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

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

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: You – The Owner’s Manual for Teens

By Anita Matthews
Published in ParenThots, The Star, Sept 19, 2011

A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life
By Michael F Roizen, MD; Mehmet C Oz, MD; and Ellen Rome, MD
Publisher: Free Press

I had reservations when the editor emailed a snapshot of the book cover to check out. What do two men who found fame largely through talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s largesse know about teenagers? Furthermore, the third author’s name – a woman’s – was half the font size compared to the men. All the more reason to pick up the book and find out what the two men had to say about happy and healthy teenagers.

Nice bits

The book is large with decent-sized fonts and double spaced lines. It was easy on the eyes. The chapters are divided into sections that matter most to teenagers: Skin, sex, sleep, stress and more. The book discusses the biological changes in teenagers and how that affects the way they think when armpit hair, breasts, pimples and erections physically manifest on their young frames. That the information is presented simply without the typical jargon found in textbooks earned You a big plus on my list of good reads.
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When teenagers rule the world

By Anita Devasahayam

Author Douglas Rushkoff in his book, “Playing the Future: What We Can Learn from Digital Kids”, coined the term “screenager” to describe a child born into a culture mediated by the television and the computer.

He said that children are the natives in a media-rich world where adults are immigrants. Parents and teachers haven’t even begun to understand the language in this new information-saturated environment, while teenagers are hip to the new media and we scorn their savvy at our peril, he argued.

Written in 1995, Rushkoff’s assertions may be even more relevant in today’s Internet-plugged world. The examples are everywhere. A 16-year-old Irish girl invents a new data-encryption technology to rival the RSA encryption algorithm. A 14-year-old South Korean runs a successful MP3 Web site. A 16-year-old American boy gets an internship at a Silicon Valley company.
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Youngsters set to soar

CHILDREN (5-12 years) and teenagers (13-18 years) are now the two largest growth sectors of the Internet population, market research group, Jupiter Communications said in Washington last week.

It added the two sectors will account for some US$1.3bil (RM4.9bil) worth of e-commerce by 2002.

It said by 2002 some 21.9 million children and 16.6 million teens would be online.

And although they will directly account for less than 5% of the online shopping revenues forecast for 2002, the research group said that will increase.

“Today’s kids are sophisticated and see the Internet as a preferred tool for information gathering — commerce is a natural progression,” Jupiter analyst Anya Sacharow said.

Published in In.Tech, Star Publications (M) Bhd

Through teenage eyes

By Anita Devasahayam

GERALD Tan, despite his tender age, has designed a lot of websites.

Gerald says that as a child, his preoccupations included examining textures and observing the impacts created by light — preoccupations which he translated to the homepages he designed.

Viewing Gerald’s repertoire of websites, one can detect a certain mood, atmosphere, style and setting.

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Highs and lows

By Anita Devasahayam

BEING the only Malaysian at MIT Media Lab’s Junior Summit was indeed exciting for Gerald Tan. Awed by personalities and armed with ideas, he had high expectations.

But he was a tad disappointed. For starters, he felt that there was a division between Asians and Caucasians, although Nation1 declared all persons to be equal — which he thought was unrealistic.

Delegates at the summit tend to talk a lot but were not getting organised, he says, adding that everyone was proposing ideas and no one was making decisions.

“I thought someone should be put in charge of Nation1, and we had to get away from the discussions and start doing stuff.”

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Our own teenage envoy

By Anita Devasahayam

NEW YORK, November 20, 1998. More than 180 heads of state and ambassadors from all over the world had gathered for the United Nations General Assembly to discuss technology issues. They’d just been interrupted, and asked to bear witness to a new UN declaration.

A young man walks up the platform, representing the teenagers of the world. He’s their official voice. He seems a bit nervous, but that fades away as soon he starts speaking. He proposes the idea, others take up the call:

“We believe in ethics rather than laws … trust, not fear,” says another teenage delegate.

The result? The establishment of Nation1 (see In.Tech, Dec 1, 1998), a “country for children” that exists in cyberspace as a forum for young people to express ideas and fight for their rights.

And the young man who stood in the front of the world? He was 16-year-old Gerald Tan Chuang Win.

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