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Teens and Parents Should Read Books on Tough Issues


teen reading books tough issues
Denise D. Witmer
The mid to older teen book market is filled with hard core teen issues that many parents would sometimes like to avoid. These aren’t feel-good, the-world-is-bright-and-fluffy fun things to talk about and they can leave you with sad and worried feelings. Parents need to understand that this is why teens want, and need, to read about and process these issues.

Teens have not had a critical thinking ability for very long. Now that they do, it’s like the brain thirsts for the most shocking thing it can try to sort out. Parents see this as the reason why teen gossip is as nasty as it is or teens tend to get themselves into major trouble before they realize that the trouble they are in is major.

Therefore, teen books that portray key teen issues like suicide, teen pregnancy, violence, drug use, etc. are a parent’s best friend. As teens read about these situations, they can test out their decision-making skills: What would they do in this situation? What is the right choice? What are the consequences of certain actions or behaviors?

To help your teen get the most out of reading books about serious issues, read them together. This is especially important since the values presented in a book may not be in line with your own, so you’ll want to take the opportunity to discuss what your family believes in. You can also offer a realistic perspective in cases where fictional outcomes or situations seem less than true to life.

The golden nugget in all of this is that there will be times when you will get to see your teen come to these beneficial conclusions on their own. Or your teen may think of worthwhile ideas you didn’t even fathom. And you thought watching them learn to walk was fun.

Reading books with your teen, or even just parts of them, will do these four things for you:

  • open lines of communication;
  • help you teach your family values;
  • give you insight about your teen as a person;
  • and strengthen your bond with each other.

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