Introduction to The Tool Box Concept

Imagine this scenario: Life has been pretty normal for the Judson family.  They have two daughters; Elizabeth is in college and Rebecca is a sophomore in high school. So far things have gone well, both girls have been honor students, both have friends that the parents have enjoyed.  Elizabeth is an athlete and Rebecca loves playing the cello.  For the past few months, however, the parents have begun to worry about their younger daughter.  It has become apparent that Rebecca has begun to lie about where she is going and with whom she is spending time. She has also ignored her curfew for the past three weekends.  They never had these problems with Elizabeth…

Some variation of this theme is not uncommon among many families of teens today.  If we take a look at most household bookshelves we can probably find a manual to fix the bike, or to tune up the car and a How-To for many of our questions.  But where can we find a diagram to help us maneuver meaningful conversations with teens?

There is a real need for a reader-friendly book that provides a variety of strategies and specific ‘tools’ to help parents feel prepared. Today’s kids live in a very complicated world, and that makes parenting them more complicated, too.  Parents, caregivers and teachers need simple ways of doing the day-to-day difficult things.  The Tool Box is intended to coach adults who live and work with adolescents, in such a way that the adults survive and the kids thrive. This book provides tools that can help.

Raising children is an ongoing process; they change and we change. What works for one child might not work for another, and what worked when that child was 15 doesn’t necessarily work at 16.  The Tool Box will provide specific skills for difficult situations that are adaptable based on age and readiness. These tools will show you how to have effective communication with teens to identify the core issues; to prioritize needs and wants; and finally, how to navigate through the difficult times of conflict and learn to employ the wonders of true compromise.

Sometimes, we all need a little help to get through a sticky situation with our kids.  Perhaps we feel cornered and cannot seem to find the way out. Or we realize that what we are doing is not working and we want to try something different.

Just because the sink is clogged again does not mean it is clogged with the same thing as before, or that the method used to unclog it will be the same.  When you go to the hardware store to pick up some nails or screws, you may have to try a few until you get the one that will fit the job the best.  Likewise, I have spent years counseling teens collecting helpful techniques, testing them to see which work and discarding those that don’t.  The goal of The Tool Box is to share these tools with adults and their kids, so that we are brainstorming together, with a “try-one-for-size”, solution-focused, approach. In the process we will establish clearer ways to talk to one another.

 The Tool Box has been developed to help families like the Judson family. It is designed to increase the range of possibilities for helping different families as they pass through the teen years. When everyday family life feels overwhelming, and when that family has a teenager in the picture, the stress can be high. This hands-on, easy-to-understand book will provide a variety of strategies and specific “tools” –or methods – which will help with the communicating with and the nourishing of teenagers.

For example:  Elizabeth Judson’s parents would benefit from Chapter 2, The Mechanic. After reading this chapter you will have a deeper understanding of the parenting dilemma, and realize that there are different ways to parent different children. When examining the relationship with our kids, this is a good place to start.

Exploring Chapter 4, The Level, will provide the Judsons with some insight into what Elizabeth is thinking and how that is affecting some of her recent decisions.  This is followed by several examples to help her talk about it.  And certainly Chapter 6, 3-in-1 Oil, will give the Judson’s some basic strategies on how to find the way through this new stage of parenting and then help to get things moving more smoothly.

If you would like to read more, the first section is available on my website for preview (it’s free!)  click here