Tell Me It's Only a Phase!: A Guide for Parents of Teenagers


242 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 0-13-903147-2
DDC 649'





Reviewed by Claude A. Guldner

Claude A. Guldner is a professor of family studies at the University of


Saul Levine is Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Medical Centre in Toronto and writes regularly in the Youth Clinic column for a national newspaper. He has taken letters from parents with concerns about their teenagers and organized them into this book. It is the systematic organization that enriches the work. Dr. Levine selects letters which raise crucial issues for parents on many topics related to the specific subject matter of the chapter. For instance, in the first chapter he starts with lifestyles of teenagers, then moves through such topics as body, sex, and love, family, marriage and divorce, school and work, and a number of others. The chapter on lifestyles is a good example of the range of concerns which parents have regarding the behaviour of their adolescents, all the way from body appearance to a lack of dating. The responses to the questions are sound and solid, rather than the trivial or attempts at humour of a typical Ann Landers style. One of the values of this work is that it could be helpful to teenagers as well as to parents. Ideally parents and teenagers could read sections together as a stimulus for discussion of developmental issues of concern to both parties. The chapter on values, morals, and beliefs would lend itself especially to that approach. Often parents become overly rigid or chaotic with their teenage children when it comes to matters of values and beliefs. Parents seem to forget that they have been molding their youngsters throughout the kids’ lives, and if they trust their own abilities then they should be in a position to negotiate with youngsters and to entrust them with an increased ability to make choices based on their own emerging values and beliefs. For the most part these choices will reflect those of the parents anyway.

This book would be great for groups working with parents and teens, such as schools, churches, and other organizations. I must admit that after a while I tired of the question-and-answer style. I found myself wishing that Dr. Levine would just write his own views on each topic and forget the formula, but after all, it is this style that has made his newspaper column the continued success it is. It will probably also make the book a valuable resource for families.


Levine, Saul, “Tell Me It's Only a Phase!: A Guide for Parents of Teenagers,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,