developmental phase of adolescence is often described as a period of
"storms and stress" for teenagers growing up.
They do not want to be treated as children nor are they ready to
assume adult responsibilities. The "neither-or" transition is
marked by rapid physiological changes that greatly impact their
intellectual, social, emotional and moral development. Parents who are
unprepared for the transitional changes are bewildered and panic to search
for answers to fathom how their "bundles of joy" infant,
"cute and adorable" toddlers and "docile and
co-operative" kids have transformed into "demanding,"
"self-centred" and "impossible" teens to handle! (p.
1). Parenting adolescents can
often be a time of "storms and stress" and parents who feel that
they are "losing" their teens can consult Dr Esther Tan's book
to look for principles to guide their ways to "winning" them
book begins with real-life stories to depict the inevitable presence of
conflict between the two generations and the gap exists because of the
"difference in ideas, feelings and interests between parents and
teenagers, often leading to misunderstandings" (p.7).
According to the author, the key to avoiding misunderstandings is
to have both generations communicating with one another to close the
generation gap. That is,
there is communication, there is interaction. Through interaction comes
understanding and bonding which can then lead to mutual acceptance. Thus
parents and teenagers can learn not only to get along, but also to enjoy
each other's company (p.8).
topic of communication is elaborated in chapter 8.
The strong message to parents is the need to equip themselves with
effective communication skills to prevent breakdowns and be creative to
make room for discussion and dialogue with their teens.
The chapter also cautions some of the communication blunders to
avoid or unlearn and it highly recommends the skill of reflective
listening to build a two-way communication to strengthen the relationship
who have firm relationship bond with their teenagers are likely to have a
better understanding to empathize and accept the behavioural changes and
the growing pains of their children entering the adolescence period of
human development (chapter 2). The ability to accept them is to help them
develop a positive self-esteem (chapter 3), to guide them in their
academic pursuits (chapter 6) and to support their career choices (chapter
7). The chapter on "Peer Relationships" calms parents' fear of
being rejected by their teenagers when they "enjoy the company of
their peers more and spend less time with their family" (p. 25) and
gives advice on the "how" to counteract negative peer
influences. Other moral concerns of parents on their teen's relationship
with members of the opposite sex, dating, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse,
eating disorder, bullying and depression are addressed in chapters 5, 10
and 11. Chapter 9 deals with the complicating task of disciplining
each of these chapters, information given are accompanied with examples to
focus parents' attention on the issue involved and practical tips are
listed suggesting how the problem can be handled or resolved. Parents can
use the practical tips to assess their strengths and weaknesses in
understanding and coping with issues in parenting their teens. The
awareness can help to identify the communication skills they are lacking
and to seek ways to improve their parenting role.
author does not claim that communication skills alone are sufficient to
"win" their teens. There must be a strong bond of relationship
between the two generations and the bond should be built in their children
from young. For example, when young people are confronted to choose
between family values and those pressured by their peers, it will depend
on their relationship with their parents. Hence,
is so important to build strong family ties and instil the right values in
your children from a young age so that during such moment of decision-
making, the values of the family would prevail (p.18).
parents should strive to
a close bond with your teenager. When there is bonding in the family,
teenagers are more likely to refrain from deviant behaviour as they do not
want to disappoint their parents
who are lamenting that they have not been diligent in laying a strong
foundation of bonding with their teenagers when they were young need not
feel hopeless. The author has offered numerous suggestions on building
better relationships with them throughout the book and to pay close
attention to the three "Ls" in parenting teenagers in chapter
12. Those parents who are at a lost in handling their teenage children can
contact the different agencies listed in the appendix section.
book is a required reading for parents-to-be and parents of young
children. Why? Learning the art of parenting to "win" teenagers
begins with infants and children growing up in a home environment that is
warm, supportive, sensitive to providing positive role models and not
lacking in "talking" between the two generations,
have shown that teenagers whose parents smoke are five times more likely
to do so themselves (p.88).
the teenager realizes that his parent is not critical of him but tries to
understand how he feels, he will be encouraged to share further (p.61).
foundation of this love for learning must be laid in their childhood days.
If a child has learned to enjoy learning from young, he will be a
self-motivated learner in his teens. Being self-motivated, he will not
give up easily when faced with difficulties. In this way, he is more
likely to succeed in whatever he does (p. 43).
is a preventive measure to be taken seriously.
focus of the book is on parenting teenagers but it is also a practical
help for guardians and teachers of teens in the church and parachurch
organizations. The author keeps to her promise that the "book does
not claim to provide all the answers" (p. vi) but readers who desire
to explore further wish the author had provided a list of references or
book can be purchased from BGST Library.)
John Lim was our Chapel speaker last Wednesday, 29 September. He drew
lessons on obstacles to strong faith from John 4:43-54.
Aquila Lee was the Chapel speaker on 6 October.
Away from office. Dr Aquila Lee is away from 11 to 22 October for his ordination in
Seoul. Our Dean, Dr Quek Swee Hwa, is ministering in India from 13
to 30 October.
A Philosophy of Christian
Ministry (CM101, 3 credits) by Dr John Lim will be commencing on 15
October covering 8 sessions at Bishan campus. This is a required course
for MDiv students.
Dr Bruce Milne will be conducting a course “The Calling
& Work of a Pastor” from 16-19 November at Bishan campus. More
details will be announced.
A Blessed Birthday to…
Samuel Ratnam 11/10