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Describes the Maturity Model approach to parenting. 

Recommended Reading for Parents


An Unchanged Mind: The Problem of Immaturity in Adolescence, John McKinnon, MD (2008)

An Unchanged Mind begins with a clinical riddle: Why are  teenagers failing to develop normally through adolescence? We are presented with case studies from a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teenagers: All new students had been deemed treatment “failures” after conventional psychiatric care. All were bright teenagers, full of promise, not obviously “ill.” Yet they found themselves unprepared for the challenges of modern adolescence and inevitably failed – at school, at home, and socially among their peers.

An Unchanged Mind is the discovery of the essence of this problem: disrupted maturation, and resulting immaturity. The book explains the problem carefully – with a brief review of normal development, and an examination of the delays today’s teenagers are suffering: the cause of those delays, and how they produced a flawed approach to living. There is a solution. With a sustained push to help troubled kids catch up, symptoms abate, academic and interpersonal functioning improve, and parents pronounce their teens miraculously recovered. This remedy is not a matter of pharmacology – and the cure is not in pills. It is, instead, to grow up.

To Change a Mind: Parenting to Promote Maturity in Teenagers, John McKinnon, MD (2011)

In this companion to his first book, An Unchanged Mind, John A. McKinnon provides invaluable advice to all parents of teenagers and young adults. Using case studies gathered from his years helping parents with troubled adolescents, Dr. McKinnon explores the ways that adolescent development can be derailed in today's complex culture and how parents can prevent this from happening in the first place. 

Dr. McKinnon writes about how parents need to recognize their children as individuals, with their own feelings and opinions, as they start to establish their separate identities as young people and begin to negotiate their way through high school and beyond. He also makes clear that parents must continue to establish limits. These allow children to flourish and further their goals within boundaries that enable them to learn the consequences of their actions (both good and bad). Dr. McKinnon explains that, in tandem, parental recognition and limit-setting promote maturity. 

Packed full of examples and containing sensible and practical advice for parents of pre-teens or teenagers, To Change a Mind is an essential guidebook for parents seeking to make their lives-and the lives of their children-richer and more fulfilling, as the family navigates together the potentially treacherous seas of adolescence.

Journey of the Heroic Parent, Reedy, Brad, PhD. (2015)

When a child is hurting, it can be the most painful challenge a parent will face. With compassion and perspective, Dr. Brad Reedy offers hope and wisdom for children who struggle and the parents who love them. The Journey of the Heroic Parent will take you on a journey to a happier, healthier relationship with your struggling child—and yourself. Through lessons learned, mother, father, and child will achieve greater understanding, love, and humanity—no matter what the outcome.

Every day parents face heartbreaking situations. Raising a child struggling with mental health issues, addictions, depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders or just the normal angst associated with growing up can be frightening and confusing.

When all you’ve done is not enough, when your child seems lost and you feel inept and impotent, Dr. Reedy can help you take the necessary steps to find your child, not with cursory cures or snappy solutions, but rather by effecting positive change in your own behavior.

On your journey, you will confront, reevaluate, and grow confident in your beliefs as a parent. You will learn how to lovingly and effectively communicate your intentions to your child.

Reedy’s process will teach you how to find peace and security in your skills as a parent, and help you get comfortable exactly where you are. Even if you’ve made mistakes, even if you think you’ve failed, you still have the power to be a great parent.

Healthy parenting leads to a healthy life for your whole family, and The Journey of the Heroic Parent will be your guide as you walk the path to hope. 

The Conscious Parent, Dr. Shefali Tsabary (2010)

Dr. Tsabary details how our children can be raised as conscious adults only when we as parents allow ourselves to be raised into a higher state of consciousness about ourselves. She recognizes that parents unwittingly pass on an inheritance of psychological pain, family rules, and expectations for how to be, that constrain a child’s development. These “unconscious” facets of ourselves comprise a worldview or working model for how we approach child-rearing. The way that we parent mirrors who we are and to alter how we go about bringing up our children requires us to understand the way in which our everyday response to situations embodies that worldview.

This book will help parents get to the nitty gritty of why they have such difficulty setting and sticking to limits, or why they cannot help themselves from inflicting on their child the same impossible expectations that they have for themselves, that their father/mother had for them, or why they need so badly to be liked by their child. This book will help you make the deep changes so that you can respond rather than react to your child when they push your buttons.

