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.