When entering a new season or stage of parenting, many parents will turn to the experts, books, or blogs for help in navigating these new unchartered waters. I have books on my shelves that range from caring for babies to raising teens, and everything in between.
Since I am still fairly new at parenting a teenager (my oldest is 14) and we still have many teen years ahead of us (I have 8 children), I was intrigued by the book My Teenage Zombie: Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent in Your Home by David L. Henderson, MD.
While this book far exceeded my expectations in some ways, in others, it left me a little disappointed, but I have mostly myself to blame for that. I’ll touch on this in a bit, but first let me tell you a little about the book.
Dr. Henderson uses the zombie analogy throughout his book to compare a teenager whose psychological and social development have seemed to stopped, to that of a zombie. The author equates the life of a zombie to one without spark, without pulse, and without fiber. In the book, he dissects the parts of a teenage zombie (brain, heart, and spirit), explains how teenagers get into a zombie-state, and provides helpful strategies for parents to awaken their teenager.
The book also addresses fears that parents may have as they face the challenges of parenting a teen, as well as personal challenges they may be battling. Through practical strategies and real-life examples, Dr. Henderson goes on to provide parents with the means to help launch their teenager into young adulthood with motivation, determination, and direction.
My Teenage Zombie is laid out in a manner that was easy to read, follow, and understand. It’s broken down into three parts, containing 12 chapters total. Each chapter ends with Strategy Questions to help the reader dig deeper, to personalize the content, and to put it to use.
Now I’m not a big zombie fan, so I didn’t appreciate the whole zombie analogy as much as some might, but I can see how it would resonate with many and also how using it is helpful in understanding teenage behavior.
I had a few expectations and made some assumptions before I even received this book in the mail. I was expecting a book that would tell me how to motivate my teen – plain and simple. I got way more than that – which was a good thing. The author goes into way more detail than I was expecting about how the teenage mind and heart work, and how to guide, motivate, and reawaken them. However, I assumed that this book was a Christian parenting book. Being that it was published by W Publishing Group, a division of Tommy Nelson, I just assumed it was a Christian book. Even after receiving the book and noticing that the category on the back read Religion/Christian Life/Family, I thought my assumptions were correct until I began reading. If you are a Christian parent looking for a book that offers you help and advice on raising, communicating with, and motivating your teenager that is rooted in scripture, this is not that book.
I do believe that the author is a Christian based on the few places he does mention God in the book and the several endnotes that reference scripture, as well as his association with the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, the Christian Medical and Dental Association, and Dallas Theological Seminary. But this book is written from a medical and clinical view, rather than a spiritual and scriptural view.
With all of that said, I’m not saying this is a bad book; I’m not saying that at all. I actually thought it was a very good book with a lot of practical teenage parenting helps, especially for this day and age. I believe that this book would be a beneficial read for any parent nearing, or in, the teenage years – Christian, or not.
My Teenage Zombie is available in paperback wherever books are sold, as well as Kindle format.
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