The Gift of Failure, Jessica Lahey (2015)

Kids  who  end  up  losing  their  way  are more likely to be “orchids” rather than dandelions. They are kids who have always needed that extra helping hand. But as a parent it is hard to know where and when to stop. This book helps parents learn how to step back. Lahey sees modern parenting defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness. However, even though these parents see themselves as being highly-responsive to their child’s needs, they are not giving them the chance to experience failure – or the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems. Parents’ fear of their child’s failure has the potential to undermine children’s autonomy, competence, motivation, and their relationships with the adults in their lives. The book will help you shift onto the track of instilling in your child confidence, competence, and joy.

The Dance of Anger, Harriet Lerner

Some of us are what Barbara Colorosa jokingly referred to as “jellyfish parents.” We have a lifetime of people-pleasing under our belt and the unfortunate  consequence of this is a child who is severely allergic to the word “no,” and who treats us like a doormat or the concierge in their personal hotel. Finding your own separate sense of self from that of your child, and learning to assert your needs in the relationship is a tremendous gift you can give to your child. Harriet Lerner helps us awaken to the importance of using our anger in a helpful way to take our rightful place in the relationship with the significant people in our lives.

The Gifts of Imperfection, Tara Brach

This is a book for the parent who wants to “get it right.” Impossible expectations of self lead to a never-ending cycle pursuing and never reaching perfection. Tara uses examples from her own life to teach us how to let this all go, and more importantly, to not pass on this terrible legacy to our children. Perfect parenting is knowing oneself, and acknowledging accurately both our strengths and our flaws. Perfect parenting is accepting the gift of our imperfection.

The Road Less Travelled, Scott M. Peck

This classic text contains so much helpful information about the journey through self-exploration to a more fulfilling life. It is a great place to start if you really don’t understand or want to engage in the process of therapy. It is also a wonderful opportunity to pull together all that you are leaning in  therapy. It is particularly valuable for helping people to understand the difference between dependency and love and how to parent from one’s own true self.

Stop walking on Eggshells, Paul T. Mason, MS; Randi Kreger

This book could come in handy if your child or someone else in your life has significant borderline personality behavior  (aka  being  a  teenager  or  a  perpetual  teenager).    It will help you understand the inner world of the person, as well as how to manage your self so that you are not riding the emotional roller coaster with your loved one. Learn to set boundaries, stand up for yourself, defuse seemingly senseless arguments and protect yourself from destructive behaviors.

Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children, Daniel A. Hughes

This book will help an adoptive parent or the parent of a deeply traumatized child understand what is going on for their child. Building the Bonds of Attachment presents a composite case study of one child's developmental course following years of abuse and neglect. Weaving theory and research into a powerful narrative, Hughes offers effective methods for facilitating attachment in children who have experienced serious trauma. The text emphasizes both the specialized psychotherapy and parenting strategies often necessary in facilitating a child's psychological development and attachment security. Hughes steps through an integrated intervention model that blends attachment and trauma theories with the most current research as well as general principles of both parenting and child and family therapy. Thoughtful and practical, the third edition provides an invaluable guide for therapists and social workers, students in training, and parents. (GoodReads)

Brave Parenting: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Raising Emotionally Resilient Children, 

Krissy Pozatek (2013) 

By the author of The Parallel Process: Growing Alongside Your Adolescent or Young Adult Child in Treatment (2011) 

Writing from her own extensive experience and psychological wisdom, Krissy Pozatek shows us how children can develop the resilience, confidence and creativity that enables them to find true joy in living. 

— Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance 

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, Mate, Gabor 

 He would probably dispute it, but Gabor Maté is something of a compassion machine. Diligently treating the drug addicts of Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside with sympathy in his heart and legislative reform in mind can't be easy. But Maté never judges. His book is a powerful call-to-arms, both for the decriminalization of drugs and for a more sympathetic and informed view of addiction. As Maté observes, "Those whom we dismiss as 'junkies' are not creatures from a different world, only men and women mired at the extreme end of a continuum on which, here or there, all of us might well locate ourselves." In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts begins by introducing us to many of Dr. Maté's most dire patients who steal, cheat, sell sex, and otherwise harm themselves for their next hit. Maté looks to the root causes of addiction, applying a clinical and psychological view to the physical manifestation and offering some enlightening answers for why people inflict such catastrophe on themselves.

Finally, he takes aim at the hugely ineffectual, largely U.S.-led War on Drugs (and its worldwide followers), challenging the wisdom of fighting drugs instead of aiding the addicts, and showing how controversial measures such as safe injection sites are measurably more successful at reducing drug-related crime and the spread of disease than anything most major governments have going. It's not easy reading, but we ignore his arguments at our peril. When it comes to combating the drug trade and the ravages of addiction, society can use all the help it can get. --Kim Hughes – GoodReads Review

Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines His Former Life on Drugs, Marc Lewis (2012)