My Teenage Zombie: Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent in Your Home Book Review

Do you have a teenage zombie?  I had to laugh when I was recently asked this question before being offered the opportunity to read and review My Teenage Zombie:  Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent in your Home by David Henderson, MD.  I do have a teenage zombie--and it was the perfect time to bring her back to the world of the living!  What did I think of My Teenage Zombie? 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Quick Summary of  My Teenage Zombie:  Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent in your Home by David Henderson, MD:  Zombies are not just found in horror movies, sometimes they’re lying on your living room couch. These are undead adolescents whose psychological and social development have come to a screeching halt. Torn by their yearning for freedom and their fear of surviving the outside world, they have stalled in their maturity, motivation, and purpose in life, hijacked by a helplessness and fear of responsibility. Parents often feel ill-equipped to love, support, and guide them—especially when they may be facing a midlife crisis of their own and battling some of the same issues in their own lives. Is it really possible to escape this “undead” state of being?
In My Teenage Zombie board-certified psychiatrist and medical doctor David L. Henderson explains the parts of a teenage zombie (their brain, heart, and spirit), how they got into this undead state, and how to resurrect them back to life. Using real-life examples of families he has counseled, he describes both their physical and psychological characteristics and offers practical suggestions on how to deal with, and in many cases avoid, having an undead adolescent in your home.
The book is divided into three helpful sections:
  • The Rise of the Undead: Understanding the Nature of a Teenage Zombie
  • The Fear of the Undead: Facing the Anxiety of Confronting a Teenage Zombie
  • Resurrecting the Undead: Restoring Your Teenage Zombie to a Life Worth Living
If you are the parent of an undead adolescent, there is hope for you and your child. Or maybe you have children who are not yet adolescents. It’s never too early to prepare for the challenges that await you. Either way, stay calm and start resurrecting zombies!

My Teenage Zombie covers the entire Zombie life cycle from inception to resurrection.   The author does a great job breaking down the teenage zombie epidemic--and notes that some teen zombies grow into adult zombies.  This book covers the biology, psychology--and outside forces--leading to the making of a teen zombie in easy to read, layman's terms.  Then, once readers understand why they have a teenage zombie--the book guides them through the ups and downs of confronting that zombie (and the ups and downs of facing those inner, feelings of parental failure and fear) and helping that zombie move from the struggling adolescent stage to a successfully launched young adult.

My Teenage Zombie helps readers develop solutions rather than place blame.  If you or your spouse have said the words, "Why don't you make her do XYZ" or "Who is the adult here?"--you are falling into the blame-game trap of raising a teen.  I find myself nagging, pushing, threatening, bribing, etc., some days just to accomplish the basics.  (And, in reality--those basics probably would have been accomplished anyway without my nagging, bribing, threatening....just on my teen's schedule.)  My Teenage Zombie talks about cause and effect--why the actions of parent and/or child cause certain reactions in parent and/or child.  While some of our parent-child conflicts could be labeled "my fault" or "her fault"--this book helps me recognize some of the basic whys and hows (causes) behind my parenting methods and my zombie's actions; so that I can begin to craft different, better, interactions (effects) with my child--without selling my soul or sending her off to boarding school.

My Teenage Zombie doesn't sugar coat the realities of parenting a teen.  Parenting a teen is tough--and every teen child within even the same family poses different parenting challenges on his own individual schedule.  The author doesn't say that doing X or Y or Z will bring instant peace and harmony to your life.  Instead, he offers suggestions, tips, and examples of successful (and unsuccessful) teen zombie battles.  This book encourages parents to understand why things are happening in their families--so that they are better able to develop an action plan to turn things in the right direction.

Would I recommend My Teenage Zombie:  Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent in your Home by David Henderson, MD.  I am not a psychologist--I am a mother with three daughters.  I survived the teenage years of Daughter 1.  Barely.  Daughter 2 is now officially a teen--and daughter three is only a couple of years behind.  I found myself sharing many stories and realizations from this book with my husband as I read.  I found myself noting that the advice and suggestions simply made sense--and were reasonably easy to put into practice in our life. Many of those parental doubts and insecurities that the author discussed were very familiar to me--even as I venture into teen zombie land for the second time!   I would recommend this book to any parent nearing the teen years.  (My youngest daughter is 10--but, there are suggestions that I could use now to (hopefully) limit some of the teen drama-zombie phase in the future!)  Being a teen is different than it was 20 years ago--or even 5-7 years ago!  Parenting a teen is also different.  This book helps parents gain an understanding of their house zombies--and also offers that little bit of support in letting them know that they are not battling zombies alone!

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Meet the Author:

 Dr. David Henderson is a board certified psychiatrist, author and speaker. He is the founder and president of Four Stones PLLC, a mental health consulting practice in Dallas, Texas. For five years, Dr. Henderson served as the Department Chair of Psychology and Counseling at Criswell College, rebuilding its Masters in Counseling Program and starting the undergraduate major in Psychology. He also helped to develop a fully online counseling curriculum for the school.

In addition, Dr. Henderson has served as an adjunct professor of Psychology and Counseling at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is a member of the board of directors for Drug Prevention Resources, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing youth substance abuse. Dr. Henderson has presented nationally and internationally at conferences for the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, The Christian Association for Psychological Studies, and the Christian Medical and Dental Association.

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