An excellent gift for parents of teens and pre-teens, I Wanna Be Sedated: 30 Writers on Parenting Teenagers made me laugh and weep.


For a much-needed laugh, read W. Bruce Cameron’s “Teenagers Owner Manual.” His book 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter kept my husband sane during our daughter’s teen years. Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry also cuts loose the tethers between the teenager you want and the one you have. Because raising a teenager challenges a parent’s patience, body, mind, and soul, maintaining a sense of humor is vital. As my mother told me, “You have to pick your battles.” Now that I think about it, she didn’t laugh much when my brothers and I were in high school. However, she laughed almost every time I called when my daughter hit the hormone years. Payback, I suppose.

For perspective on parenting from those who have reached solid ground afterward, read Irene Hopkins’ “The Seven Circles of Hormone Hell.” She describes being in menopause while her daughters hit puberty.


Debra Gwartney’s “Runaway” offers an unflinching look into one serious situation. Other serious and poignant topics teenager face include sex education, lying, drugs, buying Kotex, tattoos, thongs, slacker report cards, the empty-nest feeling, parties without parents, racial profiling, and body-image issues.

I recommend this book to every parent facing this chaotic, exciting, and yes, rewarding family time. Parenting is not for the fainthearted and this book offers insight from survivors. I also offer insight as a survivor in “Thrill Ride of Parenting Teenagers.”

For those of you currently parenting teenagers, you have my prayers, my sympathy, and my encouragement. You can do this! I firmly believe that God designed it so that when my child reached the age to leave home, I wanted to help her pack. Since we have passed through that valley of the shadow of death, my daughter and I have become close friends. She even trusts me to occasionally watch her children. Go figure.

Do you suppose I have suddenly gained amazing parenting skills? Ha! Me neither. What I have gained from experience–patience and a sense of humor.

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