Cover image for The grown-up's guide to teenage humans : how to decode their behavior, develop unshakable trust, and raise a respectable adult
The grown-up's guide to teenage humans : how to decode their behavior, develop unshakable trust, and raise a respectable adult
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2017]
Physical Description:
xxvii, 300 pages ; 24 cm


Material Type
Shelf Number
Item Notes
Book 306.874 SHI 1 .SOURCE. 10/17 BT

On Order

Cottonwood Public Library1Received on 10/4/17



Nautilus Gold Award Winner: Parenting & Family

A practical guide to understanding teens from bestselling author and global youth advocate Josh Shipp.

In 2015, Harvard researchers found that every child who does well in the face of adversity has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult. But Josh Shipp didn't need Harvard to know that. Once an at-risk foster kid, he was headed straight for trouble until he met the man who changed his life: Rodney, the foster parent who refused to quit on Shipp and got him to believe in himself.

Now, in The Grown-Up's Guide to Teenage Humans, Shipp shows all of us how to be that caring adult in a teenager's life. Stressing the need for compassion, trust, and encouragement, he breaks down the phases of a teenage human from sixth to twelfth grade, examining the changes, goals, and mentality of teenagers at each stage.

Shipp offers revelatory stories that take us inside the teen brain, and shares wisdom from top professionals and the most expert grown-ups. He also includes practice scripts that address tough issues, including:

FORGIVENESS: What do I do when a teen has been really hurt by someone and it's not their fault? COMMUNICATION: How do I get a teen to talk to me? They just grunt. TRUST: My teen blew it. My trust is gone. Where do we go from here? BULLYING: Help! A teen (or their friend) is being harassed. DIFFICULT AND AWKWARD CONVERSATIONS: Drugs. Death. Sex. Oh my.

Written in Shipp's playfully authoritative, no-nonsense voice, The Grown-Up's Guide to Teenage Humans tells his story and unpacks practical strategies that can make a difference. Ultimately, it's not about shortcuts or magic words--as Shipp reminds us, it's about investing in kids and giving them the love, time, and support they need to thrive.

And that means every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Youth advocate Shipp (Jump Ship) provides an accessible but superficial primer for helping parents understand and guide their kids through the often confounding adolescent years. With a colloquial and straightforward style, Shipp discusses major developmental phases and challenges common to young adults ages 12-18. He says this account is backed up by the work of "an incredible team of researchers, psychologists, and scientists," few of whom are actually mentioned in the text. Shipp addresses an array of typical problems faced by adolescents, including issues with communication, drugs, trust, dangerous behavior, screen time, school, and sex, each one accompanied by simple and logical action steps. A former at-risk foster child himself, Shipp seems to orient this book to parents of "problem" kids, declaring that no matter how troubled, "every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story." Full of sound bites ("What you don't talk out, you act out"), lists ("The Seven Things Every Teen Needs to Hear"), and other refrigerator-magnet-like reminders, this book reads like a transcript from one of Shipp's public-speaking gigs. Parents will find more substantive info in Frances Jensen's The Teenage Brain on why teens act the way they do, as well as better advice and less hype. Agent: Erin Niumata, Folio Literary. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

