Thursday, June 9, 2011


The teenage years can seem like a minefield at times: you want to give your children the freedom to strongly walk forth and become responsible adults, and yet you want to protect them from making choices that could rupture not only their present circumstances but their futures as well. Plus, given the rugged terrain that teens have to navigate—pornography available online and via cellphones, the extreme pressure on body image by the culture, the epidemic of cyberbullying, just to name a few—anyone given the task of raising teenagers is in great need of guidance.

Jim Burns, a man who has devoted his life to helping kids and who is the father of three himself, responds to this need for guidance in his book, Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers (Bethany House, 2010). In his book, Burns tackles some of the major issues surrounding the task of raising teenagers into responsible adults. He gives a basic overview of the process of changes known as adolescence and then delves into the problems that can occur, whether it’s a block in communication between parents and teens, or combating the allure of pornography or sexual promiscuity that is so prominent in today’s culture. And though Burns delves into uncomfortable topics, he comes from the standpoint of one who has already been through this process three times before with his own children, and countless other times with his youth groups. His main message is to “Stay calm. Adolescence is a temporary transition. Work your plan. Hold on to your seat belt. Get as emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy as you possibly can, and before you know it, that sweet kid who morphed into a teen and sometimes hates you will become a responsible adult.”

There is no book (to my knowledge) that provides easy answers for raising God-serving teenagers. But, if you are looking for a foundation from which to understand the “art,” as Burns calls it, Teenology is a good place to start. A book more focused on practical solutions than theoretical wonderings, this is a good resource for parents or soon-to-be parents desiring advice as well as tools to best help their children maneuver the “minefield” of adolescence.

--Angelina Deola

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