Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian DrewA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAfterAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAmelia RulesAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsArtemis FowlAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond Diversity DayBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBill HensonBipolar DisordersBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoyBoysBrandedBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingCan't Eat, Won't EatCatalystChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinContentious IssuesCrackedCutDancing in My NuddypantsDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDoing ItDoing SchoolDying to Be ThinEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismElijah's CupEllison the ElephantEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEvery Girl Tells a StoryFast GirlsFeather BoyFiregirlForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillGeography ClubGeorgia Under WaterGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlsourceGirlWiseGLBTQGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGrowing Up GirlHandbook for BoysHealing ADDHeartbeatHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHollow KidsHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHug MeIntrusive ParentingIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalJake RileyJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKeeping the MoonKilling MonstersKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLearning About School ViolenceLeo the Lightning BugLet Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLittle ChicagoLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogManicMastering Anger and AggressionMind FieldsMiss American PieMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MonsterMore Than a LabelMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNo Two AlikeNot Much Just Chillin'Odd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming School AnxietyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeriod PiecesPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellPretty in PunkPrincess in the SpotlightProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Psychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsRaising a Self-StarterRaising BlazeRaising Resilient ChildrenReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRineke DijkstraRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRunning on RitalinSay YesSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceShooterShort PeopleShould I Medicate My Child?Skin GameSmackSmashedStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStoner & SpazStop Arguing with Your KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrong, Smart, & BoldStudent DepressionSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeen Angst? NaaahThat SummerThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Arctic IncidentThe Bipolar ChildThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Eternity CubeThe Explosive ChildThe Field of the DogsThe First IdeaThe Identity TrapThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Little TernThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Men They Will BecomeThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Nurture AssumptionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Other ParentThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Shared HeartThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Thought that CountsThe Unhappy ChildThe Vile VillageThe Whole ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreacherous LoveTrue BelieverTwistedUnhappy TeenagersWay to Be!We're Not MonstersWhat about the KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhere The Kissing Never StopsWhose America?Why Are You So Sad?WinnicottWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!You Hear MeYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
Related Topics

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Parenting
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)
Child Development & Parenting: Middle (8-11)
Childhood Special Education
Child Development Theory: Adolescence (12-24)

by William Glasser
HarperCollins, 2002
Review by Kevin M. Purday on Dec 30th 2002

Unhappy Teenagers

This book is in many ways a very moving witness to the indisputable help that the author has given to numerous families over the years. William Glasser is better known in the U.S.A. than on the other side of the Atlantic but the problems he deals with are to be found everywhere and the suggested solutions he comes up with are universally relevant.

Glasser is a psychiatrist who has thought deeply about the nature and role of psychiatry. In the days before the debate about the nature of mental illness really got off the ground, he had decided that much of so-called mental illness is not organically based, i.e. it has no basis in any physical or chemical abnormality of the brain. He became an ardent supporter of Peter Breggin, often called the Ralph Nader of psychiatry, who over the last ten years has issued a stream of books attacking the (mis)use of drugs and electro-convulsive therapy in the treatment of mental illness. In Europe, Professor Thomas Szasz is better known than Breggin but both have made impassioned pleas for all mental illnesses to be treated as reactions to deeply rooted unhappiness, except where there is indisputable evidence of organic disease as, for example, in Alzheimer’s. Those reactions may not be the most helpful in the long run but they are the only reactions that the unhappy person can come up with. It is the job of the psychiatrist and the therapist to help that person transform their situation and react in a way that is, in the long term, positive and life enhancing. That is precisely what this book sets out to do.

Thirty five years ago Glasser set up the Institute for Reality Therapy whose aim was to help people direct their own lives, make more effective choices and in general cope constructively with the stresses of life. Trained therapists established a relationship of trust with those seeking help and then helped them to discover what they really wanted and to plan how to achieve it. In the 1990s Glasser added a further dimension to Reality Therapy with the development of his Choice Theory and it is this that forms the foundation for his book Unhappy Teenagers. Put simply, Choice Theory states that we are all trying to satisfy five basic needs: Love/Belonging, Freedom, Fun, Power and Survival. The basic tenet of the theory is that the only behaviour we can control is our own. Applied to the parents and teachers of teenagers the message is simple: stop trying to control them; it won’t work and all you will succeed in doing is alienating them and destroying your relationship with them. Applied to the teenagers themselves, the message is that they must assume responsibility for their actions while supportive parents and teachers accept them for who they are.