THE BIGGEST HOLIDAY of the year for parents is not Thanksgiving or Christmas or Mother's Day or Father's Day. It's the day in September your kid goes back to school - or, as I call it, "Tag, You're It!" day. Very soon, for six sweet hours, five delicious days a week, we hand our children over to the loving ministrations of someone who isn't us. As that glorious day nears, this might be a good opportunity to look at a recent crop of books about parenting. How did you do this summer? Yeah, I know. Me too. Thomas Armstrong's THE MYTH OF THE A.D.H.D. CHILD: 101 Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion (TarcherPerigee, paper, $17) is a revised edition of a book that was first published more than 20 years ago, but it is still timely for the many parents who struggle with a question at the beginning of every school year: To medicate or not to medicate? According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 11 percent of children in the United States between the ages of 4 and 17 have received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall have increased steadily since the 1990s, with sales of A.D.H.D. medications projected in one study to reach $17.5 billion by 2020. While hyperactivity does exist, Armstrong says, educators and parents expect too much calm from our kids too soon, and as a result we pathologize normal child behavior, particularly boy behavior. As someone who was once vehemently antidrug, I have seen firsthand how medication can change a child's life ("I imagine this is what it's like to feel normal," my son said, after trying Adderall). Nor do I think drugs are a shortterm solution that necessarily leads to acting-out and selfloathing. Quite the opposite: I've seen medication break the shame spiral that comes with doing badly in school because a child is unable to pay attention, even to subjects he or she enjoys. Nevertheless, medication should be a last resort, and "The Myth of the A.D.H.D. Child" provides many excellent alternative strategies. My teenage son's favorite: "Use Touch to Soothe and Calm." "Can we enlist Maria Sharapova for that one?" he asked hopefully. Don't be misled by the title of Sarah Ockwell-Smith's GENTLE DISCIPLINE (TarcherPerigee, paper, $16). It's not "Fifty Shades of Lite Grey"; it's the latest in her series of popular books in the "gentle" genre. The subtitle, "Using Emotional Connection - Not Punishment - to Raise Confident, Capable Kids," is the giveaway. (Side note: Why do parenting books encourage such blabby subtitles?) Her methodology is not about being permissive, she insists. Rather, it's about good planning, "mutual respect and working with children, not against them." She details the many reasons kids behave badly, and her parenting philosophy can be summed up in this observation: "If you want kids to behave better, you have to make them feel better." We need to become like great schoolteachers, she says, figuring out how our children learn in order to help them grow. Very true. But Ockwell-Smith, who has four children herself, is a solemn teacher, and there's something a little exhausting about the methods proposed in this book. It's never enough to praise a good job; what is it about that job that's good? Ockwell-Smith likes specificity, and she has many strongly held ideas about cutting corners. For example, she believes distracting a little kid is a bad discipline tool, because it "prevents children from feeling, expressing and, therefore, managing emotions. . . . You prevent them from discovering that emotions are O.K." That sounds good, but I am not going to let my kid explore his emotional landscape in the middle of a Wal-Mart, over my refusal to buy the Fisher-Price Power Wheels. I am going to give him a couple of M&M's and get the hell out of there. The subtitle of IGNORE IT! (TarcherPerigee, paper, $16) is "How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction," or, when translated into my vernacular, "How Locking Yourself in Your Room With a Vodka Gimlet and Reruns of Comey's Testimony Can Make You a Better Parent." The family therapist Catherine Pearlman is not suggesting we la-la-la our way through all behavioral issues: If your child is engaging in unsafe or injurious behaviors, it's time to act. But she believes that some of the most annoying kid problems can be snuffed out once a parent acknowledges one of the unwritten rules of parenting: To a child, there is no such thing as "bad" attention. Screaming and shouting from a parent is better than no attention at all. She discusses the scourge of helicopter parenting, and how we have essentially turned our kids into a nation of tiny Willy Lomans, to whom Attention Must Be Paid. To extinguish irritating behavior and encourage the good stuff, Pearlman suggests parents look at their children the way B. F. Skinner looked at pigeons, using his theory that "what happened immediately following an action would determine if that action would be repeated." The less you react to whining and tantrums, the more quickly kids will figure out another tactic that works - say, niceness. The very fact that someone has felt the need to write a book on how to discuss the president of the United States with children - as if he were an illegal substance, or an S.T.D. - says more about the times we're living in than the particulars of the parenting tips given here. HOW DO I EXPLAIN THIS TO MY KIDS? Parenting in the Age of Trump (New Press, paper, $15.95), edited by Sarah Swong and Diane Wachtell, with commentary by Ava Siegler, is part series of essays, part collection of earnest advice. Writer-parents - including those who are gay, Muslim, Jewish and nonwhite - grapple with the question they say their kids are asking, which is essentially: Why does our new president hate us? This book isn't politically evenhanded, nor was it meant to be, but I did particularly enjoy one essay by a teacher, Molly Knefel, who writes that kids are talking about politics in school like never before - possibly because Potus "speaks in threats that a 7-year-old can understand." We should have never heard of Josh Shipp, if the story he tells about himself in THE GROWN-UP'S GUIDE TO TEENAGE HUMANS: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Unshakable Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult (HarperWave, $26.99, to be published in September) is any indication. As a child in the foster care system, Shipp kept a log of his placements that detailed how quickly he was kicked out for bad behavior. It was usually pretty quick. Then, at 14, he was placed with a guy named Rodney. Rodney, a history teacher and middleschool football coach, knew of Shipp's past, and he became the lucky recipient of Shipp's greatest hits: shoplifting, getting drunk at school, passing bad checks. Shipp couldn't get Rodney to kick him out. Finally, after one particularly egregious incident that involved Rodney bailing him out of jail, Rodney sat him down and said: "You gotta get it through your thick head, son. We don't see you as a problem. We see you as an opportunity." Hearing this was the turning point in Shipp's life. His acquired street wisdom commands our attention as he gives us advice about dealing with our teenagers. "What kids don't talk out, they will act out," he says. Shipp is a motivational speaker and the founder of the youth empowerment group Kids These Days, and his most important premise, supported by research, is a little counterintuitive: No matter how your child behaves, his or her biggest concern is not being able to spend time with you. (Though I think my own son's biggest concern is that I will start dancing in front of his friends.) While Shipp's "pay attention always" approach may seem to contradict Pearlman's "ignore" edict, it really doesn't: They are complementary approaches to kids at different stages of life. Shipp talks about how the job of a parent shifts as a child ages from being an "air traffic controller," essentially having control of every aspect of that kid's life, to being a coach. How to create trust and mutual respect is the meat of this book. Mostly it involves doing stufftogether, never bailing on a promise (outside of a dire emergency) and teaching selfgovernance. Make no mistake, Shipp says: "Teens who are in trouble really, truly, do want to get caught." Shipp is an adult now, but he speaks from the point of view of a teenager, and his book resonates deeply. "The Grown-Up's Guide" also contains some amazing stories of adults handling unimaginably horrific situations. Shipp describes foster parents taking in a 10-year-old whose meth-addict parents had been prostituting him for drug money: How exactly do you turn that around? But the foster parents did. Inspiration doesn't have to be grand or fancy. Sometimes it's a simple idea that leaves you with goose bumps: A kid's life can be transformed by a caring adult who's just a little bit more bullheaded than the kid. JUDITH NEWMAN'S "To Siri With Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines" will be published this month. Her column appears every eight weeks.

