Between Form and Freedom

Being a Teenager

Betty Staley



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In this excellent book, Betty Staley has given us a compassionate, intelligent and intuitive look into the minds of adolescents.... I can only hope it will be read by a significant number of significant people—namely, parents, teachers, and, indeed, adolescents themselves.

Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of Magical Child and The Biology of Transcendence: A Blueprint of the Human Spirit

Pass this book around the family - then stand back for some wonderful results! The strongest endorsement for Between Form and Freedom is that not only have thousands of parents found it helpful, but thousands of teenagers have, too! For parents, Betty Staley's insights shed a much welcomed light on the many perplexing aspects of raising teenagers. For teens, the light shines not only as an awakening self-awareness, but as an aid for understanding their parents!

An Unchanged Mind

The Problem of Immaturity in Adolescence

John A McKinnon, MD



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John McKinnon addresses what has to me been the most pressing question of the past two decades: why is it that our children seem to be "getting stuck," developmentally speaking, at ages well below what I remember of adolescent maturity? And then, of course, the real question: What on earth are we to do about it?

I'm very happy to say that his book is filled with insight and with hope. My hope is that every parent and teacher read it long before the children in their care become teenagers - his insights will help avert some of the problem because it is so much easier to prevent than to "fix" these things.

My larger hope is that the wisdom of this book will come to permeate our society as a whole, for it is ultimately a collective healing that is called for.


An Unchanged Mind begins with a clinical riddle: Why are American teenagers failing to develop normally through adolescence? We are presented with case studies from a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teenagers: All new students had been deemed treatment "failures" after conventional psychiatric care. All were bright teenagers, full of promise, not obviously "ill." Yet they found themselves unprepared for the challenges of modern adolescence and inevitably failed—at school, at home, and among their peers socially.

An Unchanged Mind is the discovery of the essence of this problem—disrupted maturation and resulting immaturity. The book explains the problem carefully, with a brief review of normal development and an examination of the delays today's teenagers are suffering: the causes of those delays and how they produce a flawed approach to living. There is a solution. With a sustained push to help troubled kids catch up, symptoms abate, academic and interpersonal functioning improve, and parents pronounce their teens miraculously recovered. This remedy is not a matter of pharmacology—and the cure is not in pills. The remedy is, instead, to grow up.

McKinnon's inspiring message is that no behavioral problem along these lines is hopeless. He shows how he has done it.

—Evander Lomke, Executive Director, American Mental Health Foundation

To Change A Mind

Parenting to Promote Maturity in Teenagers

John A McKinnon, MD



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In this companion to his first book, An Unchanged Mind, Dr. McKinnon provides invaluable advice to all parents of teenagers and young adults. Using case studies gathered from his years helping parents with troubled adolescents, the author explores the ways that adolescent development can be derailed in today’s complex culture and how parents can prevent this from happening in the first place.

Dr. McKinnon writes about how parents need to recognize their children as individuals, with their own feelings and opinions, as they start to establish their separate identities as young people and begin to negotiate their way through high school and beyond. He also makes clear that parents must continue to establish limits. These allow children to flourish and further their goals within boundaries that enable them to learn the consequences of their actions (both good and bad), thus providing a fundamental lesson of being an adult. The book explains that parental recognition and limit-setting work together to promote maturity.

Packed with examples and sensible and practical advice for parents of pre-teens and teenagers, To Change a Mind is an essential guidebook for parents seeking to make their lives—and the lives of their children—richer and more fulfilling, as the family navigates together the potentially treacherous seas of adolescence.

The Parallel Process

Growing Alongside Your Adolescent or Young Adult Child in Treatment

Krissy Posatek, LICSW



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The Parallel Process is an essential primer for all parents, whether of troubled teens or not, who are seeking to help the family stay and grow together as they negotiate the potentially difficult teenage years.

For many parents of troubled teenagers, a therapeutic program that takes the child from the home for a period of time offers some respite from the daily tumult of acting out, lies, and tension that has left the family under siege. However, just as the teenager is embarking on a journey of self-discovery, skill-development, and emotional maturation, so parents too need to use this time to recognize that their own patterns may have contributed to their family’s downward spiral. This is The Parallel Process.

Using case studies garnered from her many years as an adolescent and family therapist, Krissy Pozatek shows parents of pre-teens, adolescents, and young adults how they can help their children by attuning to emotions, setting limits, not rushing to their rescue, and allowing them to take responsibility for their actions, while recognizing their own patterns of emotional withdrawal, workaholism, and of surrendering their lives and personalities to parenting.

Adolescence: The Sacred Passage

Inspired by the Legend of Parzival

Betty Staley



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This is a beautiful book. Betty Staley pierces through the discord and tumult of adolescence to see what is truly there: the birth pangs of the human spirit. I love it that she uses the legend of Parzival as a guiding light with which we may all see the beauty, even the terrible beauty, of the adolescents struggle to fight through the crashing world of desire until their own goodness emerges full in the world.

That this struggle is as real as those fought on any battlefield, and as filled with peril as it is with hope is never sidestepped. How we as adults respond to these teenagers (whose struggles are often very off-putting from the outside) is nothing less than a sacred task.

The community of adults in a high school environment is a community of trust in which we need to foster hope, belief in positive change, and commitment to serve the highest good. This is our charge and we must never forget it. We have the responsibility to believe in the capacity for change, for maturing, for transformation in every young person we serve. When these qualities live in the souls of the adults in a high school community, adolescents can thrive, can meet their own dark night of the soul and come through it into the light.

- Betty Staley

Education for Adolescents

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Carl Hoffman


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Dr. Steiner's insights into the world of the teenager can inspire an enthusiasm for working with adolescents that develops into a quite new, powerful love for them. This love is the precondition for the positive relationship between adults and adolescents necessary if the teenager is to find his or her way to a healthy, responsive adulthood.


Study Is Hard Work

Acquiring and Keeping Study Skills through a Lifetime

William A. Armstrong



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This is one book I truly wish I had had when I was in high school and college. Although I managed to develop a method of study that proved effective, if I had been able to read this book first, I would have faced the task of studying with a confidence and surefootedness that I entirely lacked. Years of uncertainty and anxiety might have been transformed had I known then what Armstrong lays out so completely and clearly.

Study Is Hard Work was published too late for me to use, but not too late for today's high school and college students. It is already required reading in numerous prep schools, and hailed by college educators as fostering the best kind of academic success -- that founded on a love of learning and an ability to work hard and thoroughly.

I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is a truly great tool.


Adolescence - The Search for the Self

and Weaving the Social Fabric of the Class

Eugene Schwartz

Two Lectures on Waldorf Education



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The first lecture develops a threefold picture of adolescence and offers helpful suggestions for parents and teachers. I especially appreciates Schwartz's depiction of the often agonizing emotional passage that is the hallmark of adolescence - and how that passage can be unseen by we adults.

The second lecture offers wonderful insights and advice to teachers as to how to help the students in a class see each other with kindness and how to foster a willingness to work together. Schwartz focuses on how the temperaments can be brought into play toward this end.

These two lectures are gems!