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    BOOKS – ‘The Influential Parent’ (By David Damico)


    SUBTITLE: ‘How to Be the Person Your Teen Really Needs’

    If parent of teens read this book and took it to heart, there would be fewer tragic headlines about teens in trouble. Damico, a local author, holds a masters degree in pastoral counseling and is the author of Faces of Rage. In this, his second book, Damico details (in a user friendly language you will appreciate) strategies for every parent’s greatest challenge — getting a kid through adolescence safely and successfully. One of the things I liked best about this work is that it credits parents and their teenage children for having brains. He also cleverly acknowledges the fact that some of us are striving to be Ward and June Cleaver in the pursuit of being ideal parents. Instead of preaching that parents must be perfect, Damico encourages them to be good enough.

    Damico introduces and explains what he calls a “limited partnership” in which teenagers are increasingly involved as decision-makers and responsibility bearers through the growing-away years. He presents a series of plans and strategies that call for a careful read in order to cultivate new understanding.

    You’ll find 13 chapters of the book chock-full of useful information on topics ranging from “Is It That Hard to Raise Teenagers?” to “Eight Steps to Creative Parenting and Partnering.” In between, he deals with ways to get teenagers involved getting help when parenting feels like a losing battle, and becoming a person your teenager will follow. I really like the book’s readable format and the way Damico’s ideas are supported with helpful steps, understandable reasons and realistic alternatives. You’ll be particularly interested in Damico’s presentation of eight influential rules, six meaningful messages, and four powerful approaches. You’ll also be able to head common problems off at the pass when you understand what Damico calls “five forms of resistance.”

    The Influential Parent will not leave you feeling inadequate and defeated. Its no-nonsense, practical approach makes it a user’s manual with option upon option for helping parents and teens to adopt a comfortable, if not mutual, relating style.

    Damico understands that parenting gets more complicated as kids get older. I got the feeling as I read this book that Damico both speaks to parents’ best intentions while warning that without investing time, interest and energy, best intentions won’t succeed at creating the partnership he espouses.

    Paul McShane of Carlsbad is an author, businessman and journalist.

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