How to Understand Your Tween: Hear from the Heart


As soon as it hit the shelves, I purchased Brooke’s amazing book The Naked Mom. If you don’t have it, get it. It’s an insightful read dispelling many myths around the parenting experience. Brooke shines much-needed light upon being a mother, a woman, and a loving spouse. Her book also has a brilliant cover, at many different levels. See in your mind’s eye a single picture: The stunningly beautiful Brooke. Artistically posed. Naked.


I took several days to read Brooke’s book as I carried on in life’s stream, laying the book down about my home whenever other duties called. Having three teens, I did this with great frequency. I noticed, with devilish curiosity, whenever I returned to get The Naked Mom, it was always lying face down, seemingly hiding its face.

I have a beautiful, loving 12-year-old daughter, Annalee. She’s very clever and smart. She’s also straight up and let’s you know what she thinks. A bit suspicious after three days, I asked, “Do you keep turning over my book?” “YES!” she replied. “You’re married.” I smiled. I cocked my head and said, “It’s art, honey. And it’s really a great book about parenting.” Further, I explained the book was written by “Brooke Burke, you know, the co-host for Dancing with the Stars,” I continued, “She’s really an amazing, multi-talented person. Honey, it’s a book about being honest and open and tells the story of being a mother. That’s her on the cover. A very catchy title I think.” Just to make my point, I said, “Really, it’s art, just like so many paintings and statues in museums.” Quietly, for a somber moment, she looked at me and then left the room. Annalee continued to turn the book over in the coming days. During nightly lay-downs at bedtime, she’d ask if I still had “the book.” “Yes, I do.”

After a few more days, I couldn’t listen to Annalee anymore. I had to hear her. Not with my ears, rather with my heart. What I heard was not so much about the cover or a naked person; it was more about teen anxiety and worry. It was about her imagination and worst-case scenarios. About my relationships and the family effects of “wandering eyes.” It was about her thinking and worrying and worrying about worrying. Having no desire to cause Annalee such concern (I believe teens have enough to worry about already), I took the book to her…along with a box of Sharpies. Today, I have the only copy of Brooke’s book with her dressed in Annalee’s school colors. All is good.

That’s what this blog will be about. Hearing your teen or tween with your heart. Better understanding teens and why they do all those crazy things. It will be about parenting teens without the constant yelling and groundings. About better relationships. About unconditional love. Follow me. Read my book, If Your Teen Could Talk. Many parents have said my book completely changed their relationship with their teen…that it stopped fights and started conversations. Perhaps you will find new opportunities, insights, and approaches that work for you. That’s my hope.

I look forward to our continued dialogue. And remember, love your teen from the inside-out.



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