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.
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