A review of Get Outta My Face!: How to Reach Angry, Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel by Rick Horne. Wapwallopen: Shepherd Press, 2009, 176 pages.
The book is divided into three main parts: I. What You Must Understand to Connect with You Teen, II. What You Must Do to Help Your Teen and III. How to Make the Changes Stick. These parts are further divided amongst 11 chapters. There is also a handy Helpful Reminders appendix that summarizes each of the three sections as a quick reference guide.
This might seem like a lot of information to cover in only 176 pages. However, the purpose of this book is not to be a complete handbook of counseling. This book has a “narrow focus” using “biblical Wisdom Literature” to equip people to take “initiative as communicators with teens who probably don’t want to talk.” (21-22)
Part I, chapters 1-5, takes the reader through not only understanding teens, but also understanding oneself. This understanding comes through applying a biblical lens. Parents who have a teenager as well as those who counsel teens will relate with the author’s anecdotes in the book. The Biblical application in this book should convict the parent/counselor to check themselves before God in how they react to their teen. Horne’s “eight biblical lenses” (28) starts with the fact that “teens, just like parents and counselors” (29) are all sinners. The author then expounds seven other biblical lenses to help see and understand angry teens.
Part II, chapters 6-9, is the “how-to” section. Horne gives us the acronym LCLP in this section which is the “conceptual core of this book.” (24) LCLP stands for “Listen Big, Clarify Narrow, Look Wide, Plan Small.” (79) The steps in LCLP are not necessarily chronological steps, but “waves” with a “great deal of overlap.” (80) In these chapters, Horne really shows the “how-to” by using examples of conversations. The author walks the reader through how to respond in these conversations. There are actually a lot of practical applications in this section that will help those working with teens communicate more effectively.
Part III, chapters 10-11, is the section on perseverance with the final goal in mind. In other words, continue the conversation and connection that’s been built while taking the teen to the cross. Horne actually concludes with the hope of the cross of Christ. He encourages the reader “to build the bridge of communication and then work with your teen to help him or her make wise choices, let the presence of Christ, because of the cross, be your joy.” (170)
I recommend this book to those who work with teens in counseling or ministry, parents of teen or soon to be parents of teens. Beyond teenagers, those with younger children can benefit from the author’s approach in several areas. One of the most important areas is that we are all sinners and need to check ourselves before God. Aside from parents and counselors, this book can be helpful for anyone who has communication problems. The way people communicate and treat one another truly affects our relationships and attitudes. As Christians who are being sanctified, a healthy dose of self-examination while kneeling at the cross if just what is needed.
For what it’s worth…