THE REAL DEAL For Parents Only - The Top 75 Questions Teens Want Answered Today ISBN 1-5883-2173-1 Available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and other fine bookstores.
WARNING: not just another run-of-the-mill guide for parents and teachers of teens. Answers the secret questions that adolescents discuss among themselves. Doesn't pull punches; sometimes politically incorrect and controversial, but also grounded in real life, meticulously documented by thousands of interviews with teenagers across America.
From the Publisher
Imagine a streetwise Rabbi who is equally comfortable quoting from the Talmud, the rapper Coolio, the National Survey of Families and Households, Baba Kamma and Newsweek. He is your personal `spy' into the secret world of teens, who talks their language -- and yours: Yehuda Fine.
"Here is a down-to-earth, sensible
prescription for parents of teens. No one has spoken to and, more
importantly, listened to more teens and pre-teens than Yehuda Fine. His
lifetime of caring shines through the pages of The Real Deal, and it is
a beacon for parents (and any adult who works with our youth). Parents
and teens need not live in parallel universes. The Real Deal prescribes
guidelines, point by point, that make conversing with youngsters as
normal as breathing -- and almost as easy. Yehuda Fine's book offers
parents a hope-filled recipe for connecting with their youngsters." -- Dr. Pat Montgomery, Founder and Director Emeritus of the Clonlara School Home Based Accredited Education Program
shouldn't see these kids as oddballs, but as kids who are desperately
crying out for help," Rabbi Yehuda Fine says. He is a family therapist
in Evergreen this week to present a keynote address on school
violence..." -- Janet Simmons, "Tragedy at Columbine," Rocky Mountain News
"Rabbi Yehuda Fine's hand may be the hand that saves your family. I should know: Yehuda reached out for me when I was a sixteen-year-old high school drop-out and helped me discover the beauty of my own hungry mind and thirsty spirit. Not only have I lived a passionate intellectual and spiritual life of my own ever since, but Yehuda inspired me to dedicate myself to feeding the hearts and souls of hundreds of kids who are seeking a deeper experience than popular culture can offer. As the adoptive mother of two abused girls -- one who has flourished and one who died tragically -- I am especially touched by Yehuda's latest offering which is a life-line to parents. THE REAL DEAL is a reminder that we do not need to have all the answers; what we need is the willingness to ask questions, and to truly listen to the response." -- Mirabai Starr is
Author of critically acclaimed new translations of the Spanish mystics,
St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. She is a professor of
Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of New Mexico and a
certified grief counselor.
"Yehuda Fine is an
interpreter, a conduit, a bridge builder. He perhaps better than anyone
knows how to repair the downed lines of communication between
adolescents and adults. America: dial him in before those worlds drift
too far apart." -- Chris Mercogliano, Director of the
Albany Free School and author of Making It Up As We Go Along and
Teaching the Restless.In Defense of Childhood.
book for parents of `tweens' and teens that conveys a clear, concise
message for American families. Not only a great read, but a book every
parent will find extremely helpful. This is the parenting book and is a
one of kind endeavor, for no one has spoken to more teens and parents
than Rabbi Yehuda Fine." -- Dr. Efrem Nulman Senior University Dean of Students Yeshiva University, New York
Yehuda Fine is more than a national treasure, he's a necessity, and
sadly, something of an anomaly: A frontline spiritual warrior for the
rights and survival of America's youth, whether they are struggling at
home or adrift and written-off in the back alleys of our cities and
towns. But what gives added credence to this powerful book is that
Yehuda Fine is also a father of a brood of fantastic kids of his own.
He walks the walk, he talks the talk and he works tirelessly and boldly
in a shadowy world that precious few have the courage to penetrate and
most would like to ignore." -- Alex Winter Writer/Director and Actor, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Lost Boys, Freaked, Fever
Fine has been delving into the psyches of adolescents for decades and
now with his second book he has written a parental guide on
relationships with parents and their teenagers. He has helped shape the
counseling technique used in my practice of adolescent medicine." -- James G. Scelfo MD, FAAFP, Medical Director, Disney Marathon and the Citrus Bowl, Medical Consultant NBC affiliate WESH Channel 2 Orlando
a streetwise Rabbi who is equally comfortable quoting from the Talmud,
the rapper Coolio, the National Survey of Families and Households, Baba
Kamma and Newsweek. He is your personal `spy' into the secret world of
teens, who talks their language" -- and yours: Yehuda Fine.
