When it comes to teenagers, truth is way scarier than fiction.

Love in the Time of Contempt is a funny, poignant account of the dramas and delights of parenting people who know it all, who don’t yet have a fully functioning brain and who desperately need us to parent them – just not in the way we’re used to.

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About Love in the Time of Contempt.

Joanne Fedler won’t tell you how to be the ‘perfect’ parent. She’s not a psychologist or an academic. But she is the mother of two teenagers, and she knows how it feels to be the parent of someone sprouting hair, tits and attitude all over the place. Love in the Time of Contempt is a gritty, hilarious look at the day-to-day interactions with teenagers, and the tussled, frazzled and complex business of remaining mature while supporting someone to become an adult. Fedler shares her philosophy that we are meant to parent imperfectly – our mistakes are the start of the important conversations we need to have with our kids. She guides us through enduring intermittent bouts of contempt and not taking it personally, picking the fights that are worth having, and surviving the journey from frustration, to confusion, to elation and back again.

Fedler takes us on a journey through the myriad of issues that parents of teenagers face, including our kids’ changing bodies, drinking and drugs, sex, friendships, appearance, family relationships, attitudes and ethics, schooling, authority and more. Fedler suggests that to help our kids grow into adults, we have to make sure we have grown up enough ourselves.

Love in the Time of Contempt is a funny, poignant account of the dramas and delights of parenting people who know it all, who don’t yet have a fully functioning brain and who desperately need us to parent them – just not in the way we’re used to.

Read chapter 1 from Love in the Time of Contempt

There will come a time when a person you most likely pushed out through your vagina and nursed from your nipples, whose bottom you wiped, and whose snot and spit you cleaned up over several sleep-starved years will apprehend you with a mixture of boredom and irritation and say, ‘Get a life, Mum.’…

Or why not try one of Joanne’s free downloads:

A Values Template for Parents of Teenagers

A Meditation for Parents of Teenagers

Love in the Time of Contempt Extra Chapter

What the critics (and parents) are saying about Love in the Time of Contempt...


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Dani Klein, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist

"How refreshing to finally have a book aimed at parents which is not a guide on “how to”. This extremely insightful, honest and engaging book finally looks at the world of adolescence from a place of deep reflection. This is not supposed to be a prescription or answers based on research but rather looks to understand the journey of adolescence in today’s world with a keen understanding of the psychodynamics which unfold in us as adults and parents. Parenting is so much about managing the myriad of obstacles life throws at us and our children and this book so aptly titled “consolations” looks extremely honestly, and at times with laugh out loud moments, at how we too navigate the world of parenting an adolescent.

Fedler’s writing is so engaging, authentic and thoughtful that I was left on countless occasions wanting to jot down a line which resonated. “Childbirth is never over. We are always birthing them, letting go of them, giving them to the world”. This was an outstanding overview of how to understand the world of the teenager today – most significantly by first understanding on how it impacts on our internal world as adults. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to joyfully reflect and also to be consoled on the journey of parenting an adolescent."
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Kerri Sackville, author, columnist, speaker

I had always planned to write a memoir about parenting teens, but Jo has written it for me, with her poignant, irreverent and hilarious book, 'Love In The Time of Contempt'.
With perhaps the most apt title out of any work about teens ever written, the book beautifully elucidates the challenges, heartbreak and hysteria of losing our babies and enduring their awkward metamorphosis to adulthood. I found myself nodding, laughing, wincing, and wondering how the hell Jo smuggled the hidden cameras into my home.
This book doesn't offer guidelines, just the overwhelming comfort of knowing we are not alone in our struggles.


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Jenny Gering (psychologist)

"Jo starts off by saying that this isn't a "how-to" book. However I disagree. It gives an honest, humorous and raw account of "how-to":
- get through difficult moments
- remain connected
- parent
- stay in control
- communicate
- grow up
- prioritize the important battles
- grab spontaneous moments
- let go
- enjoy
- trust, and
- survive ones adolescent children. This is a poignant book filled with real stories about real people. It offers anecdotes and interactions, and provides deep insight and understanding. This book is highly recommended to parents, therapists, teachers and anyone who just wants a good book, written by a very talented author."


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Jackie (parent)

"This book makes me want to be a better parent. I've been more mindful of my children, their needs, my response to them over the last couple of days I've been reading this book. But I've also been more forgiving of myself for the dozens of little mistakes and possibly big ones I've made and continue to make as a parent. I find myself flinching at some of Jo's honesty; giggling with recognition at truths that lie under layers of denial for most parents but which Jo readily admits with a smile. I find myself sighing with relief that there are still parents who bath with their children, walk naked around them, and aren't afraid to expose that we can still be human, frail and (gasp) wrong at times. This book is not for parents who believe there is one right way to be a parent, that by following a set of rigid rules there will be a salvation from the torments of bringing up teenagers. But I think this book can serve to make us braver in a new world. For me, with 3 children, only one of whom has barely stepped over the precipice of the pre-teen state line, this book serves as one part horror, one part comedy. I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry when I read about the type of drama that lies in store for me. But I am mostly grateful for this corruption of my innocence. Don't they say that success is 90% in the preparation?"


