In her book Parenting 2.0, licensed counselor Tricia Ferrara works hard to pull helicopter parents out of a 20th-century awards/rewards mindset and into the 21st-century era of social media and compartmentalized thinking. In her chapter titled “Decoding Teens,” for example, Ferrara argues that high SAT scores and athletic trophies are not enough, particularly when the parents have set a child’s parameters; a teen must learn to have a longer-view vision in mind and know how to employ the proper tools to step in that direction: “A new strain of obstacle unique to the 21st century is surfacing. Inertia, the inability to change trajectory or put oneself in motion, is a real threat to the surge of energy that is necessary to propel adolescents forward.” Ferrara follows her claim with a practical discussion of how parents should engage teens differently in our Google Age world.
“Slowly but surely, key words began to emerge – adaptability, entrepreneurialism, moral imagination, sustainability, digital, resilience, saliency, viral, exploit, risk, strategy, self-organizing, neural connections, consciousness, immunity – all parts of a new script, one free of the old fear-based paradigms for child raising, yet full of human connection, creativity, and imagination, which comprise the essential fuel to assimilate this way of thinking.”
As she tackles a variety of issues from Wikis and Facebook to bullying and self-esteem, Ferrara does a nice job of directing parents away from an affirmation-only mindset and into a broader view of parenting as a lifelong relationship with lasting repercussions. Our greatest influence as parents comes in how we live our lives, offering our kids tools for success by our own examples, or hampering them with our own hypocritical choices or constant hovering. For parents brave enough to face their millennials head-on, Parenting 2.0 is an excellent choice.
Dr. Jennie A. Harrop is a professor at George Fox University, where she teaches writing and Christian apologetics. She has written book reviews for more than a decade for publications that range from major daily newspapers such as the Denver Rocky Mountain News to literary magazines such as Western American Literature and Colorado Review. With a PhD in English from the University of Denver, an MFA in creative writing from Colorado State University, and a BA in journalism from Pacific Lutheran University, she is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree through George Fox Evangelical Seminary. After several years as a news reporter in the 1980s and 1990s for such newspapers as The Oregonian, the Chicago Tribune, and The Tacoma News Tribune, Dr. Harrop returned to academia to focus on teaching. Since that time, she has taught English and writing courses at five colleges and universities, and she has published a variety of books, essays, book reviews, and short stories, including three children’s books for Oxford University Press and the critical book titled Angling for Repose: Wallace Stegner and the De-Mythologizing of the American West. A fifth-generation Oregonian, she lives in Sherwood with her husband, Karl, and their five children.
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