The Identity Trap: Saving Our Teens from Themselves

The Identity Trap: Saving Our Teens from Themselves

The Identity Trap: Saving Our Teens from Themselves

The Identity Trap: Saving Our Teens from Themselves


Silver Winner, 2008 Nautilus Book Awards, Parenting/Family category

"Violent behavior. Eating disorders. Drug use and drinking. Self-mutilation. These are just some of the troubling issues arising with increased frequency among teens. As they negotiate adolescence, our children become harder to reach -- and are more at risk. In order to help them, we need to understand what is really behind their problems. The answer lies in the very nature of adolescence: the quest for identity.

""Who am I?"" is the central question of growing up, and The Identity Trap gets to the heart of why our teens so easily fall prey to their own worst impulses and to the destructive habits of their peers. Nowinski, a psychologist who has worked with troubled teens for over two decades, demonstrates that traditional methods of discipline (e.g. reward and punishment) will have no lasting effect if the root causes of teens' problems are left unchecked. This eye-opening book offers real solutions for opening the lines of communication and helping children survive the seemingly universal perils of growing up.

Filled with inspiring real-life stories, The Identity Trap will resonate with those parents frustrated by their inability to combat their children's problems; with parents looking to prevent problems; and with professionals seeking a better way to help kids find the right path to adulthood."


If your five-year-old son or daughter were to climb a tree to a height that made you anxious, an appropriate response might be, “Get down from that tree this minute!” On the other hand, if you find that your fifteen-year-old son or daughter has climbed a tree to a precarious height, a better response is, “Why are you in that tree?” Similarly, if your five-year-old throws a toy at a friend, an appropriate response might be, “Go sit in the corner!” On the other hand, if your fifteen-year-old throws a punch at someone, the better response would be, “Who do you think you are?” In this book, I will explain why this is so.

You will find that this book challenges you to let go of many ideas you may have about the best way to guide your teenager toward a happy and successful adulthood. It will help you to understand why the way you parented your child when he or she was in fact a child may actually work against you once he or she becomes an adolescent. The truth is that many of the things that seemed to be the natural, commonsense things to do when your children were toddlers and preteens turn out to be exactly the wrong things to do just a few years later. To effectively parent a teenager, you need to let go of the way you parented your child and move on to a new way of parenting your teen. The reasons, which will become clear as you read on . . .

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