The Good Enough Teen: How To Raise Adolescents With Love And Acceptance (Despite How Impossible They Can Be) - by Dr. Brad Sachs
(HarperCollins, January 2005)




"Viewing teenagers as 'good enough' is likely to be much more difficult than it was when they were 'good enough' children. Parents who are increasingly frustrated by their teens' behavior and missed expectations should turn to Brad Sachs, a psychologist and parent of three, who offers help with the unique challenges of raising teens. The primary philosophy here: Bad behavior isn't administered as a way to make you miserable; it's a natural step on the path to maturity. The author begins by discussing the primary difficulties of being a teenager—namely, a teen's realization that his or her parents aren't all-knowing, and the shock that the world doesn't revolve around him or her. With entirely believable, and sometimes frightening, case studies (e.g., the girl with scratches covering her arms), Sachs walks through the family relations he's seen in his practice and offers concrete solutions for improving communication and expectations—not to mention behavior. He also includes exercises, checklists, and quizzes to help put into perspective the dynamics of parents' relationships with their teenagers. The author moves on to the 'good-enough parent,' the 'good-enough marriage,' and the 'good-enough divorce.' His tone is breezy, accessible, and understanding, even in discussing depression and drug use."
--Kirkus Reviews

"With the publication of THE GOOD ENOUGH TEEN, Dr. Sachs once again establishes himself in the creative forefront of the parenting field."
--Jerrold Lee Shapiro, Ph.D., author of THE MEASURE OF A MAN

"Raising teenagers often prompts an array of questions and emotions from parents. In this wonderful book Dr. Sachs presents practical insights and advice to parents that will be of immeasurable assistance as they develop more realistic expectations for their teens and themselves--expectations that can be translated into more effective parenting practices. As in his previous book "The Good Enough Child," Dr. Sachs' compassion and wisdom shine through every page of this book. It is a book I highly recommend to parents and professionals alike."

"Psychologist Brad Sachs is a great storyteller and a natural teacher. The Good Enough Teen lets parents sit at Dr. Sachs' feet, listening to the absorbing stories of the families he has treated in therapy, and learning from the inspirational wisdom he has gleaned from the many parents and teens he has helped. I loved reading the book myself, and look forward to recommending it to the families in my own clinical practice."

"With compassion, intelligence, and humor, Dr. Brad Sachs has offered parents a reassuring strategy for finding a positive path through the difficult years of their offspring’s adolescence. His writing is clear and personal and his thinking grounded and insightful."
--James Garbarino, Ph.D., author of PARENTS UNDER SEIGE

Click here for more Advance Praise

Dr. Sachs’s newest book, THE GOOD ENOUGH TEEN: HOW TO RAISE ADOLESCENTS WITH LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE (DESPITE HOW IMPOSSIBLE THEY CAN BE) distinguishes itself from other books for parents of adolescents in the following important ways:

  1. TGET focuses on the growth and development of the whole, multi-generational family, not just the adolescent

  2. TGET does not confine itself to any one gender, race, or socioeconomic level

  3. TGET does not limit its scope to a single aspect of adolescent development—psychological, pubertal, social, academic, moral etc.—but views teens holistically, addressing the entire spectrum of their unique issues, needs, and dilemmas

  4. TGET’s approach is relevant not only to two-parent families with birth children, but to the full range of family constellations, including single-parent, blended, and adoptive families

  5. TGET not only identifies the many challenges facing parents of teens, it offers practical strategies to master these challenges in successful, growth-promoting ways

  6. Rather than providing a compendium of overly simplistic parenting “tips” that may or may not have any enduring relevance or value, TGET offers readers a conceptual framework that will help them to understand the nature and texture of adolescent development, one that is applicable no matter what problem or symptom they are confronted with

  7. TGET relieves readers of the burden of having to be perfect parents of perfect teenagers, and instead helps them to forgive and come to terms with their children’s, and their own, inevitable failures, flaws and shortcomings in a spirit of unwavering love

  8. TGET guides readers towards distinguishing what they want from their children from what they want for their children, and provides a blueprint for how to match their nurture to their teen’s nature

  9. Rather than pathologizing and medicalizing every aspect of adolescent behavior, TGET clearly defines healthy adolescent development and assists parents in making the distinction between developmentally-expected concerns and developmentally-threatening crises

  10. TGET demonstrates how the process of raising an adolescent does not have to be a burden, and can, on the contrary, become a rejuvenating experience for parents, one that propels them forward into a new stage of their own individual, relational and professional development

  11. TGET not only describes the typical reasons for unrealistic parental expectations, but shows readers how to re-calibrate their expectations so that they are more appropriate and achievable for their children

  12. Each chapter of TGET is followed by one or more proven exercises that help readers to identify the origin of their rigid, maladaptive or counterproductive parenting behaviors, and that lay the groundwork for replacing these with new, more flexible and constructive interventions

  13. TGET teaches parents how to create room for their adolescents’ independence and autonomy while still maintaining a sense of family loyalty and cohesion

  14. TGET identifies the three main places in which families get stuck during adolescence—imbalances in power, responsibility, and intimacy—and how to get unstuck and re-equilibrate the family in effective, age-appropriate ways

  15. TGET not only suggests numerous strategies for conflict-resolution, but also emphasizes the meaning and importance of conflict during adolescence, and the method by which conflict can be channeled into opportunities for additional growth, closeness, and self-awareness for all family members

  16. TGET expands the definition of healthy communication between parent and teen, and presents innovative techniques that increase the likelihood that both generations will feel heard, understood, and trusted

  17. TGET discloses the hidden motives that lie behind typical adolescent behavior, and demonstrates how teens’ problems are generally their solutions to problems, and how to help them to find better, less problematic solutions

  18. TGET views adolescents not simply as self-absorbed, immature, and rebellious, but as sensitive and thoughtful mourners, needing to say goodbye to and grieve for their childhood in preparation for commencing young adulthood

  19. TGET explores the tactics of change during adolescence, guiding parents to motivate and inspire their teens through teaching them to see change as a process that benefits themselves, not just their parents, and emphasizing that adolescents are more likely to change for the better when they know that they’ll still be loved and accepted for staying the same

  20. TGET assists readers in deciding when it is time to arrange for a professional consultation, and how to go about the process of finding the most appropriate approach and clinician

  21. Rather than proposing that every childrearing problem has an ideal solution and that every parenting question has a satisfying answer, TGET helps readers to acknowledge the complexity of adolescent development, and to lovingly embrace the mystery and uncertainty that are the unavoidable hallmarks of family life

  22. TGET encourages parents to transcend typical, societally-based definitions of normalcy, sanity, and success, to go beyond curing, fixing, or perfecting their teens, and to remember that it’s ultimately not what you do and what you have, but who you are and how you love that makes for a fulfilling, purposeful life

  23. TGET invites readers to submit questions to the author’s website ( for further discussion and perspective.