I picked up Hope for Parents of Troubled Teens by Connie Rae during the end of a turbulent four and a half years with our permanent foster daughter. Our foster daughter came into our home when she was 13 ½ years old- confused, hurt, and feeling rejected. By the time she moved out, (the day after she turned 18), we’d been through so many ups and downs I had lost count. Despite all the love we had tried to show her, and all our hope that she would choose a path with a bright future, she left our home a lot as she entered it. I can’t help but wonder if I had read this book sooner, would it have helped? If I had employed some of the practical “things to do” at the end of each chapter, might things have been different? I’m willing to bet that if you are contemplating reading this book, you’re where I was- doing the best you know how to do, though your best doesn’t seem good enough. So, the question is, “will this book offer you hope, as the title claims, or will you put it down thinking you read a lot of useless information?”
It was, unfortunately for me, too late to put into practice many of the practical “things to do” suggested by Connie Rae- my teen had all but moved out by the time I read this book. But, if that’s not quite where you are, then yes, I think this book will offer you hope and some pragmatic ways to try something different. Perhaps what I most appreciated about this book were the suggestions at the end of each chapter. From taking 15-20 minutes to reflect upon and write down the things that make each child unique – and how we respond to them when they don’t meet our expectations, to making a concentrated effort to spend quality time with our kids, the range of ideas offered by Rae essentially leaves you without excuse. You won’t be able to say, “I just don’t know what to do anymore.” One of the most convicting propositions for me was the admonition to open up our home to our daughter’s “questionable” friends, and attempt to be a place where they could feel comfortable hanging out. Along with this was the suggestion that we get to know these friends and show interest in them. Since our daughter’s so-called friends were generally interested in drugs, sex, and partying, and sometimes it wasn’t clear what gender some of them actually were, it was really hard to imagine them feeling comfortable in our house no matter how hard we tried, but…if we’d been more accepting before she turned so hard-core and guarded in her choice of companionship, maybe things would have been different. If, as Rae suggested, we’d shown a friendly interest in what she was up to and who she was spending time with, instead of opposing her at every turn, it wouldn’t have seemed so much of an “us against them (and you)” battle. Hope for Parents of Troubled Teens caused me to rethink a lot of the choices my husband and I made over the years. Without question I feel it prepared me to do better when my biological children become teens. So, is this book a useful tool for struggling, hopeless parents – yes, I believe it is. As with all parenting books, some suggestions you’re going to flat out reject for your own ideological reasons, but if you’re at the point of not knowing what to do now, or you’re able to acknowledge that what you’re doing (or not doing) isn’t working, you’ll find an abundance of sensible, Biblical, ideas that you can apply right now- you have nothing to lose, and potentially everything to gain.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.