In Tough Guys and Drama Queens, Mark Gregston shares much of his valuable expertise as the founder and leader of Heartlite Ministries with 38 years of working with teens and their families. As the mother of a child entering her 13th year and an educator for almost 20 years, I was glad for the opportunity to read up on the most current teen age “how-to” books. So many people get a twisted look on their face when they realize I have a tween going on teen and proceed to tell me the horror stories of how their teens go crazy emotionally and sometimes even physically. I do not like to be caught totally off guard, if at all possible, so I am always eager to consume this and any information on life stages. I found Gregston’s insight on the matter very informative but, actually, since I read a lot about topics relating to children, there wasn’t much I did not recognize as typical information. That being said, it was full of good advice, about raising teens for a first time reader of a book of this nature. I do not know everything about dealing with teens, by any means, but I have to say that topics such as fostering independence (instead of controlling every aspect of their lives), having clear boundaries, listening more than you talk, and creating an environment that promotes progress and not perfection, are all on the forefront of raising my “tweens” already. It also trickles down to my six-year-old. That being said, the contents are a great reminder of keeping realistic goals and making sure to take the time to hear your child’s heart when, in this fast paced world, it is so easy to let personal, valuable moments slip by. I did enjoy the personal stories because we learn so much from other’s experiences. One of the most informative and important chapters to me was the first, which reiterates the over exposure of our children to everything. I completely agree with this chapter’s content and think everyone should open their eyes to this type of information. All this unmonitored technology around our kids is like letting them walk through downtown Dallas all alone with the opportunity to go anywhere and see anything and everything. Not only were his statics very informative but the stories of his personal experiences with the teens he has counseled were also learning tools for me as they gave me insight to what teens are experiencing within themselves in today’s society. I found that his time line of lending responsibility to make decisions were decent and suitable for anyone lost as to how to structure some guidelines as the years go by. Finally, he ended with a great chapter that reminded me to really stop and take the time to love on my children. Gregston definitely gave some useful tips and pooled his experiences together in a concise manner.
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