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 called RadicalParenting.com where teens could answer questions and write to parents. I couldn’t believe how quickly it grew and how happy 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 been 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!
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
Vanessa Van Petten is one of the nation's youngest experts, or "youthologists" on parenting and adolescents. She now runs her popular parenting website, RadicalParenting.com, which she writes with 120 other teenage writers to answer questions from parents and adults. Her approach has been featured by CNN, Fox News, and the Wall Street Journal. She was also on the Real Housewives of Orange County helping the housewives with troubled teens. Her next book, "Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I'm Grounded?" is being released in September 2011 with Plume Books of Penguin USA.