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The Identity Trap:  Saving OUr Teens from Themselves

The Identity Trap: Saving our Teens from Themselves
Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D
New York : AMACOM, 2007
HQ799.15 .N69 2007

"Who do you think you are?"

It's a question almost every parent has asked, or at least considered, in response to a child's undesirable behavior.

Adolescence has never been easy, but these days, teens - in almost epidemic numbers - are engaging in a wide variety of self-destructive behaviors that can often lead to tragic results.

When our teens exhibit disturbing behaviors, like eating disorders, violence, drug use, self-mutilation, thoughts of suicide, and others - we feel frustrated and powerless to stop them. That's because those tried-and-true methods on which we've always depended - punishments and rewards, which work well with young children - fail when dealing with the difficult issues facing our children during adolescence.

At the heart of all these behaviors is the search for identity. Teens are at a juncture in their lives where the safety net of childhood naïveté has been removed, yet the perspective of adulthood is still years away. They are trying to establish who they are for the world to see. But the journey through adolescence is laden with opportunities to make unhealthy choices, and without the benefit of a firmly established identity in place, it's all too tempting for teens to grab on to the first intriguing - and potentially dangerous - opportunity that presents itself.

This groundbreaking book offers insight into the teenage struggle to find identity and purpose, and explains why parents must take a proactive stance in influencing their children's identity development. Presenting an array of illuminating examples and case histories that reveal not only the vast array of behaviors that can stem from an identity crisis, but also the societal magnitude of the problem, Dr. Joseph Nowinski also provides specific and practical advice about what parents should and shouldn't do in order to stem the tide of negative behavior before it's too late.

A potential lifesaver for teens and their concerned families, The Identity Trap:

  • Addresses common teen problems such as alienation, oppositional behavior, academic underachievement and failure, and specific manifestations of identity crises such as eating disorders, violence, drug use, and other self-destructive acts, like "cutting."
  • Offers "Heads Up" and "Guiding Your Teen" sections in each chapter, with signs to watch out for and step-by-step guidance on steering any teenager's search for identity in a healthy direction.
  • Answers the questions most commonly asked by parents facing the challenge of guiding a teen into a productive and happy adulthood.

Author Joseph Nowinski has worked with hundreds of children, teens, and their families, and he brings to this book the wisdom of lessons learned and the priceless practical strategies he and his clients have used to help young people chart a healthy course through one of the most challenging and important stages of their lives.

Quoted from dustjacket.