Featured Works

The Approximate Parent is indebted to the important work of so many other authors, whose inspiration and wisdom is sewn into the fabric of the project. Some of these authors (and their works) are featured below, with a bit of context provided for why they appear in The Approximate Parent. Click on one of the links below, if you’d like to read or find out more about these key authors.

Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs

From The Approximate Parent:

“The way that “porn stars” dress, talk, think and respond about sex…has become the way many, if not most modern Americans think about what is normative in sexuality. Of course, they’re wrong; most people are not having “porn sex,” but they often think they should be. The stars are now mainstream and have crossed over to so-called “legitimate” television and movies. Ariel Levy writes about this brilliantly—especially in regard to teens—in her book Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, and that’s why I keep mentioning that book. It’s one of the most important works on sexual identity development in America [but is also one of the] most disturbing books for parents to read and not difficult for parents to respond, “That's not about my child or anyone I know,” to which I have to reluctantly reply, “Yes, it is.”

Find out more about Ms. Levy

Buy the book

Thomas de Zengotita’s Mediated

Buy the Book

From The Approximate Parent:

“If we leave aside 'parenting' books that are represented as parenting books—of which there are some great ones—the honor for “best” might just go to Thomas de Zengotita’s Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Apart from Erik Erikson’s work, I haven’t read another book that so captures the processes of identity formation in America at the turn of this century.”
Find out more about Dr. Zengotita

Buy the book

Michael Riera and Joseph Di Prisco’s Right From Wrong and Mike Riera’s Uncommon Sense for Parents With Teenagers

From The Approximate Parent:

“Mike is a quiet inspiration behind this book….[and he reminds us that] adolescence is when you get fired as the manager of your child’s life. The goal, though, to staying connected to your teenager and remaining positively influential, is to get rehired as a Consultant. It’s a brilliant metaphor and points to an approach that allows you to pass on your values to your teen, in a way that they can take in.”

Find out more about Dr. Riera

Buy the book


Buy the book

Lynn Ponton’s Romance of Risk and Sex Lives of Teenagers

From The Approximate Parent:

“The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do should probably be on the shelf of every American parent.  There are a few other books that I feel that way about, and they’re all recommended someplace in this book. Dr. Ponton is an adolescent psychiatrist at University of California, San Francisco, across the bridge from here. She’s spent her career serving outh and families, some of the families hardest hit by the kinds of risks noted in the section title. Her book approaches the subject in a similar way to The Approximate Parent, insofar as she is clear to make the distinction between normal and problematic risk-taking.”

Find out more about Dr. Ponton

Buy the book

Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

From The Approximate Parent:

“As Nicholas Carr wrote of his own experience in the brilliant and provocative work The Shallows, the Internet is fast becoming for everyone, an all-purpose medium—the conduit for most information that flows through your eyes and ears, into your mind. "The development of the Internet," Carr wrote, "has replayed in less than 20 years—at lime-lapse speed—the history of modern communications media, from Gutenberg’s printing press for the distribution of books, pamphlets and leaflets to newspapers, magazines, radio, television, film, and the like.""

Find out more about Mr. Carr

Buy the book

Alain de Botton’s Status Anxiety

From The Approximate Parent:

“Status and status anxiety are descriptions of phenomena that deeply impact everyone living in the United States. In 2004 Alain de Botton published one of those books. I mean, the kind of book that changed how I think about and organize my life.... De Botton, a philosopher and social critic wrote Status Anxiety and while that book is mainly about adults and anxiety over status, it quickly got me thinking about how easy it is for teenagers to secretly hate themselves and have confusion of their roles in America.”

Find out more about Mr. De Botton

Buy the book

Joshua Coleman's When Parents Hurt

From The Approximate Parent:

"Left “unchecked,” this disappointment and grief, really, over what are children do or do not become can have long lasting effects, according to psychologist Joshua Coleman, author of When Parents Hurt. A longtime, wise colleague, Dr. Coleman has recounted over the years the intense conflicts and pain occasioned by both parental and child disappointment in the ways child rearing happened in the family."

Find out more about Dr. Coleman