When I saw the Hope for Parents of Troubled Teens by licensed counselor Connie Rae, I knew this book was just for me at this time in my life (see my last post on "Why Teenagers Rebel"). Not that I believe I have ‘troubled’ teens. But I DO have a 15-year-old who thinks she is 21 and blames me for her rebellion because of ‘all the rules’. She could be headed on a path for trouble, and over the last year I’ve been evaluating all the things we might have done wrong as parents that have led to her internal conflict. I was in desperate need of hope, guidance, encouragement, and I found it from Connie Rae.
Connie Rae has been there – not just from her 25 years of professional counseling experience, but personally with her own teen son whose decisions landed him in and out of jail for a season of their lives. She gained my respect from the beginning with her humility at not having all the answers and lessons learned through her own story.
So while this book doesn’t necessarily give all the answers, she provides guidance on how to understand and relate to your teen (whether rebellious or not) and how to manage conflict. She offers insight into how teens of this generation think differently because they have been taught to question and analyze, and how we as parents should respond without assuming that our values are rejected. She explains their need for determining their own identity and why they rebel. Her chapters dealing with unnatural highs were enlightening as well.
She sprinkles hope and encouragement throughout the book, but my favorite part was when she explained the art of “hanging on loosely” and “letting go lightly”. Never stop doing the right thing. Never stop praying. Believe that God will do His thing. Even if you feel you have done some things wrong, today is a new day. Build on the things you have done right. Forgive yourself. Do what you can. It’s never too late to do the right things, with the right attitude, for the right reasons.
We can’t necessarily change our teens, but we can change ourselves. When we change in the right ways for the right reasons, our teens will eventually respond differently. Fiercely hold on to what is right, even when they push back. Our love has limits that have a hard time seeing beyond our own personal hurts and frustrations, but God’s love can reach through us. Love is being the best person we can be in Christ so that our child can become the best person he/she can be.
This book might be better titled without the word “troubled” as it seems to apply to any parent with teens – even compliant ones. I would highly recommend this book to parents of pre-teens (as well as teens) for insight into how the teen mind thinks in this generation, and to be prepared in advance if your teen suddenly causes upheaval and chaos in the home. She provides the information, wisdom, and encouragement needed for the journey.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.