The Approximate Parent illustrates Michael’s depth of knowledge and experience with adolescents. But it’s a long and often challenging work that is better off taken chapter by chapter, as parents need specific information about their struggles with their teen. Michael’s chatty and authentic voice guides the reader throughout the book and The Approximate Parent makes great points that I’ll share with parents, as well as with the teens in my practice. Michael’s understanding of what teens face daily is really helpful when you’re getting frustrated and irritated with your own teen.
Lynn Lott, Co-author, Positive Discipline for Teenagers (and many other books in the Positive Discipline series)
My philosophy to parenting has changed over time and most of those changes have come in the run-up to teenager-hood, when I’ve realized that I can’t actually control everything my daughters do (surprise, surprise!). My current parenting approach is, basically — be smart, laugh, be honest, and try to SEE your teen. This is one of the reasons I admire and cherish the work of Michael Simon. Simon approaches the topic of parenting with good humor and self-awareness while also taking seriously the long-term effects of parenting on kids and vice-versa. The ‘approximate’ parent is a practice-based approach to parenting teens. As Simon writes “it’s not about doing it right, it’s about stumbling towards understanding – approximating the approach best suited to yourself, your teen, your circumstances and your resources. One size does not fit all.” Thus is the beauty and difficulty of Simon’s approach. The beauty is that when one approaches parenting as a series of interactions, then each interaction is a new chance to do something right. Although it is a lengthy read with some uncomfortable truths (including the many hypocrisies of parenting and parents) I highly recommend this book to parents who are interested in fostering a positive, healthy relationship with their teen or young adult.
Kathleen Bisaccia, Editor of Parenteen, Parents' Coalition of the Bay Area
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. 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.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. “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.Reader Views, January 2013
“Parenting isn't a science, and finding the exact answer is pretty hopeless. "The Approximate Parent: Discovering the Strategies That Work with Your Teenager" is a parenting guide that affirms for parents that no parent is perfect, and working with your teen is the key to being the best parent one can be, facing the realities of biology, development, and culture. Michael Simon presents his two and one-half decades of experience to help readers better meet their job as a parent. "The Approximate Parent" is worth considering for any parent who has the weight of perfection on their shoulders, driving then down into insanity.”
Midwest Book Review, August 2012
“Parenting teenagers is a risky business that requires the development of healthy risk-taking skills for parents as well as adolescents. Michael Simon’s book, The Approximate Parent: Discovering the Strategies that Work for Your Teenager, offers an important blueprint for parents who want to learn these skills. Michael also recognizes that parenting teenagers is neither black or white nor good or bad. Instead, it is a process of growing closer—closer to your adolescent, yourself as a parent, and most important, closer to what works best for your relationship. Michael's non‐dogmatic approach is truly heartening.”
Lynn Ponton, M.D., Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Ponton is a highly sought-after national and international expert on adolescent risk-taking and author of The Sex Lives of Teenagers and The Romance of Risk
Michael Simon knows more about teenagers than anyone I know. For years, he has been helping parents all over the United States in his popular speaking series on parenting adolescents. Now, in The Approximate Parent, parents can benefit from Michael's unique perspective by reading his book. This is not a simple 7 Steps to a Happy Teen type of book, because Simon knows his subject matter too well, and has too much respect for parents to oversimplify something as constantly evolving as adolescence and as humbling as parenting. Combining ethics, philosophy, science, psychology and sociology, Michael has written a book that may forever change how you look at your teen, and at the same time, provide you with all of the tools you need to get them where they need to go. The Approximate Parent is a meticulously researched and psychologically solid book. I learned a lot and know that you will too. Highly recommended!
Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., Psychologist, national parenting expert, television and radio personality, and author of many popular works including When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along and Imperfect Harmony
“If you are the parent of a teenager and you are paying any attention at all, you know that, besides dealing with the classic adolescent issues, your child is negotiating an environment that has been radically redefined by the new media—the Internet, iPhone, Facebook world. If you are at all self-aware, you probably realize that you don’t understand that environment very well. There are plenty of media experts out there and plenty of parenting experts too – maybe too many - but, in Michael Simon, you have someone whose life’s work has been in media theory and adolescent development. He has mastered the literature in both fields and has been putting it all to work as a high school counselor and therapist for almost 20 years. That is an extraordinary qualification and, with every innovation in technological connectivity, it becomes more and more essential. The Approximate Parent is a brilliant synthesis of theory and practice, of research and application that aims directly at how teenagers actually live in this mediated world.”
Thomas de Zengotita, Ph.D., Anthropologist, teacher at New York University and the Dalton School and author of Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It. Dr. de Zengotita is the winner of the Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecology (2006)
Blending a combination of keen insight, personal anecdotes and a plethora of scientific research on adolescent cognitive, social and emotional growth, Michael Simon, a psychotherapist and former high school counselor, arms frazzled parents with practical suggestions and time-tested intervention strategies. You may even begin to feel deep compassion for your teenager whose brain is under construction. And, also for yourself; for having to live in the construction zone, and act like ‘a grown-up’ as you try with all your might to be a healthy role model. The Approximate Parent is a multifaceted, illuminating read.
Annie Spiegelman, Parent of teen and Author of Growing Seasons and Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva’s Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening