Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- A Parent's Guide to Coping with Adolescent Friendships: The Three Musketeer Phenomenon by M. C. Gore Camerer

Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- A Parent's Guide to Coping with Adolescent Friendships: The Three Musketeer Phenomenon by M. C. Gore Camerer

Article excerpt

Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas. 161 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-398-05892-X, price $28.75.

Peers play a central role in determining how well a young person handles the challenges of adolescence. They often gain influence at the expense of parents, a shift that can lead to parent-adolescent conflict. Camerer's book is an attempt to "help parents understand the importance of friends to their child's growth and development" (p. x). She tries to accomplish this goal by offering a combination of personal anecdotes and experiences, excerpts from interviews with adolescents and adults, and research on adolescent and adult friendships.

The first two chapters focus on the notion of friendship and how it changes from infancy through adulthood. Chapter three provides a brief overview of adolescent developmental issues, including cognitive, social, and moral reasoning skills as they relate to making and keeping friends. The next two chapters discuss in detail the processes of establishing and maintaining friendships. Chapter six and seven focus on the importance of talk and gender differences in friendships. The last three chapters deal with problems in friendships, how friendships break down and dissolve, and, finally, what parents can do to cope with their adolescents' friendships.

Some of the most interesting and helpful material is excerpts from interviews with adolescents Camerer uses as springboards for discussion or to illustrate a particular point. As a whole, however, the writing is uneven. At other times, Camerer presents detailed histories of research or lengthy explanations of scientific terms, both of which can be confusing to parents and which often detract from the focus of the discussion. Camerer is at her best when she writes in a conversational style. Unfortunately, the book falls short of one of its primary goals: effectively translating research and theory into good practice for parents. …

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