Why Your Parents are Driving You Up the Wall and What To Do About It by Dean Burnett, a marvellous title that delivers on its promise. In a world full of books advising parents on how to deal with their troublesome teenagers, how refreshing to discover a manual for dealing with parents, ‘…literally the most annoying people in the world.’ Covering potentially volcanic issues, from school to social media, to leaving wet towels on the floor, advice is on hand from a friendly neuroscientist.
Burnett is an excellent companion in this frank, funny and practical guide. We already know that during adolescence, the brain undergoes a radical overhaul but he asks us to consider the reasons why. Classic teen traits such as rebellion, risk-taking and sensation-seeking are essential in evolutionary terms, they are the very qualities that allowed the human race to explore, adapt and flourish. So while teenagers are champing at the bit to get out into the world, their dull old parents have gone from being ‘providers and protectors’ to ‘controllers and gatekeepers.’
Friction is inevitable but Burnett reassures readers that it’s manageable, concluding each chapter with troubleshooting tips. If the amusingly labelled ‘standard model parent’ starts pontificating for instance, on the subject of sleep, beleaguered teens are given the tools to explain and manage their differently aligned internal clocks. As for screen time, did you know that there is no scientific evidence that it’s harmful for the adolescent brain? Current guidelines advise moderation and control.
‘So, pretty much the same as the advice for parents and drinking wine.’
Although gleefully pricking parental pomposity and hypocrisy, this excellent book emphasises conciliation and empathy from BOTH sides.
Kids, after all those intense child rearing years of 100% involvement, your parents are watching you walk away. They miss knowing you!
Further chapters covering domestic dramas and mental health are handled with similar aplomb, science, humour and practicality combining to create a wise and useful guide. Truly excellent.
Why Your Parents are Driving You Up the Wall and What To Do About It by Dean Burnett is published by Penguin, 352 pages.