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Tales of teendom may help parents' sanity

Special correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 04:02 AM

"I've Had It Up to Here with Teenagers," by Melinda Rainey Thompson (John F. Blair)

With three teens in her household and a husband who is a judge, Melinda Rainey Thompson gives a sketch of what parenting is all about. Thompson takes full responsibility for rearing her children and getting them through this unpredictable time. Thank goodness she has a sense of humor. I gather her children don't always see it as such.

She considers herself a "mean mama." They live in Alabama, and the Southern charm rings loud and clear in many episodes. She isn't interested in being their best friend or friending them on Facebook. Her job is to "protect and defend."

There are three main sections: Life Lessons, The Comforts of Home and Teens on the Loose. Each section has several topics that cover just about everything that parents experience with teens.

At the end of many of the topics, she includes a list of quotes from teens. She even includes a rebuttal from her oldest son, the only one who wrote one. She also gave each one a chance to remove anything embarrassing.

Thompson admits she's not an expert in parenting, but she recognizes her need to share and hear other stories. She readily shares many experiences, and the reader can feel better just knowing they are not the only ones going through this trying time.

When parents are living through this stage, it can be lonely and terrifying, especially when it's the first child. Heaven help single parents.

Some parents find that sharing experiences with other parents made them feel better. Yes, it can be embarrassing, and one rarely feels that the right decision has been made. There are usually some similarities.

By sharing the load, the weight is lifted a little. The author calls living with teenagers "triage parenting." She says that one of her greatest challenges is that her three children are different. She had to keep creating new ways to deal with each child.

Thompson's book is sure to bring back memories for readers. It's definitely worth reading, especially if there's a teen or preteen lurking on your horizon.

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