I have a confession as I begin this post: I’m not really into the zombie thing. I have not watched a single minute of The Walking Dead. I don’t watch zombie movies like World War Z, Shaun of the Dead or even Night of the Living Dead.
Probably the closest thing I’ve seen in the zombie genre is a particular episode of Phineas and Ferb that my son likes to watch and, of course, Michael Jackson’s classic music video, Thriller.
So, when I first saw this title, My Teenage Zombie, it didn’t really strike a chord with me. However, as I read it, I found it to be a great description that Dr. Henderson carries throughout the book and is an image I as a parent could relate to as he spoke about the adolescent years.
This book is not bashing the adolescent years or railing against today’s teenagers. It is rather a solid resource for parents who either have a teenager living under their roof or, better yet, have children that will be entering adolescence in the future.
In My Teenage Zombie Dr. Henderson addresses all the changes that teens are going through as well as the unique pressures students in our current culture are enduring. He also offers some great insight to parents from his education and experience about how to understand and then engage with “teen zombies.”
He gives an apt description of what he considers a teen zombie: “Undead adolescents are directionless, and this lack of direction leads them to focus all their attention on one thing: themselves.” As some students go through adolescence they sometimes fit this description and parents are left with the task of addressing their son or daughter in this zombie like state.
In offering some insights to parents, Dr. Henderson talks about these areas to address to resurrect an undead adolescent. He writes that a teenage zombie lacks these three elements that are necessary to sustain life:
Pulse = direction
Spark = motivation
Fiber = determination
In the book he elaborates on each one both from the perspective of the teen and what he/she is going through, but also from the perspective of parents who could be feeling frustrated, confused and ready to give up.
Dr. Henderson had some good advice to parents and I thought this was especially poignant: Parents are the stable framework that help a teen grow into a strong & mature adult. Be that stable & predictable framework for your kids. What a good reminder that our teens need parents who will offer stability, predictability and consistency as they navigate the adolescent years.
The author offers a balance of medical information (I found the chapter that talked about the adolescent brain to be very interesting), real-life examples from his own experience as a psychiatrist, reflections from his own journey through adolescence and Biblical principles that speak to both parents and teens.
My Teenage Zombie is a good resource for parents who want to understand how to address the undead adolescent who might be living in their home and a great tool for families who look forward to navigating the ups and downs of the teen years.
To read more info on the book or to order a copy, click on the image at the top of the post to be directed to the publisher’s website.