Book review: The Five Love Languages of Teenagers

By Anita Matthews

Published in Parenthots, The Star on April 1, 2013 as
Learning to speak the love language of teens

THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF TEENAGERS
By Gary Chapman
Publisher: Northfield Publishing

L-O-V-E is a four-letter word that definitely bears repeating and it is the recurring theme in Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages Of Teenagers. Here, Chapman explains the different types of love and provides practical advice and sound rationale on when and how each love ought to be practised. His is the voice of experience.

Five Love Languages of Teenagers

The guidance Chapman provides is timely especially in this current era of information overload. Both parents and teenagers are inundated by information from numerous sources. Moreover, parents may not necessarily approve of the type of information (including entertainment) that their teenagers are exposed to. Instances of negative exposure on the Internet include violence, underaged sex, drugs and trash talking.

Here’s where this book is very useful.

As teenagers struggle between independence and dependence, parents can rely on the techniques and strategies that Chapman provides to guide them on how to respond the adolescent behaviour. My 16-year-old son told me the other day that the English test included questions related to an essay on adolescence. When I asked him what he understood from the essay, he said: “Parents can’t cope”.
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Book review: I’d Listen to My Parents If They’d Just Shut Up: What to Say and Not Say When Parenting Teens

By Anita Matthews

Published in Parenthots, The Star on January 7, 2013 as Learn to communicate with your teen

I’D LISTEN TO MY PARENTS IF THEY’D JUST SHUT UP
What to Say and Not Say When Parenting Teens
By Anthony E. Wolf, PhD
Publisher: Harper

The book’s title offered no comfort. The words “parent” and “shut up” were more than a reality check. I barely “shut up” when talking to my kids. More often than not, I overstate and overcompensate long after the kids have tuned out.

The title of Wolf’s book embossed in bright yellow on a red cover sent pangs of guilt through me. The sunshiny coloured text belied the blaring alarm bells that scream through my head with every interaction I have with my teens.

Parenting teens

Thankfully, Wolf’s book did come to the rescue. Through it, he lays the foundation of why teens behave the way they do. He provides frustrated parents solace and solutions to the messy parent-child communication style as he astutely captures nuanced conversations. Parents can begin to see a different perspective, or as in my case, come across many light bulb moments.

For one, I often forget that adolescence is a rite of passage. As the book progresses, it becomes very clear that parents can and should manage their conversations with teenagers. Parents should also be guided by a mantra not to take their teens’ whiny, crabby, snotty or angry behaviour personally.
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Book review: Philosophy from real mothers

By Anita Matthews, published in ParenThots, The Star, April 3, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: MOTHERHOOD - PHILOSOPHY FOR EVERYONE
The birth of wisdom
Edited by Sheila Lintott
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

MotherhoodThe word “philosophy” drew me to Sheila Lintott’s compilation of essays written by academics (women mainly) on motherhood. Marrying motherhood and philosophy is akin to mixing oil with water. You can moralise the joys and pains of motherhood to the ends of the Earth and still end up at the crossroads where the journey first started.

But this book was an awesome read. I loved it! Even though I had cast a wary eye on first sight, these philosophical ponderings were engaging, honest and warm. The writers challenged their belief systems both hypothetically and theoretically. They unpicked, scrutinised and discussed their deepest convictions and fears openly. They squared the ideas of famed philosophers such as Aristotle, Kant, Descartes and even Job of the Old Testament against their personal experiences to deconstruct what makes a mother. And, that is refreshing.

Many a time, philosophical discussions tend to be indulgent and are self-fulfilling prophesies of what is sought or challenged in the hypothesis. This set of essays did more.

Clearly within the pages of Motherhood - Philosophy for Everyone, the presence of a child in the mix had had a humbling effect on a majority of the writers. I think all mothers – upon hindsight – do realise that they have lost some control over their lives (and offspring) during the early years following childbirth. I don’t see that to be a setback but simply a reality of choices made.

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