This message is clearly and often emotionally delivered by a series of case studies: Kim and Jody, mother and teenage daughter; Ken and John, cardiologist and his teenage son; Donald, Robert, Curtis and Bob who are respectively a school counsellor, a disruptive teenager, a supportive fellow teenager and another school counsellor; Roger, Susan and Teri, father, mother and a teenage daughter; Jackie and Joan, the daughter from hell and a long suffering mother; Starr, Sara and Ed, an anorexic teenage girl and her parents; Craig and Maureen, a diagnosed schizophrenic high school student and his mother; and Fred, a divorced father of three teenage girls, a man almost overwhelmed by emotional problems. Most of these case studies occupy a chapter and some two. There are also chapters on the fallacy of control attempts, choice theory, the failure of many educational establishments and the important role the school counsellor can play – a chapter largely written by Glasser’s wife, Carleen, herself a school counsellor.

This book would be of enormous help to anyone whose children are approaching or are in the course of their teenage years; even those with offspring in their troublesome twenties may find it useful! The advice is sound – your relationship with them is more important than that they lead their lives in the way you want. The case studies contain conversations between Glasser and both the teenagers and the parents. These are sufficiently detailed to act as exemplars for the reader. It is also a book that should be on the shelves of every school counsellor although I suspect that it would spend little time on the shelf, as it would be on loan to one set of parents after another!

Is there a down side to the book? Well, yes, unfortunately there is. Reading it is rather like watching commercial television with numerous advertisements for Glasser’s books. Doubtlessly, his books have much to recommend them but the sales spiel which punctuates this book is distinctly irritating as is the heavy handed advertising in Appendix A which lists his publications for the last five years and reminds readers that they can all be obtained from William Glasser Inc. which is housed at the William Glasser Institute (address, phone number, fax number, e-mail address and website all supplied). Appendix B is a further bout of advertising for his books along with video and audio materials. Such overt commercialism sits ill with the serious intentions of the book but is of a piece with the egotism Glasser frequently displays throughout the book. This is perhaps most obvious in his disdain for much of the educational system: “...there are serious flaws in the school system that make it impossible for many students to feel successful in school. Just to mention one of these concerns, as long as we have the ABCDF grading system or its equivalent, very few students who do not get a B or higher can feel successful in school.” (p.19) However, instead of a reasoned analysis of the flawed system, we have what is basically an appeal to his status: “I have spent more time working in schools for the last forty years than almost any other expert and I am a recognised authority on education.” (p.131) As you may have guessed, Glasser has written a book called Every Student Can Succeed (only available through William Glasser Inc. at the William Glasser Institute). What you might not have guessed is that failing schools can apply to undergo a special Glasser training system that, upon successful completion, entitles them to call themselves Glasser Quality Schools. All this is a bit much.

Despite these criticisms, the book is essentially sound and should be of enormous help to many parents, teachers and counsellors who are torn between trying to change teenagers’ destructive and frequently self-destructive behaviour on the one hand and yet on the other hand are aware that in doing so all they are accomplishing is the destruction of their own relationship with those teenagers. If you are in that situation, please read the book. You may even find the commercialism and egotism far less irritating than this reviewer did!

 

 

© 2002 Kevin M. Purday                      

Kevin M. Purday teaches at Worthing Sixth Form College, in the UK, and is currently a distance-learning student on the Philosophy & Ethics of Mental Health course in the Philosophy Dept. at the University of Warwick.




Contact Information

Sarah Dinklage, LICSW
Executive Director

sdinklage@risas.org

Charles Cudworth, MA
Director, SAS

ccudworth@risas.org

Leigh Reposa, MSW, LICSW
Program Manager
lreposa@risas.org

Colleen Judge, LMHC                  Manager, SAS
cjudge@risas.org 

Kathleen Sullivan
Manager, Community Prevention
ksullivan@risas.org


300 Centerville Rd.
Suite 301 South 
Warwick, RI 02886
401-732-8680


powered by centersite dot net