The Good Teen
Rescuing Adolescence from the Myths of the Storm and Stress Years
By Richard M. Phd Lerner
(Crown Archetype, Hardcover, 9780307347572, 272pp.)
Publication Date: October 9, 2007
List Price: $24.95*
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For many parents the thought of the teen years holds more dread than all the sleepless nights of infancy and scraped knees of childhood combined. After all, teens are obstinate, inconsiderate, and defiant; they sulk and stress; they are prone to bad decisions and unreasonable behavior.
Given the option, most parents would happily skip the storms of adolescence and move right in to the relative calm of young adulthood if they could. Who can blame them when popular wisdom tells them that their lovable twelve-year-old will be replaced by an unpredictable, emotional volcano at the age of thirteen?
Although the word teenager has become synonymous with trouble, the evidence is clear: Adolescents have a bad rap—and according to groundbreaking new research, it’s an undeserved one. In The Good Teen, Richard Lerner lays bare compelling new data on the lives of teens today, dismantling old myths and redefining normal adolescence.
Time and again his work reveals that in spite of the stereotypes, today’s teens are basically good kids who maintain healthy relationships with their families. Overflowing with real-life anecdotes and cutting-edge science, The Good Teen encourages new thinking, new public policies, and new programs that focus on teens’ strengths.
Every teen, whatever their ability or background, has the same potential for healthy and successful development. In The Good Teen, Lerner presents the five personality characteristics, called the 5 Cs, that are proven to fuel positive development: Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring. When the 5 Cs coalesce, a sixth emerges, Contribution: where young people contribute to their own development in an energetic and optimistic way. He also prescribes specific ways parents can foster the 5 Cs at home and in their communities.
RICHARD M. LERNER, Ph.D., is the Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and the director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University.
“The most prolific developmental psychologist of our era has distilled his decades of insight into The Good Teen, a very accessible analysis of adolescence as it deserves to be understood.”
--Graham Spanier, President, Penn State University
"With unchallengeable research and analysis, Dr. Richard Lerner's terrific and very important book, The Good Teen, totally refutes and rejects the fear and demonization of teenagers so prevalent in America today--and shows us how we must recognize the treasure that teens are and work to develop fully their great potential, for the teens themselves and for our society."
--Former U. S. Senator Fred Harris, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation.
"There is no one in America today who understands teenagers better than Richard Lerner. The Good Teen overflows with gem-like insights based on Lerner's own groundbreaking research, his "positive youth" perspective, and his own experience as a caring and successful parent. Readers will find lots of useful advice about questions that arise everyday in contemporary family life. "
--William Damon, author of The Moral Child, Professor of Education, and Director, Stanford Center on Adolescence, Stanford University
“This outstanding book, written by one of the nation's leading authorities on adolescent development, is a critical read for all interested in youth. It merges scholarship with anecdote to produce a volume that is as informative as it is engaging. For any parent, youth worker, educator or health professional as well, The Good Teen provides valuable insights that debunk the myth that this is an age of storm and stress.”
--Robert Wm. Blum MD, MPH, PhD, William H. Gates Sr. Professor and Chair Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
“At a time when poverty, inequality and school segregation are increasing in a country with over 2 million incarcerated, the moral and political imperative of The Good Teen is to direct Richard Lerner’s wisdom and research into a national youth investment policy for the truly disadvantaged that is resourced to scale.”
--Alan Curtis, Ph.D., President and CEO, Eisenhower Foundation