Table of Contents

Author's Notep. xv
Introduction: Every Kid Needs a "Rodney"p. xvii
Part 1 The Three Key Mindsets
Mindset #1 Teens Need You More Than It Seemsp. 3
Mindset #2 The Game Has Changed and So Must Youp. 17
Mindset #3 You'll Want and Need Helpp. 39
Part 2 The Phases of a Teenage Human
Ages 11-12 The "Who Likes Me?" Phasep. 69
Ages 12-14 The "Who Am I?" Phasep. 73
Ages 14-15 The "Where Do I Belong?" Phasep. 77
Ages 15-16 The "Why Can't I?" Phasep. 81
Ages 16-17 The "How Can I Matter?" Phasep. 85
Ages 17-18 The "What Will I Do?" Phasep. 89
Part 3 Troubleshooting Common Teenage Challenges
Relationship and Communication Challengesp. 95
Getting Them to Take Ownership and Apologizep. 99
What to Do When They Blow Your Trustp. 109
Setting Up Clearly Written House Rulesp. 115
How to Improve Communication with Your Teenp. 125
Difficult and Awkward Conversationsp. 131
How to Talk to Your Teen About Sexp. 135
How to Talk to Your Teen About Deathp. 143
How to Convince Your Teen to Get Helpp. 147
Dangerous or Concerning Behaviorp. 155
Seven Warning Signs Every Parent Must Knowp. 159
I'm Worried My Teen Has an Eating Disorderp. 161
I'm Worried My Teen is Acting Out in Angerp. 167
I'm Worried My Teen is Using Drugsp. 177
I'm Worried My Teen Is Sextingp. 187
I'm Worried My Teen Is Cuttingp. 193
I'm Worried My Teen Is Stressed Outp. 197
Teens and Tech Headachesp. 203
Healthy Boundaries Around Screen Timep. 207
Helping Them Think About What They Post Onlinep. 213
Helping Them Understand the Harmful Effects of Pornographyp. 219
Helping Them Deal with Cyberbulliesp. 227
School and Education Challengesp. 235
How to Think About School and Educationp. 241
How to Help Your Teen Succeed in the New Economyp. 251
How to Respond to a Bad or an Unfair Teacherp. 257
Helping Them Deal with Bulliesp. 267
In Closing: Your Voice Mattes More Than You Knowp. 275
Resources from Josh
The Seven Things Every Teen Needs to Hearp. 279
Twenty-One Ways to Ask Your Teen "How Was School Today?" Without Asking Them "How Was School Today?"p. 281
Forty-Two Ways to Connect with Your Teenp. 283
The Letter Your Teenager Can't Write You (Yet)p. 287
Teen Cell Phone Contractp. 289
Work With Joshp. 293
Acknowledgmentsp. 295
Notesp. 297