Teen Talk Parent Talk
A common sense guide to raising your teenager
It's been said that it takes a village to raise a child. In that case, it takes an entire city to raise a teen. Parenting a teenager can have its challenges, however, the good news is that you are not alone in your parenting journey and there is an abundance of collective wisdom that we can draw on.
In Teen Talk Parent Talk, author and educator Sharon Witt shares her many years of experience immersed in teen world and offers practical advice and strategies to help you better understand your teenager, including:
- Why every parent MUST become cyber savvy or risk being left in the dark!
- Key indicators every parent must know that all may not be well in their teenager's world
- Understanding differing parenting styles and how yours may be doing damage
- Understanding teen health, puberty and when to seek expert help
- Practical strategies for helping your teen successfully navigate their High School years.
The Teen Talk series talks directly to teens in the language they understand. Teen Talk deals with issues facings teenagers in the 21st century, and helps teenagers to have passion and purpose in life, and to be the best they can be. Teen Talk has been created by Melbourne secondary school teacher Sharon Witt.
Drawing on years of experience in working with teenagers, Sharon has crafted a series of books which take a realistic and clear eyed approach to the ups and downs of the teenage years. A must read for teenagers and those working and living with teenagers. More information at www.teentalkbooks.com
Melbourne-based Sharon Witt is a dynamic educator, author and speaker and has worked with thousands of young people across Australia. She has been a secondary teacher for over eighteen years and holds her Masters Degree in education. Sharon has authored 6 books for young people including the best-selling Teen Talk series which is being launched in the overseas market in 2011. She is also the author of Surviving High School which has recently been adapted into a curriculum resource program, currently being adopted in schools across Australia. She regularly comments in the print media and appears regularly on national television on Channel 9's Mornings with Kerri-Anne.
Teen Talk Parent Talk
Collective Wisdom Publication
Author: Sharon Witt
Interview with Sharon Witt
Question: What inspired you to write Teen Talk Parent Talk?
Sharon Witt: I have previously written a series of books in the Teen Talk series for children and teens aged 10 upwards. After receiving so many requests from parents who had bought my books for their children I decided that the time was right to write one in the same style for parents. Over my twenty years as a secondary teacher, I have often been asked advice and tips for dealing with adolescents and I felt that I had a lot I could contribute to parents in raising their teens. One of the things I try to achieve with my books is provide practical advice in everyday language, using real stories, humour and graphics. With each of my books you can pick up at any section and read about a specific topic. I am a mum of two adolescents and have been immersed in teen world for the past twenty years as a secondary teacher, so I am thrilled to have written a resource for parents to access.
Question: When is it important for parents to seek expert help in regards to puberty?
Sharon Witt: There is a great deal of information out there now, including websites and wonderful books to help guide adolescents through the puberty years. I don't necessarily think parents need to seek expert help, however if they are unsure what to tell their children or when to begin discussions about body changes, I think it would be helpful to collect some valuable resources sooner rather than later. With regards to puberty, I firmly believe parents should open the lines of communication about puberty before they think their child is about to hit this stage. If parents do not have these conversations, you can be sure that they will be hearing things at school and amongst their peer group. I have written two puberty books for children ages 10 upwards to answer their most pressing questions relating to their bodies and the changes they will experience- Teen Talk-Girl Talk and Teen Talk-Guy Talk. I recommend them as a helpful resource for parents to begin with.
Question: Which parenting styles may be 'damaging' to their children?
Sharon Witt: It's not so much that a particular parenting style may be damaging to a child, but in my experience I have certainly seen conflicting parenting styles cause problems in family dynamics. For example if you have one parent who is a very rigid 'Sargent Major' type style and the other is the laze fare 'Woodstock' type parent, it is not difficult to see where things may become stressful and confusing for the children. Furthermore, if you have a rigid parenting style with absolutely no room for a child to move or negotiate, you may be setting yourself up for conflict in later years when your child enters teenage hood. I have also. On the other hand, parents do not do their children any favours by trying to be their 'friend' and neglect to enforce boundaries. In my experience children thrive well under clearly defined and reinforced boundaries, whilst also containing room for negotiation dependant on age and maturity of the child.
Question: Can you talk about the important of parents becoming cyber savvy?
Sharon Witt: It is paramount that parents become savvy about the internet and how our children are navigating the on line world. This present generation of children are growing up as Cyber Citizens- they have no knowledge of a world that doesn't contain the internet. As parents, we have two choices- to lament that we don't understand the internet and never will, or we get real, develop our digital spine and immerse ourselves in their world so that we understand the advantages and inherent dangers of the cyber world.
Question: Can you talk a little bit about the signs parents need to look for in their teens?
Sharon Witt: I really believe that successful parenting involves being a part of your child's life and having an understanding of where they are at during the various stages of their adolescent years. Most parents will realise if something is not quite right with their child or if they are acting out of character. For example, a couple of years ago one of my children came home from school, didn't feel up to eating dinner and the promptly put himself to bed early. Not THAT was out of character for him. I thought he may have been feeling a bit unwell, until the next morning when he was still down and we chatted. I soon realised that he had been bullied at school the previous day. As parents there are often key warning signs that we can be on the lookout for that all may not be well in our teen's world.
I would include among these:
-consistently seeming down or sad for more than a few days
-trouble sleeping that extends for more than two weeks
-losing interest in activities and interests they would normally enjoy
-not wanting to spend time with friends where they would previously have wanted o
-expressing that things are bad or hopeless
-refusing to attend school
It is important that if you are at all concerned about changes in your teen's mood or normal behaviour that exceed a period of a couple of weeks, that you seek professional help.
Interview by Brooke Hunter