she’s also been there–with two children, now in their 20s.
As the mother to six, I’m just going to tell you, boys are easier than girls. They seem to roll with the punches, while girls in the pre-tween, tween, and teenage years are moody and packed with “girl drama”. Given this, being the mom of a teenage girl is more of a reaction rather than a response. I’ve cried a lot. Conventional wisdom goes out the window and the sass takes over. Greenspan teaches us to thrive as Moms.
I am the oldest of four children–three girls, one boy. My mother survived. We were relatively good kids. Sometimes we shook things up, but we studied hard and lived by our parents’ rules.
Greenspan’s book is a tool box for any parent. Set up like a reference guide, it answers most of the questions my girls or teenage girls of friends have asked–and prepared me for some that might come up. The book is like a conversation, using real life examples. Those who love lists will enjoy the checklists throughout the book and there’s role play. That’s right, Greenspan asks us to put ourselves in the learning role and challenges us to be honest about our relationship with our daughters.