How do you handle your daughter's becoming a teen-ager? Try humor.
By SEAN BARRON
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
The event that changed W. Bruce Cameron's life was gradual and inevitable.
However, the reality wasn't.
"My daughter came downstairs and turned into a teen-ager overnight," he said in a phone interview.
Afterward, the self-admitted overprotective father and humor essayist for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver decided to write about the experience. Cameron wanted a book that would capture what it was like to see his two daughters prefer the car keys to bedtime stories.
Thus, "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and Other Tips from a Beleaguered Father [Not that Any of them Work]" (Workman Publishing, $18.95), was born.
Cameron's Rule No.1: "If you pull into my driveway and honk, you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure as heck not picking anything up."
Teen challenges: The book also explores how Cameron has handled numerous teen-age challenges in his family, such as peer pressure, job interviews and getting a driver's license. It's also laced with examples of tumultuous father-daughter dialogue on chores and cell phones, among other things.
Cameron, whose daughters are 17 and 19, said he wanted to "bring some laughter" into the often stormy and confrontational relationship between parents and teen-agers.
"My daughters could win an Academy Award for overreaction. Everything is a crisis [to them], and you have to laugh at this," he said.
Lenny Sefcik of Boardman deals with some of these issues with his 14-year-old daughter Stephanie. However, the two have a close and trusting relationship, he said.
Sefcik, a music store manager at the Boardman Barnes & amp; Noble bookstore, said that Stephanie talks about dating, but that she usually approaches her mother first.
"I've told her she can tell me," he said. "She has high expectations and knows not to rush into it. I feel she'll make the right choices."
On the right track: Sefcik also praised his daughter for baby-sitting, saving her money and placing studying ahead of volleyball, one of her favorite sports. Stephanie also seeks both parents' guidance during difficult times, such as when her grandmother died, he said.
During an argument, Stephanie often resorts to her room, Sefcik said. However, he added, both are committed to resolving disagreements, a view echoed by Stephanie.
"We disagree on some responsibilities around the house, like chores," she said, "but we talk it out."
Stephanie added that she and her dad occasionally have a "Dad's day out," in which they spend time together and participate in a shared interest. Often it means playing soccer together.
Stephanie also said she and her dad discuss books and music she enjoys. Destiny's Child and 98 Degrees are her favorite singing groups, Stephanie said.
Parental views: Cameron said many how-to books offer advice to parents on dealing with their teen-agers. "8 Simple Rules" validates many parental views, he also said.
"It takes the parents' side, but comes from love and the sense teens should obey their parents," Cameron pointed out.
The book should appeal to teen-agers and parents -- especially mothers -- because adults will be able to look back at their teen years and relate to many of the topics presented, Cameron predicted.