The Bay Are Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) selected The Approximate Parent: Discovering the Strategies That Work with Your Teenager (Fine Optics Press, 2012) as a winner of a 2013 Best Nonfiction Award (in the Parenting/Family/Relationships category).
BAIPA is a network of publishing resources, including authors, editors, designers, reviewers and many other professionals in the Bay Area independent publishing community. Each year they review and consider hundreds of titles for inclusion in their annual awards.
The Approximate Parent has won several independent book awards and is highly regarded by parents, clinicians and educators who work with teens. More information about the book can be found online at www.theapproximateparent.com or at Amazon.com.
by Lynn Lott, co-author of Positive Discipline for Teenagers
The Approximate Parent must have been a real labor of love for the author to write. It’s clear he has a desire to share with parents his vast knowledge about adolescents. Michael’s depth of knowledge and experience comes through on every page.
But this book is not an easy read and is not without its flaws. Parents are busy and want information without having to work hard at the end of long day to get that information. The Approximate Parent isn’t going to help them in that regard. It’s a long and often challenging work that is better off taken chapter by chapter, as parents need specific information. I would recommend that parents reading this book read the “Practical Help Tips” first and then go back into each chapter if they are wanting a deeper understanding of any of the tips. However, serious students of teens will come away with a thorough understanding of adolescent behavior and the challenges that adults have relating to them and helping them grow.
I love Michael’s chatty and authentic voice throughout the book. While I found it encouraging to the reader that we stop arguing about whether parents matter in the lives of their teens or whether parents are the reason those teens get so messed up, I took issue with the notion that who we are is a matter of nature and nurture. We could be using different language to explain the same thing, but in my experience and studies, I would say that though nature and nurture are important, who we are is more about the interpretations and decisions we made about what was happening to us or what we brought into the world. Those beliefs became our very own self-created operating system – more complex than anything Microsoft could ever come up with. And it runs us.
The Approximate Parent makes points that I’ll share with parents in my practice that I think will be very encouraging and helpful to them as they wend their way through their child’s adolescence. I would also share them with the teens I work with. Here are some of the book’s key points:
Lynn Lott is the co-author of the best-selling and highly regarded Positive Discipline series of books with Jane Nelsen.
The Approximate Parent: Discovering the Strategies That Work with Your Teenager
Michael Y. Simon Fine Optics Press (2012)
ISBN 9780985227692 Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (1/13)
I must admit that I picked “The Approximate Parent” by Michael Y. Simon because although we are close, I was struggling to understand and communicate with my teen daughter, and hoped for some quick strategies. This is not what I found. Instead I found a wealth of information to enrich my knowledge on teenagers’ development process, which in turn helped me understand my daughter, and thus discover what could help us communicate.
“The Approximate Parent” begins with biological, psychological information about teenagers’ development, and differences between puberty and adolescence. I found this part a little intimidating at the beginning but I encourage readers to press through it as I found it very useful in the understanding of not just the coming chapters of the book, but also with understanding some of my teen’s behavior.
After this first part, the tone of the book is less technical. Simon did a wonderful job combining the factual information of his remarkable research with his own conversational voice directed to the parents, which allowed me to relate, relax and take in the information.
Each Chapter handles a different Issue. It begins with understanding your teen, their identity and relationships, and teens and sex, which are the timeless teen issues. But it goes further as Simon continues with issues like parenting through the digital era, and teenagers’ mental health. Each Chapter ends with a “Practical Help” section that readers can refer to quickly.
Simon took me from understanding that many of the responses from teens are not only normal, but they are to be expected, as they are part of their development. He destroyed my argument of “I was more mature at your age,” as he explained the fact that as humans we react to experiences in a very unique way because our genes and our experiences while growing up, do affect the way we develop. His chapter “Parenting in the Digital Age” is one of my favorites because as I read it I realized just how different teen’s brains work in contrast with how teens’ brains worked during the 70s, or 80s. Thanks to this Chapter, it finally clicked in my head how different my development was in comparison to my daughter’s generation. Finally, towards the end of the book in chapter 10, I got my revelation when I read “the story about a boy who did not swim from the dock to the draft as his mother tried to manipulate him to do so.” This story made me reflect about my own teen years, and compare them to my daughter’s to realize that it was the same situation, only now I was the Mom.
“The Approximate Parent” by Michael Y. Simon is a must read for all parents. However, it isn’t a quick read. It is an insightful guide, a tool that can make a difference in your parenting style to get results. A definite 5 star read in my book.