Vanessa Van Petten is the creator of RadicalParenting.com, a parenting website written from the teen perspective to help parents understand them. Her approach has been featured by CNN, Fox News, and Wall Street Journal. She was also on the Real Housewives of Orange County helping the housewives with troubled teens. She is also the author of the parenting book, “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?”
When I was 16 I thought it was my Dad’s goal in life to make me miserable. I was convinced that he had a running list of all the ways he could embarrass me in front of my friends, trick me into doing more chores or make my curfew earlier.
Our relationship would have continued to devolve until one day I saw my Dad reading a parenting book. I flipped through it while my Dad was in the bathroom and realized a lot of the things he did that drove me crazy he was getting right out of this book! I looked at the other parenting books on our shelves and realized that they were all written by adults. I wondered—has anyone ever asked teens to write to their parents?
I decided to build a website where teens could answer questions and write to parents called RadicalParenting.com. I couldn’t believe how quickly it grew and how happy both teens were to get their voices out and parents were to have a new outlet for connecting with their kids! We now have over 120 teen writers who give advice.
Teenagers, when given a neutral space LOVE talking to parents and often offer some of the best insight because they are going through it themselves. We have also be so excited to help parents who feel like they cannot reach their kids and teens.
I think teens and parents can work together to overcome their differences and learn to work best together. We have just come out with our book: “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?” and it is a radical approach to parenting because it is written from the kid’s perspective! We would love for you to check it out—if you are brave enough to see what kids have to say!
What is this book about?
So, you have to forget the old parenting book approach – this book gives parents a totally new way to reach their teenagers because it’s the only book that tweens and teens helped write – so we are hearing first-hand advice that actually works! It gets right to the heart of the problems and offers straightforward prescriptive – and effective advice. This is a very different approach to parenting that tackles these modern problems.
What makes this book different?
Before now there has only been resources written from one side of the family equation….the adults. This is the first book that gets both sides talking. What’s more, the book goes a step further by using techniques that human lie-dectectors use: What does a teenager’s face look like when they are lying? What questions do parents need to ask to get the truth?
Here is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say:
“Van Petten, founder of the popular Web site RadicalParenting.com, offers parents a candid view of the contemporary teen’s world in this eye-opening text. Van Petten uses actual stories about teens and their often anxious, angry, or befuddled parents to introduce each chapter. Pointing out that she is neither a parent nor a teen (nor a doctor, therapist, or counselor), the college-grad author has nevertheless earnestly investigated her subject and includes current research on teens as well as hundreds of “real quotes, interviews, e-mails and advice from actual teens.
Van Petten explores a variety of timely subjects, including peer relationships, teen/parent communication, bullying, technology, and “risky business” (smoking, drinking, sex, and more). Her outlook on technology and “Internet savvy” is particularly incisive, emphasizing not only the hazards of “time-suck” activities (i.e., Facebook, chatting on IM, and texting) but also the many social and academic benefits of the digital universe. Like a crafty spy, Van Petten comfortably segues from parent to teen perspective, and while noting that each adolescent is unique, she skillfully opens doors to the collective teen psyche. “ –Publishers Weekly
To learn more, visit Vanessa Van Petten’s parenting website, RadicalParenting.com.
Disclosure: I was happy to feature Vanessa’s guest post because she is an online colleague in my bloggy world and I am impressed with her effective work with teens and their families. No compensation was received for posting.