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Losing Control & Liking It: How to Set Your Teen (and Yourself) Free [Paperback]

By Tim Sanford (Author)
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Item description for Losing Control & Liking It: How to Set Your Teen (and Yourself) Free by Tim Sanford...

It's been drummed into parents' heads that they have to make their kids turn out right. Sanford shows parents how to give up the fears about their teenager's future and discover the truth about how God parents his children.

Publishers Description
Parents of teens--especially Christian ones--know only too well that many sons and daughters abandon the "straight and narrow" when they hit adulthood. The pressure on these parents to make their kids turn out right is enormous. Sometimes this pressure can lead parents to think they have to control their kids. "Losing Control and Liking It" offers parents relief of a burden they were never meant to carry and will help build family relationships based on validation and nurturing instead of control.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Losing Control & Liking It: How to Set Your Teen (and Yourself) Free by Tim Sanford has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christian Retailing - 12/08/2008 page 19

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Pages   178
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2009
Publisher   Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN  1589974816  
ISBN13  9781589974814  
UPC  700001004815  

Availability  8 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 07:31.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Family

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Books > Christian Living > Relationships > Family Concerns

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Reviews - What do customers think about Losing Control And Liking It?

Losing Control and Liking It: How to Set Your Teen ( and Yourself) Free  May 10, 2010
This is the only parenting book that I have completed. Most books have a little bit of something that I can use and a lot that I can't, that was not the case with this book. The only bad thing that I can say about it is that I wish it had been written years ago! I found myself thinking that some of the things he said, while aimed at teens, would be helpful with younger children as well... before ground is "lost", so to speak. My husband, who had one of the best growing up experiences I have ever heard of, feels that this is very similar to the way in which he was raised. Kudos to the writer of this book!
Was that a stop sign or just a dump truck?  Apr 28, 2010
I know Tim Sanford. His trademark is that he always has a pencil stuck over his ear. But I checked his publicity photo on the back cover and I couldn't really see the pencil. He's one of those guys who rides mountain bikes, climbs rocks, does experiential ed and fun games, and all that good stuff. He's also written at least one other book about pk's and mk's. Now he's gone and written a little 178pp paperback from Focus on the Family (2009) that reads like it was transcribed from a seminar. But then every time I've heard Tim teach, he sounds pretty chatty, too, even if it was, say, on predestination. "Losing control and liking it" is not about predestination, unless it's a very deeply embedded subtext. The subtitle is "how to set your teen (and yourself) free." The back cover refers to the joys of cage-free parenting. Hopefully this is not just a shout out to DYFS (dept of youth and family services, the folks who pick you up when they discover you've caged your children.)

This reminds me of the family who recently made the news when they put their adopted son on the airplane back to Russia with a one-way ticket earlier this year. Creative parenting, yes. But I think maybe they missed the part of the home study where they were reminded that children are not a returnable commodity? Apparently Tim didn't. He even includes a chapter for "when all else fails." Did you hear that Nebraska passed a law that parents could turn in children they didn't want to the state, no questions asked. This was so popular to some folks that they were coming from neighboring states just to take advantage of the offer.

Tim's basic premise is that you are losing control from the time kids are born, and when they reach adulthood you'd better be done. He parses out three rules of life: 1) You live and die by your own choices. 2) You can choose smart or you can choose stupid. 3) There's always somebody or something whose job is to make your life miserable when you choose stupid. To help parents of teens figure out what is smart parenting, he defines and contrasts control, liability, responsibility, and influence. Control requires direct and complete power. We only have that over our own decisions (well, maybe, but that's another book.) Liability means legal responsibility for losses or damages. Parents have liability until their teens reach the age of majority, typically 18 in most US states. (A good way to find out is to ask what age you have to be to control your own bank account or secure a loan.) Responsibility Tim uses more practically to refer to what we each get to choose. Influence means the ability to motivate someone else to make a choice. It's what we have left when we don't have control.

