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The 7 Habits of highly Effective Teens:
By Sean Covey
1998, Simon and Schuster
Welcome. Thanks for joining me today. I am your pedcast host, Dr. Paul Smolen. One of the great things about producing a podcast is that I read and explore a lot of material in preparation. Recently I decided that giving parents my impressions of some of the books that address parenting and childhood issues might be useful. Maybe I will peak your interest in reading a book, or maybe I can just sum it up for you and you can gain from my reading. Whichever it may be, here is my second book review in this special edition of DocSmo.com. Today’s book is by Sean Covey, the son of the famous author Stephen Covey of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People fame. Sean has written a teen equivalent called …of all things… 7 Habits of Highly Successful Teens! Talk about following in Dad’s footsteps!
This book offers self-help for teens to improve their lives, whether their lives are on track or not. The book is written in the spirit of a personal coach for teens. It demands some self-reflection and when appropriate, guides teens through baby steps toward change with concrete examples and exercises. As Mr. Covey puts it, improvement demands that we “look at the man in the mirror.”
Here are two of my favorite of Mr Covey’s habits:
1. Be proactive—By that he means that you are the master of your own fate. Take control. Don’t be passive and react to events. Stand up for yourself when appropriate.
2. Think Win-Win mentality—Try to solve problems and conflict with solutions that let both parties win. This habit requires keeping promises, being kind, listening to others’ points of view, being loyal, setting clear expectations and compromising. Sean Covey’s father made this habit famous in the original book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey.
Well, you get the idea. Please take the time to read the rest of Mr. covey’s book to explore all 7 habits he suggests for your teen.
Now for my comments. Let’s start with the pros of this book. Here are what I see as it’s strengths:
a. Teens of various reading abilities will be able to read the book.
b. The book is peppered with stories and cartoons with messages which keep it entertaining, especially for teens.
c. Many of the habits have exercises encouraging self-reflection and ultimately, learning new healthy habits.
d. The book is motivational.
e. One thing I particularly like about the book is the 50 reasons for teens not to be sexually active. If you read nothing else, read this section. Mr. Covey has obviously given this a lot of thought…50 reasons!
f. I also like the rubric of Habit 3 (First things first) about time management.
g. Finally, I think that the book could provide a jumping-off point for conversation between teen and parent.
Now for the Cons:
a. I think the book is unnecessarily long and, frankly, gets bogged down in spots.
b. Additionally, I found some spelling errors—inexcusable in my opinion.
c. I think some of the exercises (e.g., the personal mission statement) assume a level of maturity that many teens don’t have.
d. I think the author believes that teens with serious depression, eating disorders, and drug problems can simply learn the habits and solve their life problems. I think this assumption is naïve and possibly dangerous. Mental illness is not something that the 7 habits will cure.
My Overall impression:
Despite being a little choppy in presentation, I think the book could be useful for many teens and their families. I actually think it might be more useful for parents to read than teens. I think a parent who reads the book may be able to help his or her children form effective habits. I also think that the book may help parents of children with low motivation. Overall, I give the book 3.5 out of 5 Doc Smo stars. I would love to hear your perspective on the book. As always, thanks, and I look forward to you joining me again in the future. This is Dr. Paul Smolen hoping you are able to raise a keen teen. Until next time.