YEARS of working with young people led Port Elizabeth born author Sheila du Plessis to write a parenting book, and Step Into Your Future is now available at Nelson Mandela Bay stores.
Du Plessis has already had three books published for teenagers, which were sold directly to schools.
After many years of running life education and relationship courses for young people, she had them to thank for giving her the idea for a parenting series, she said.
"When running courses for young people I used to explain how parents feel bringing up teenagers. They suggested I start courses for parents."
She did, and her course manual developed into a book series.
"I wrote a manual in 2001 and then at the end of 2010 someone asked me to write parenting books. I started writing a book from the manual and this ended in the development of four books."
Du Plessis acknowledged parenting was a challenge and said many parents did not know where to begin.
"My main aim is to help parents discuss issues and work out boundaries through negotiation before problems or challenges arise.
"This book was written to encourage parents not to lose any opportunity to play the most important role of their lives."
When asked about what made her book different, Du Plessis said it was straight forward, simply written and very easy to read.
"I have been told by a reader that she felt the book was like a letter.
"It is a "how to" book, presenting tools and skills to parents on how to develop an open and honest relationship as a family. It also shows them how to empower their children and teenagers to think carefully and to make informed choices so they will be responsible and accountable."
Step Into Your Future, published by Cobble Crab Publishers and Printers, costs R145, and is available at Fogarty's Bookshop.
Trouble-shooting tips raising teens
AUTHOR Sheila du Plessis gives 10 tips to parents learning to cope with the challenges of growing teenagers.
- Communicate: Parents cannot expect teenagers to do as they say without communication.
- Forget about the past: Parents must not remind them of wrong behaviours of the past.
- Be consistent: Children cannot stand double standards, so when you say one thing, do not do another. They watch their parents while drawing their own interpretations and values from this.ŭDiscuss boundaries: Teenagers feel secure when boundaries worked out with parents are in place. Children want and need to know "why".
- Make clear what is acceptable behaviour: Acceptable and unacceptable behaviours must be well defined.
- Do not forget to praise your child: They need effective praise or a small reward for something done on time or done well.This need not be in the form of money, but could be a small privilege.ŭExplain why you do not want them to do something: Parents need to inform children that they don't trust others "out there" and why.
- Do not just say no: Teenagers want to be convinced as to why parents say no to certain things.
- Show your child that there are consequences to actions: They must know what to expect.
- Do not compare your child to a brother or sister: They know their weaknesses and would like others to see their strengths.