Winning Ways with Teens by Dr Esther Tan

This book was written in 1997 but it continues to be relevant to father-teen relationships in 2011. Sure, it hardly says anything about how to get your teen off the Internet and talk to you face-to-face, but the principles for good communication remain the same, with 122 pages packed full of practical advice on how to seek out win-win solutions with your teens. Each chapter is really short, with points that are easy to take in.

For example, in chapter nine of the book, Dr Tan says that a dad can take the following seven steps with his teen to resolve conflicts:

1. Agree to tackle the problem

Sit down and talk undisturbed to sort out the problem.

2. Set ground rules

Promise not to raise voices or hurt each other by name-calling.

3. Explain one’s position

Father and teen take turns to explain their position. Listen attentively, ask questions, but try not to interrupt each other.

4. Share one’s feelings

Be frank and honest. Understand each other’s perspective.

5. Look for options

Look for solutions that can satisfy each other’s needs.

6. Agree on one or more options

If there are various options to resolve the conflict, select one that might work. If father and teen have different preferred options, then negotiate and come to a compromise.

7. Work out a plan of action

Having arrived at a mutually agreed option, try it out.

Case studies are found throughout the book. There are also many useful lists that dads can quickly refer to for more information on how to relate with their teens. They include: 10 Tips for Building of the Self-esteem of Your Teenager; 10 Tips on Handling Stress; and 10 Tips on Preparing Your Teenager for the World of Work.

Here is a tip: Pick up a copy of Winning Ways with Teens from a Public Library near you, today.


1. Esther, Tan, Dr., (1997) Winning Ways with Teens –A practical guide for parents, Federal Publications, Ministry of Community Development, Singapore

About the Author: The Dads for Life Resource Team comprises local content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals, dedicated to developing useful resources for dads.

First published in 05-07-2011.

Categories: Recommended Reads

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