Dear Teenager by Abigail Van Buren

April 7, 2018
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Teenagers have plenty of questions on a variety of subjects but that does not mean they ask them aloud.  More often than not, it is because their confidence does not permit them to do so.  As a result, those questions are confined in the mind and wander till it hits an answer that may well be the only answer available at the moment.  Its availability, somehow, qualifies it as truth -- unless someone dusts it off and tweaks it a bit or throws it out altogether and replaces it. We, as teens, all need that someone.


Writer and mother, Abigail Van Buren makes a successful attempt at that.  Her book entitled Dear Teenager was dedicated to her two teenage girls and to the rest of the teenage population. It was published in 1963 and had a writing voice like that of a wise aunt that made you sit still, put your palm below your chin, and lean forward to better hear what she said. 


The book was divided into sections of answers and advice to statements like, “I’m fat,” “My parents are nosey,” “I’m not stacked,” and “Should I kiss on a first date.” Her advice is labeled “old school” yet should definitely be considered.  In it are the practice of politeness, courtesy, manners, rules, standards and the important role parents play in the life of teens.  She emphasizes on these not as restrictions, but as non negotiable to a wholesome and enjoyable relationship with friends, acquaintances, parents and with oneself. 


She uses truth with a mix of humor and a bit of sarcasm to shoot her point.  She builds rapport in a way that readers can feel safe as they identify with their concerns, relax as their concerns are answered and at times, realized that what they thought was a shameful problem at first, was not a problem after all. 






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