Communicate with your teen

between parent and teenager by Haim Ginott

Between Parent and Teenager

Dr. Haim Ginott is considered to be an expert on parent child communications. Many of his theories are still in practice today. From a library perspective, this is an important book, particularly in libraries supporting research in parenting, child psychology, education, and other similar programs. Public libraries might have to think twice about retaining this book. Although important, the experience and culture is reflective of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Situations, language, and discussions of sexuality and gender, are reflective of that time and might not be a first choice for today’s parent.

To weed or not to weed, that is the question. (Apologies to the Bard.) This decision should probably be decided by circulation and space available. Smaller libraries might have to let this one go, but larger and deeper collections can probably retain.

I will also tell you as a parent and a librarian, that most parenting books fall under the category of “unattainable knowledge” along with diet books, productive meetings, dating, having fun at work, etc.



rebellion and response early dating human values healing dialogue


  1. This is a guide for parents and not for teens. If a parent needs to “throw the book at ’em.” they can instead gently suggest books to help teens understand themselves. I love how writers on autism have reopened our understanding to how our brains are wired, how we all are not different from each other but each person has their own development that is unique and individual as when you may hear: “When you meet an autistic person, you have met ONE autistic person.” When a teen comes to tearful terms of how hard their own existence is yes difficult and hard then parents can be there with open ears and arms to say “I know”. So which books can help teenagers show this to parents. Maybe the book needs to be reedited from the other point of view?

  2. I don’t know. You gotta keep one book on the shelves from Haim Ginott: he sounds too kind and compassionate to not have one book at least. Not unlike at least one book from Viktor Frankl….although the section on Teenage Sex and Human Values speaks from a binary point of view while refusing the work of holding paradoxes as a life long point of view.

    1. Just not this one. If he wrote a later one, or if one of his students wrote a later one using his principles, that might be good.

  3. I like the not pressing kids into dating, which seems more relevant now. Also the things not to say to teens (66-67), and not looking for popularity, which is much worse now thanks to social media.

    But calling gay boys effeminate, deviant, and saying they’ll grow out of it if they play sports?? NO. Hard no. Not helpful for even the straightest of families. Also, there are plenty of gentle boys who grow up to get lots of ladies and vice versa.

    This also seems to be aimed at upper-middle-class white people only, and they didn’t think trans people, learning disabilities, and neurodiversity existed. And certainly no teen was on a computer then.

    The pop culture references are so outdated and also white. I’m sure Henri will discourse further on diversity. But I grew up exactly in this milieu and even I’m side-eying it.

    My older brother grew his hair long as soon as he went off to college 50 years ago. It’s still halfway down his back. Not a phase!

    If you are a public library, think of ALL of the public and weed this one. Get a new one if you must have more unobtainable knowledge on the shelf.

    1. Of course Haim G was influenced by his upbringing to be a male (cisgendered) that must fit in his male place and as Jewish he most likely had to find a way to fit in with white (Christian) people by espousing some of their beliefs and biases, but they were all taught these prejudices as course work as well. The themes on Gay males is awful (because it’s not OK to be a girl or female even for women): all those generalizations permit the writer to dismiss entire groups of people without doing the hard work of looking under the superficial cover the writer has put there in the first place. Haim G can write on parenting, but not on the inner workings of gender identity.

      L-type is right. Weed it. Find another book by Haim Ginott if you must keep one on the shelf.

  4. I’m curious to know why Janet’s friend (page 140) was so unwanted. Were her other friends being nasty, or were they a nasty person?

    1. Having been a tween/teen girl who had slumber parties, I’m guessing they were Mean Girls.

    2. Having been a tween/teen girl who did sleepovers, I’m guessing the others were Mean Girls.

      Friend was probably harmless, but unpopular.

  5. He’s the one who needs therapy. Confetti it, light it on fire, flush it down the toilet. It’s garbage.

  6. Any parenting/dating/work/advertising/teaching (and I’m probably forgetting at least a hundred other categories) books written before the internet and social media are at the very least suspect. Things have changed so much since then that books from that era might as well be offering advice on how to care for your Elizabethan Ruff and powdered wig.

    That said it is nice to see a parenting book from that era that isn’t just:
    Rule 1: Spanking solves every problem.
    Rule 2: If spanking isn’t solving the problem, see Rule 1.

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