About the Author
Yehuda Fine, rabbi, teacher, family therapist and author, spent 16 years on the guidance staff at Yeshiva University and rescued scores of runaway teens from the streets of New York as documented in his previous book, Times Square Rabbi.
Today he is known as America's most streetwise family and teen expert. He regularly conducts seminars for public schools, private and alternative schools, parent groups, social service agencies, youth groups, hospitals, recovery centers and social workers. He is a popular guest on talk radio and TV nationwide, and a frequent contributor to scores of magazines and newspapers.
Currently, he resides in Florida. His dog Brooklyn is always by his side when he goes bass fishing. His citrus trees are his gardening joy. He never misses spring training.
Being a parent of a teenager is not an easy task. At times, all parents question how well they know their own child. Sometimes it seems the child at the breakfast table in the morning has transformed into someone else at the end of the school day. There always seems to be a new mood, a new style, new music, and above all a new emotional intensity that ricochets around the household. Even in families with no major problems, parenting a teenager is a challenge. Relax. The good news is that your anxiety is normal. Nearly every parent of a teen has similar thoughts and frustrations.
But challenges can also be positive experiences. In fact, parenting teens can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying times in family life. It can be a time to deeply cement your bond with your child. To accomplish this, it is essential to tackle your teen's questions and issues directly. Our children have so many questions and decisions to make in life. They need our input and advice. The key words here are input and advice. Obviously, teens don't want lectures -- as we've seen here, and no doubt experienced firsthand, lecturing doesn't work.
Don't Be a Perfect Parent
Parents often ask me, "What is the one thing I should avoid doing as a parent?" I often answer that the worst mistake a parent can make is trying to be a "perfect parent."
I consider the "perfect parent trap" to be one of the worst sins in parenting. In truth, the best way to raise resilient children is by being an imperfect parent. A perfect parent cannot teach his teenager to face adversity. A perfect parent cannot teach her children to learn from their mistakes.
A perfect parent, by definition, tries always to appear never to do anything wrong. Perfect parents demonstrate that they are living life as one big cover-up. Besides the rigidity and tension that comes from trying to appear perfect, it is also exhausting, disingenuous, and certainly not helpful to your teen. The truth is that your child will grow stronger when you admit your failures. Not doing that creates an impenetrable wall between you and your child. You are unconsciously signaling to your child that in her most desperate hour, she had better not go to Mom or Dad for help. Perfect parenting gives teens the message that they cannot approach you because they haven't measured up to your standards. Children growing up in families where they can't possibly admit their failures are vulnerable and isolated.
Perfect parenting, therefore, puts your teenagers at risk. Why? Because perfection creates rejection. If you raise the bar beyond your teenager's reach by creating a false, perfect view of the rules and regulations of family life, you are giving confused messages. Who better than teenagers to understand, as they go through all the complexities and frustrations of adolescence, that perfection is impossible, that it simply can't be attained? As a result of pressing perfection on them, then, your children will know only one rule clearly:
Don't go to Mom or Dad if you are in trouble. They will not understand, and they will not support you! What makes matters even worse is that teenagers see through the false standards their parents preach. They fear letting their parents down by not handling their own problems "perfectly." Not only is this a recipe for low self-esteem, but it also forces your children to move their emotional life underground, below the radar screen of the family. All of this, if compounded, provides the jet fuel for creating a dysfunctional family life.
Be an Imperfect Parent
In adolescence, your children are on the cusp of the transition into adulthood. They are having the beginnings of adult experiences and challenges in their lives. If parents don't demonstrate the value of truth and honesty, which means exposing your mistakes, vulnerabilities, and imperfections, how are teenagers going to learn how to manage success, failure, and adversity?
Being an imperfect parent means being forthcoming about your mistakes. While it may be painful to let your child witness your vulnerability, ultimately it strengthens their ability and resolve to grapple with their own problems and dilemmas. Sharing your admissions, regrets, and hard lessons learned -- as well as your successes -- prepares them to meet their own challenges in life. Your example -- of being a perfectly imperfect human being in a far-from-perfect world teaches them how to face consequences and challenges. Most importantly, they are able to recognize how your ethics and standards didn't magically arise from nowhere.