4 out of 4 stars
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Empowerment Parenting: How to Raise Resilient Children Who Become Happy, Self-Reliant Adults, written by Stephanie L. Mann, begins with the author telling readers her heartbreaking life story. She was abandoned by her mother and stepfather (a lobbyist in Washington DC) in Mexico City when she was just fifteen. She didn’t speak Spanish, and to earn some money, she had to become a guide for American tourists. When she finally managed to get back to the US, she was malnourished and starving to death. She had to overcome many obstacles (she didn’t finish high school, for instance), but she finally got back on her feet and became a successful consultant in crime and violence prevention. In this ten-step interactive guide, Mann draws on her extensive experience to “help preteens, teenagers, and young adults avoid self-destructive behavior.”
This book’s greatest strength is its applicability. It is highly practical, with real-life stories, tips, fact sheets, exercises, self-evaluations, and questions. The reader should work together with an adult adviser, and to this end, there are two parts: Part 1 – Preteens and Teens; and Part 2 – Parents and Adults. Both parts explore the same ten steps, and although the book is primarily for teens, I believe anyone can profit from it. I particularly enjoyed the third step, which explores ways to handle anger; the tips for staying cool are applicable and useful. Step six deals with abusive and controlling relationships, helping readers recognize the cycle of abuse. I’m sure this can be useful for all of us, regardless of age.
Empowerment Parenting seems to be a well-researched book; it comes with several links to scientific studies, and there is also a list of additional resources for teens and adults. I appreciated the part about preventing substance abuse, especially the tips on how to recognize the warning signs. The fact sheet regarding underage drinking, for instance, caught my attention. I was surprised (and appalled!) to learn that people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the US – more than 90% in the form of binge drinks.
As a parent, I support and agree with the author’s reasoning and recommendations. I also enjoyed the several thoughtful illustrations, as well as the inspiring quotes from knowledgeable people such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dale Carnegie, Margaret Mead, and Deepak Chopra.
Finally, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I found no negatives in it, and it seems professionally edited. Kudos to the author for writing such a useful guide! It is a valuable resource for teens, and I also recommend it to parents, counselors, guardians, and schools.
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