Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mother's Day Giveaway - Dear Mom

The giveaway in honor of Mother's Day continues, and this time it's a book for moms!

I was intrigued by Melody Carlson's latest book, Dear Mom. Written from the perspective of a teenage girl, the book's aim is to give moms a peek inside our daughter's heart and mind. I totally "get" the premise and appreciate the author's attempt to smooth what can be a tough season when the mother-daughter relationship seems loaded with land mines. However, while there were positive elements, I was a bit disappointed in the book. I read it in pieces on several occasions and just couldn't connect with it. Maybe I'm just too "old" of a mom, but it ended up annoying me more than anything.

The chapters were intriguing. Titles such as "Relationships Confuse Me Sometimes", "I'm Watching You Even When You're Not Looking", and "I'm Not As Confident As Maybe I Appear to Be" clearly delineate the push/pull and confusion of the teenage years. But I became a little weary as I read it because I got the sense that "understanding a teenager" is the equivalent of "parenting the way teens would prefer", and I just can't buy into that. I was a bit perplexed by the implied premise that if I just realized what is going through my girl's head, I would not make the parenting decisions I do. Statements like "you think you know more because you're the adult" (p. 79), whether made about the teenage years in general or a specific area such as communication, got under my skin. I remember quite well what it was like to be a teenager! (And dads remember - with a shudder! - being teenage boys, which is precisely why they're so protective of their baby girls!) However, my teen girl (or yours) has never been a mom to one. Some of the things in this book that are listed as irritants to a teen also aggravated me way back when I was a teenager. But now that I'm "all grown up", I have a different persepective and the wisdom to recognize that my folks were right about some things after all! I actually chuckled at the list of "Things I'll Never Say When I'm a Mom" -- it didn't make me vow not to say them; on the contrary, I just wanted to respond, "Oh, yes, you will!"

A couple of final things which bothered me (possibly the most) were the chapters on privacy "no matter what" and the comment "Continue inviting me (without guilt) to attend church with you." While I certainly recognize each family situation is different, I cringe at the tendency of many parents to back off and let the teens choose whether to attend church. I'm not talking about a harsh dictatorship. But I do think there need to be some clear non-negotiables in families until a child becomes an adult and is self-supporting. I think about Cassie Bernall, one of the Columbine victims. She went through a very rebellious stage (involving drugs, witchcraft and other troublesome activities) in her early teen years, and her parents refused to yield their authority. Instead, they searched her room, set firm limits on her activities and friendships, and continued to insist upon church attendance. And apparently it was at a church retreat that Cassie had an encounter with Christ that turned her life around. Her parents' actions saved her life eternally. I don't think if they had just "invited" her to church in the midst of her rebellion that she would have cooperated.

So those are just some of my thoughts. Please know that I don't mean any of this in a mean-spirited or judgmental way. The book has some good points to ponder; I just wish it had come across differently. I'll be interested in knowing what you think!

Every mom knows how communicating with a teenage girl can be difficult, even impossible at times. One-word answers. Defensive conversations. Daily arguments. How typical for teens to put up such barriers. All the while, moms truly long to know what their daughters really think.

Best-selling author Melody Carlson, whose books for women, teens, and children have sold more than three million copies, bridges this chasm with trusted insight. She speaks frankly in the voice of the teen daughters she’s written for and she tells it like it is: struggles with identity, guys, friendship, and even parents—it’s all here. The straight-talk to moms covers such things as
  • “I need you, but you can’t make me admit it,”
  • “I’m not as confident as I appear,” and
  • “I have friends. I need a mother.”
Instead of focusing on outward behaviors, Dear Mom looks at a young woman’s heart and reveals to moms:
  • how to talk to teens so they hear,
  • how to connect despite the differences of perspective or years and experiences,
  • and how to strengthen the bond every mom and daughter ultimately wants.
The lively chapters in Dear Mom can be dipped into topically or used as a read-through tool by moms and daughters alike to understand what motivates or deflates, troubles or inspires—and just in time for Mother’s Day and all the Mother’s Days ahead.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than one hundred books for adults, children, and teens, with sales totaling more than three million copies. Beloved for her Diary of a Teenage Girl and Notes from a Spinning Planet series, she’s also the author of the women’s novels Finding Alice (in production now for a Lifetime-TV movie), Crystal Lies, On This Day, These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking, and A Mile in My Flip-Flops. A mother of two grown sons, Melody lives in central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. She’s a full-time writer and an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.


I have a copy of this book to give to TWO of you! Leave a comment on this post by 6:00 p.m. CDT Thursday (5/7) and I will draw 2 winners. Continental US Residents only, please. Again, you'll get an additional entry if the giveaway button is posted on your blog!

Happy Reading and Active Parenting!


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A Stone Gatherer said...

I agree with you Linda! Parents are all to eager it seems to allow teens to do as they want in order to keep them friends! I do not look forward to the coming season, but I love my kids to much to be only a friend! Church also is not a negotible!

sara said...

you don't need to put me in the giveaway as my girl is grown.

However, I wanted you to know that I so appreciate your honest reviews! And I agree you completely that there needs to be clear non-negotiables in families. so many parents these days are afraid and, dare I say it, too lazy to put boundaries on their children. I heard a speaker at MOPS say recently "if you want your children to change, YOU need to change. You need to be willing to make the changes in YOUR life to follow through with consequences and punishments." Very true!

♪♪Melody♪♪ and Puddin said...

Please put me in for this. Thanks

12-arrows said...

do so enter me, I have a tween-age daughter, our first after 9 boys, so anything that will help me help her is welcome!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is only three, but I'm already seeing teenage-like tendencies in her. :) Puberty should be fun!

I just ordered Vicki Courtney's 5 Conversations You Should Have with Your Daughter. I figure it's never too early to start preparing. Thank you! :)

momagain67 said...

My 16yo daughter and I are both huge Melody Carlson fans! And I am all for anything that sheds a little light on the inner workings of a teenage girl! I also agree with you on many of your comments. Praise the Lord I have two daughters who really enjoy and look forward to going to Church/Sunday school/ youth group :)

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

Now I wanna read it and I don't even have girls!

christin said...

This sounds AWESOME! Thanks!

Susan D said...

Maybe I need this book. My daughter and I seem so far apart and I just can't get a handle on why. Blessings, SusanD