New York, New York (Vocus) September 15, 2009
Ask most parents to describe their teenage children and you’ll get a string of adjectives like "unresponsive, moody, uncommunicative, lazy, spoiled, sloppy, slobby, selfish, and sensitive." And these traits can apply to the ones that are getting "A’s" on their Report Cards as well as those that aren’t the Steven Hawkins of the classroom.
Turn the tables and ask teenagers to describe their parent’s attitudes toward them, and — when they’re done rolling their eyes — you’re most likely to get a more colorful array of verbiage: "Controlling, demanding, unreasonable, hard-to-please, and strict." Well, those were just the examples our editors allowed us to print.
And that’s how it’s been for ages upon ages. But now help is on the horizon with a new series of books entitled "16 Things Kids Can Do" that deliver "Self-Help Guides to Better Parent/Kid Relations."
The books are unique in that they present a series of problems as defined by parents, then give the child’s normal smart-aleck responses, followed by the kids own research into the what and why of how to address each problem.
But the help for parents and kids doesn’t end there; each problem scenario is addressed by two experts in the field that provide their own testimonies. If the topic of the book is Medical, the Experts also back up their advice with their Specialty, Clinical Interests, Medical Education, Residency, Certifications, and Achievements along with their Hospital Affiliation, Practice, Office Number and Web Site. Additional resources are strategically placed throughout the book, and on the company’s web site and blog.
The books have earned high praise from Mark Victor Hansen, author of the best-selling series of books of all time (Chicken Soup for the Soul). Hansen wrote "16 Things Kids Can Do" takes a unique approach to parenting by engaging and empowering kids to learn and change behaviors on their own without parental involvement. Guided by experts, children learn to work through problems in constructive ways — a process that firmly places them on the path toward achieving the results they want in other areas of their lives!"
Dr. Henry Chen, past president of the Association of Chinese American Physicians in New York City, states "The beauty of the "16 Things" system is that the kids get to check out the beneficial results themselves, and enlist others in their support if they need to. All of the negative emotional baggage from parents vs. kids dynamics is removed from the equation, and what’s left is a strong support network."
Dr. Chen also adds that what attracted him to the books was the underlying message of empowerment for children: "… one of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them to have respect and responsibility for themselves and for their family."
Each book contains a one-page pledge that kids are encouraged to follow using only their signature to themselves as the binding element. Because the underlining focus of the books are empowerment and responsibility, the Pledge states, "This is a promise I make to myself and for myself, because I really do understand why I need to do this stuff." No parents need to add their signatures for acknowledgment or approval. No witnesses are necessary.
The Pledge also contains a running commentary from the kid’s perspective, "I also pledge to drop the power struggle with my parents over these issues because I understand that they have my best interests in mind — even if they don’t always act like it. Besides, constantly struggling with them is counterproductive to my health, well-being and future goals, whatever they may be."
"The conflict takes away my energy, my focus, and my enjoyment of things. So I will work at going with the flow. This I promise. And when I slip up, which I know I will, I’ll work at not making it my folks fault: I’ll own up to it, and strive to do better. I owe it to them and I owe it to myself. This I promise."
As demonstrated in The Pledge, each 6" x 9" book in the series is written from a kid’s perspective and printed in eye-catching full color. Titles include: "16 Things Kids Can Do … To Keep Their Parents Off Their Backs and Out of Their Bathrooms" (Book Topic: Health); "16 Things Kids Can Do … To Get Better Grades In School and Keep Their Parents Out of Their Book Bags" (Book Topic: Education); "16 Things Kids Can Do … To Help Pay for College and Keep Their Parents Out the Poor House" (Finance); "16 Things Kids Can Do … To Eat Right and Help Keep Their Parents Alive Until They’re in Their 90s" (Health, Wellness & Nutrition).
"16 Things Kids Can Do" are the brain-child of author, Lyle Benjamin, who has experienced first-hand the battles with his two young boys over many of the issues contained in his books. Benjamin states that while he has great kids, they "still fail miserably at doing what they are supposed to do, when they’re supposed to do it, and sometimes even how they are supposed to do it. And that’s after they’ve been told, shown and reminded to do it in the first place. In short, I have typical kids."
Benjamin is no stranger to writing about family dynamics: he created and published "Relationship Today" a national newsstand magazine published in the late 1980’s; created a best-selling adult relationship game entitled "Romantic Journey"; and recently co-authored with his son, child-actor, Eric Benjamin, "My Movie with Nicole Kidman" — an insider’s story about the movie business.
"16 Things Kids Can Do" books are available in the Fall from select bookstores, magazine stands, department and drug stores. Each title retails for $14.95; however, a pre-publication discount is in effect from the company’s web site: http://www.16ThingsKidsCanDo.com .
Benjamin also notes that the books can be customized for clients and used for promotional branding purposes. Additionally, the books can be used in conjunction with fund-raising events to help raise money for schools and charities. For more information or to place a book order, visit the company’s web site: http://www.16ThingsKidsCanDo.com. Questions can be addressed email to: 16Things(at)Gmail(dot)com and Lyle Benjamin can be reached directly at 828 398-4883.