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Author Jim Burns’ goal in writing Understanding Your Teen is to help parents raise kids “who love God and who will one day become responsible adults.”

Burns assures parents that they are the most important influence in their children’s lives, despite all evidence to the contrary. He also entreats parents to lead their families and to resist the temptation of burying their heads in the sand when faced with the vast cultural changes impacting their teens.

In the first section of this practical, factual book, Burns covers topics such as teaching healthy sexuality, creating a media-safe home environment, finding intimacy in marriage during your children’s teen years, and dealing with troubled teens. Each chapter concludes with several questions for reflection and discussion that can be answered individually, as a couple, or in a group study.

The second section of the book deals with common issues that teens face—bullying, dating violence, depression, self-injury, sexual abuse, suicide, and sleep, to name a few—and ways in which parents can help them.

Throughout his book, Burns urges parents to lean on God for strength, wisdom, and the courage “to fight to keep a biblical worldview in front of our teens.” He also encourages parents to be proactive leaders, to become informed about culture, to seek support instead of hiding and feeling shame when difficulties with teens arise, and, most important, to “never give up on someone. Miracles happen every day.”

Parents, pastors, youth leaders, teachers, and anyone else who lives with or works with tweens and teens will find in this book a valuable resource. (IVP)

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