“Trust Me Mom — Everyone Else Is Going!”
The New Rules for Mothering Adolescent Girls


I’ve never been one to seek advice from parenting books, preferring to “wing it” through babyhood, toddlerhood, childhood.  But now I’m in the throes of teenage “hood” and I’ll read anything I can get my hands on.  A new title from Roni Cohen-Sandler, Ph.D., author of the bestseller I’m Not Mad, I Just Hate You! is especially helpful if you’re the mother of a teenage girl.  Entitled Trust Me, Mom—Everyone Else Is Going!  The New Rules for Mothering Adolescent Girls,” this book addresses topics which trouble most mothers (and fathers):  privacy, safety, decision-making, independence and discipline.  Cohen-Sandler draws on her expertise not only as a clinical psychologist but also as a parent, providing a wealth of examples from her experiences.  Add this one to your aresenal. Carolyn Kretzer, Watermark Books

Clinical psychologist Roni Cohen-Sandler clearly digs the teen argot, as evidenced by the title of her just-released Viking book, Trust Me Mom—Everyone Else Is Going! The New Rules for Mothering Adolescent Girls.  (Her 1999 Viking title also reflected teenspeak:  I’m Not Mad, I Just Hate You!  A New Understanding of Mother-Daughter Conflict.) Publisher’s Weekly

What would you do if there were a direct, thorough, well written, down-to-earth, up-to-date, and honest book specifically about parenting adolescent girls? Well, here it is, and many parents are thanking Dr. Roni Cohen-Sandler at this very moment. The book is ripe with examples of mothers and daughters asking questions, making comments, facing mini-dilemmas and everyday problems. Though it’s written for mothers of adolescent girls, it reads like a manual for parenting kids in today’s complicated world. Dr. Cohen- Sandler addresses the issues important in the life of a teenager today – self-esteem, face-saving, daily chores, discipline, friend- ships, socializing, partying and (my favorite), Chapter 9 Love and Lust: Romance. The book seems a little like the AMC Trail Guidebook that we carry when we go hiking in the White Mountains. It outlines the path of development and identifies the highlights and potential pitfalls of this part of the parenting journey. Dr. Cohen-Sandler identifies that we’re really teaching our kids to “think more clearly, make smarter decisions, and assume greater responsibility,” and she outlines some strategies to achieve that. She advocates structure, modeling, supervision, good communication, all in the context of developmental appropriateness. (By the way, the “What would you do if… ?” game is one idea for stretching awareness and understanding of each other.) The second chapter, Revisiting Your Approach: Teen Parenting 101 elucidates Dr. Cohen-Sandler’s tone and overall philosophy. And in true psychological form (which, personally, I liked but would probably have driven my lawyer-husband crazy, even if he was a mother) she states, “The first task is reflecting on how your own past is influencing your mothering.” With a clear, non-threatening writing style, the author introduces basic ideas of psychodynamics and interpersonal relationships. And with questions like, “How did you feel about your own mother during your teenage years?” and “Did you perceive her as understanding, loving, fair-minded, or knowledgeable?” she helped to focus my attention on the importance of my actions, no matter what my feelings. Chapter 5, To Snoop or Not To Snoop: Information Gathering provides great therapeutic direction, also; I’d say that more than 75% of the parents of adolescents who come into my office ask me about this, and now I know exactly where to send them for a thoughtful discussion of the question. I do wish that the doctor had spent a few more pages on the last chapter, Making Her Way: Letting Go . As a mother (of a 12-year- old boy), I’m already aware of my difficulty in that area and I could really use elaboration on those rules. And now there’s a lot more pressure. I wonder… when he’s 40, what will he say when his therapist asks, “How did you feel about your mother during your teenage years?” Barbara Bunk, Ph.D.



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