Writer: Parenting 101 -- listen more, read less

Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009

Parents? Can't live with them, can't rent a rated R move without them.

I realize a parents' philosophy on raising the perfect child consists of making them try their best, giving them responsibilities, and keeping them out of trouble. Of course it's a lot more complicated then that but those are a few basics. Some parents have a knack for this, yet some believe that they can get the secret to parenting by reading a book on it.

Authors make millions on writing books about how to deal with teens, or how to get through to your child. Well, of course someone would want step-by-step instructions on how to raise the perfect kid, who wouldn't?

I came across one of these books, and the first line read, "To get through to your teen you need to be like your teen."

So you think you're going to go through what the average teen is dealing with, to relate and hopefully get through to your teen? Parents don't get it, the answers to dealing with children are not written for you in a "How to be a Parent for Dummies" book, it's between the lines.

I'm passionate about this issue because when I see the library of these kinds of books in my parent's bedroom, I just want to burn them. I don't understand why some parents have to read them, or refer to them to get answers on why their kid does this or that.

I have had my fair share of trust issues, miscommunication and crazy arguments with my parents, so when a book tells you, in that situation, "stay calm", I can pretty much guarantee that is last thing in your mind when you just caught your teen sneaking out of the house.

Most of these books are vague, referring to the whole community of troubled teens, boy or girl, between the ages of 12-18, with a variety of issues, so most parents can apply it to their lives. But even if a book was written directly singling me out, "How To Deal With Your 15-year-old Daughter Who Had an Eating Disorder, Isn't Responsible and You Can't Trust as Far as You Can Throw," wouldn't contain the answers on how help your parenting skills with me.

Those answers have to be found deeper then a book -- there are within me.

I wish some parents would realize to get to know your kid, to "deal" with them in these tough years isn't in the text of a book, in fact isn't written at all, its what you feel, what you think you should do in your life, not what a New York Times Best Selling author tells you.

This article is the opinion of Brooke Hughes. Hughes is a freshman at Skyview High School.

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