To help explain the dances of parents and teens, or anybody for that matter, Tim talks about four styles of choice management. Really there are two pairs. HOLDers take responsiblity for their own choices, whether they are teens or parents. They hold onto their own choices. FOLDers refuse to take responsibility for other people's choices. They fold their hands when they are not responsible. So to HOLD and FOLD is the good pair. TOSSers take their own choices and force them onto others. They toss away responsibilities they should hold onto. GRABers try to make other people's choices for them. They grab responsibilities that are not appropriately their own. So to GRAB and to TOSS is the bad pair of styles. Since we're always dealing with both our own responsibilities and those of others, we make a pair of choices in each situation. We may HOLD and GRAB, TOSS and GRAB, HOLD and FOLD, or TOSS and FOLD. Meanwhile our partner is the situation is making similar choices. So if I HOLD and you FOLD, we've got agreement and appropriate control. If I TOSS and you GRAB, we've also got agreement, but we're both out of control. The other two combinations, HOLD with GRAB, and TOSS with FOLD, are conflicted and lead to power struggles.

If we can't GRAB and we can't TOSS, how do we resolve problems and power struggles? Tim refers to this as the work of influence. We use our own appropriate choices (and words) to influence each other to make good decisions, but we watch and wait for the third rule of life to catch up with the part b of the second rule rather than taking away each other's appropriate choices.

Tim also has some good advice on keeping rules to a minimum, focused on safety and chaos (chapter 8), handling situations that make parents and teens mad at each other (9), dealing with those disaster scenarios (10), and playing the end game (11, e.g. moving from parenting to mutual maturity). He ends with a tongue-in-cheek final test and review and some parting advice.

I thought Tim did a great job handling conflict in a way that lowers blaming (always unproductive,) increases acceptance, and promotes good interaction. The flow of the book isn't always fluid, but the presentation chunks are short, clear, and well-illustrated.

I did note what appeared to me a bias toward TOSSers and FOLDers over HOLDers and GRABers. Maybe Tim has had some influential, but problematic HOLDers and GRABers in his history? Haven't we all! Seriously, it is natural to react in one direction or the other, so people who are good at HOLDing tend to err on the side of GRABing, and people who are good at FOLDing tend to err on the side of TOSSing. I think we know who we are, right? If you don't, ask somebody nearby. They probably have an opinion.

Here are three places where I noticed what might be a bias to consider: First, the title. Losing control is only half the battle. Still, I think we can safely assume that the parents who are FOLDers and TOSSers may also be less likely to pick up the book, so why not target those who will actually read it?

Second, the idea that rules are only for safety and chaos might leave out some good rules. I think rules can also be used to teach good habits. Of course, they still have to be enforceable and enforced or they're really just advice, but that's a reason in my "book" to start early, so you don't run out of time. Proactive parenting has the energy and wisdom left to look ahead and get children and teens ready for tomorrow, not just keep them safe today. I think rules can sometimes be an effective part of that, but the rule of thumb, as Tim emphasizes, is use influence and reward to teach new behaviors and use rules and penalties to hold people appropriately accountable for stupid choices.

Last, I don't assume that just because 18 is the age of legal liability that it is also time to fully emancipate our emerging adult children. If they join the military or move out on their own, probably, but if they're still getting an education and remain dependent on their parents for basic needs, then maybe there should be room for a continuing gradual release of control over those next few years. When I graduated from college 32 years ago and now as my daughter graduates, I think that more clearly also demarcates the release point--not that I or my daughter were ever in a cage, of course.
Great  Sep 28, 2009
All parents need to read this book. As always, I can't say I agree with every word, but it is definitely eye opening, helpful, and hard to follow sometimes as a parent.
MUST have book on parenting for all parents of teenagers...  Sep 26, 2009
As the parents of four goal-oriented, strong, spirited young adults, one who is now 23, one who, most sadly, died this summer at the age of 20, one who is 19, and one who is almost 18, this is the best book we have ever found on parenting through the times when teenagers are pushing limits as they figure out who they are and what they believe...for themselves. For those readers who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, you will find great encouragement to trust the One who truly loves your young adult far more than you do, which will free you up to simply love your child and nurture a great relationship with them, rather than trying to control their behavior.

We have found so much of what Tim Sanford teaches to be true, and yet we find ourselves going back to this book again and again for reminders and encouragement when we are tempted to "clamp down" out of fear, when really we should be trusting not only our God, but the process that will occur naturally as all that we have taught and modeled over the year comes together with the God's current work in the life of our incredibly insightful, thoughtful, opinionated 17 year old.
Excellent!  Jul 14, 2009
A dear friend recomended this book. This is the kind of book that is a must to every parent or anyone that loves children.

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