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Phillipa (parent)

"…after reading Joanne's book, ( I feel) armed with a secret weapon. When I dropped (my teenager) off at school to go on his Grade 8 camp this morning I said to him "I'm sure you don't want me carrying all your bags over to where your friends are, so I'll kiss you goodbye here." He smiled, gave me a hug and a kiss and waltzed off, and I smiled to myself as all the other parents walked with their cringing children to the bus, completely unaware. (As parents) we think we have all the answers when in truth we don't. And as long as we're prepared to accept that, this incredible, heartwarming, funny book will become a firm favourite on our parenting bookshelves."


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Frances (parent)

"One can read books written by doctors, counsellors and health professionals to find answers but what good is a case study or theories when your child doesn't tick all the boxes on their checklist to warrant 'help'. Joanne has demonstrated through real life experiences that the teen throwing caution to the wind and taking risk is the teen that once lived within you. Love the statement "so how do we stay sane while reconciling the double standards of our own history and watching our kids dance on the precipice of jeopardy."
So raw and honest were the scenarios with her children and those of her peers that I felt part of the conversation or replaying a familiar scene. Joanne has hit the mark with this book and no longer should anyone feel alone or daunted by the prospect of 'teen hood'. Fathers should not be spared from these words of wisdom as it will bridge many gaps in strained relationships.",/i>


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Carran (parent)

"A must read for all parents. If you have already raised teenagers this book will be a comfort. If you are raising teenagers now this book will be a guiding hand and if you are about to raise teenagers this book will be a gift.

Honest, humorous, sheer brilliance."


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Nikki (parent)

"Joanne has the ability to put into words exactly what I am thinking and if I am not thinking it yet, I soon will be. The book reminds us that we are not alone and “this too shall pass.” Love in the Time of Contempt may not be written as a typical parenting or self help book but nobody has said it can’t be written as a brilliant reference book for when we are feeling contempt in a time of love.

The thing about this book is that it is a book just waiting to be re-read…the book offered insights expressed in a way that so few can. I can't wait to read it again."

Joanne Fedler

It’s no great ‘I always wanted to be a writer’ story. Nothing like that. Growing up in South Africa, I figured I’d become a judge or politician. Back then I thought that was the way to fix the broken world. But words were my friends, I grabbed them early, and loved the shape they made on the page, the way they escorted me up a faraway tree and through space. At six, I wrote and illustrated my first story, Goodbye Kitchen, which was thin on plot, but big on food – a theme that seems to have followed me into adulthood.

What Happened Next

I went on to study law at Yale, spent years fighting for women’s rights, counseling abused women and setting up a not-for-profit advocacy centre. In 2004, Hustler magazine made me ‘Asshole of the Month,’ for my view that violent pornography wasn’t so fabulous for women’s equality. It was a great honour.

What I Birthed

I had babies, moved countries and finally finished the novel I’d been working on for ten years, The Dreamcloth (2005). Ever since, I’ve been writing full-time. My books have been published in the UK, Australia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Croatia and South Africa. In Germany, Weiberabend (Secret Mothers’ Business) made it onto Der Spiegel’s bestseller list in 2008, the sort of lucky break you always think will never happen to you.

How I Come Alive

When I’m not writing, drinking coffee or exercising, I sometimes venture out into the world to teach creative or life-writing. Together with Women’s Own Adventure, I take women on writing adventures to destinations all over the world. I also offer intensive writing retreats to small groups where I’m able to focus on each person and help them lift their stories out. Everyone has something they want to say, a legend about who they are. I want to help people find sense of belonging – to themselves, to their life’s purpose and to this beautiful, battered world, through writing and sharing their stories.

Please join my Facebook community group A Million Connected Parents where you can connect with a tribe of other parents of teenagers; share your stories and get some support for whatever you’re going through. Feel free to post any bits of wisdom, advice or consolation you feel would help other parents too. Let’s keep the conversation going.

If you enjoyed this book, would you consider writing a review on Amazon or Goodreads or share the love on Facebook, Twitter, with your friends over a coffee or with other parents in your social groups, schools or communities.

Don’t be a stranger – join me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. I love hearing from readers.

My deepest thanks,
Joanne

www.joannefedler.com

 

Photo credit: Simon Taylor

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