Nigel Latta, author of the book “Before Your Teenagers Drive You Crazy, Read This!” goes on to explain why teenagers act the way they do. Latta discusses how he believes that the unpredictability in the actions of adolescents is actually normal.
He is also known for speaking at various schools and organizations about troubled teenagers. Recently he had a talk at Westlake Boys High School. Interestingly, Latta follows a common sense approach to understanding and dealing with troubled teens. "That's all I do with the kids and families that I work with. It's just simple, common sense, let's try and fix the problem sort of approaches," he said.
The foundation of his approach lies in these basic principles: Success is in the relationship, the approach should be ‘not too loose, not too tight’, communication is your greatest tool, and punctuation is the key to great parenting.
If you feel that you’re overtaken by certain approaches dealing with teen issues, you could try his practical, straight forward treatment.
"The weird stuff is kind of normal. Which I think is kind of liberating for a lot of parents, because you worry endlessly about that stuff."
Even as the points in the book can be comforting or reassuring to parents, he also points out that applying his straightforward strategies will take determination and perseverance. Realistic and reasonable expectations are also highlighted.
Latta does not just explain the behavior of troubled teenagers but he also supports the concept of proper punishment. "That's quite important, and I think one of the things we've done, we do a lot of praising and reinforcing, we don't do a lot of punishment."
Latta considers punishment an action “that makes them stop and do the math, and decide whether or not they want to keep doing the behavior.”
As much as positive reinforcement has been focused on when it comes to adolescents with issues, Latta advises not to rely on it solely.
"I've certainly been involved with lots of cases where there's been lots and lots of reinforcement and praise, which is great, but there's been no kind of punishment, and punishment is effective at changing behavior. Punishment is what makes adults change their behavior."
Nigel Latta also penned the books “Before Your Kids Drive You Crazy, Read This!” and “How to Have Kids & Stay Sane” and is currently working on a TV program called The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show.