Many parents see the stage of adolescence as a period of uncertainty and anxiety. Nevertheless, once they come to understand it as a process that forms part of one’s life, and prepare themselves to deal with it, it can be seen positively as a time of challenges and of personal growth.
Adolescence: A Book to Guide Parents
The book by Dr. Teresa Artola González, Daily Situations of Your Adolescent Children, (NT: original only in Spanish for the moment being) is a fundamental guide that will help in understanding adolescents and the situations that revolve around them.
This work addresses some of the most common daily situations and problems with which parents are faced in raising adolescent children and offers solutions for them. Parents are shown the characteristics of development and how these problems emerge from age 12 to 16.
It is made up of six chapters, a final section of pedagogical guidance to put the information into practice, and a bibliography of recommended sources for further reading.
The first chapter summarizes the transformations that adolescent boys and girls go through and defines this stage in their lives as a process, not a problem. Starting from this point the author explains this stage as a transitional path leading towards maturity, the development of different areas of life and the search for identity, which shapes the life-plan of young people. Parents must face this process with serenity, patience, and unity.
The second chapter is about communication, which in this stage of life becomes problematic and which is part of process of maturity. The author describes parental reactions and solutions to problems that come from misunderstanding. At the same time she offers different solutions to resolve difficulties in communication.
The third chapter focuses on free time and how to show young people how to make the best use of it. In Artola’s opinion, the key is that leisure ought to be opposed to laziness; based on this idea, she goes into ways of making responsible use of it and maintains that, through it, young people should find personal enrichment and learn to make themselves available to others with true generosity.
The fourth chapter reflects on friendship at this stage of life. The author explains that friendship is very influential during adolescence and can compensate for parental influence. At the same time, she shows that adolescence marks the beginning of true friendship and offers key points for making sure that the process of forming these relationships is developed properly, showing adolescent children how to acquire social skills and learn, little by little, how to make use of them.
The fifth chapter addresses those problems that worry parents the most and offers suggestions for resolving them, emphasizing the importance of early detection, prevention, and the proper formation of the will and personal freedom as parts of the solution.
Finally, in the last chapter the author concentrates on values and virtues, especially sincerity, obedience, responsibility, ideals and sobriety.
The Secret of Education: A Positive Approach
It is handbook that is well-explained and well-organized. It is easy to read and its practical guidance makes it a reference work that every educator and parent should consult if their children are in this stage of life, since it addresses, from a point of view that is at the same time both optimistic and realistic, useful educational guidelines and advice for the modern world, that can be applied to each case and situation, always keeping in mind that knowledge of one’s children is a prerequisite for dealing with their problems and anxieties.
(*) Carmen María Martínez Conde has a doctorate in Sociology and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family