How to hug a hedgehogHow to Hug a Hedgehog by Brad Wilcox & Jerrick Robbins 
Reviewer’s rating:  
Where to buy: Exisle Publishing and selected retailers

Offering 12 tips for connecting with teens this is a well titled book and it uses the analogy of hugging hedgehogs without overdoing it. Just like teenagers who often put forward a prickly exterior, the hedgehog can be approached and handled with care and love.

This book’s authors have both academic and real personal experience of dealing with teenagers – and they are open about sharing what has worked for them and what may not have worked as well as they hoped!

Sharing stories of personal experiences, the tips are written in an approachable and non judgmental way.
Essentially adopting the principle that a parent’s role is to love the child and being consistent.

Perhaps easier said than done at times, however this book will go a long way to helping parents who are feeling frustrated and confused at the behaviour of their teenager.

Features and benefits

  • simple and powerful phases such as “hear them cry” offer ways to interpret behaviours that may otherwise be judged as confrontational or difficult
  • an easy to follow structure has a logical flow and offers good consistent advice and insights to the behaviour of teenagers and what may often lie behind it
  • real stories give insights to situations that may well reflect what the reader is going through and make it easier to relate
  • includes tips on how to identify what the teenager cares about and connect with that, calling it the “loose brick” in the wall that teenagers often build around themselves
  • offers reinforcement and reassurance for parents to just do the best you know how to
  •  each chapter has examples and concrete examples before closing with a list of tips or “invitations to action”
  • written in three sections that parents of teenagers often struggle with – Communication, Overcoming Adversity and Build Self Esteem
  • includes useful statistics that are presented in a way that is not overwhelming or confusing
  • includes useful resources and website references
  • covers the tough issues of puberty, peer pressure, confidence and teenage hopes and fears
  • has a section on how to advise or warn a teenager without going over the top or making them “prickly”

Reviewer’s Experience

The language of this book is so powerful and straightforward that it offers reassurance even to a frazzled parent. Using stories and examples it comes across as genuinely trying to help rather than judging the reader or the teenager.

Gives some very powerful take away tips:
– be constant, consistent and offer unconditional love
– like learning the piano, dealing with teenagers requires patience, effort and practice
– love + standards + values + expectations are what our teenagers need from us and what we need to give them so they become the adults that we hope they can be