Book Review – 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

7 HabitsIf you have a child between 12 and 19 years old you should have them read this book.  In fact, if you haven’t read it or the adult version – 7 Habits for Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – YOU need to read this book!  I consider this to be the TOP self-help book for young people.

I’ve had multiple classes read 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey (son of Stephen) in several different venues – private school, high school charter school, and homeschool group classes.  All of my students really benefited from it.  Covey uses interesting graphics throughout to get and keep readers’ attention.  He also has a ton of examples that young people really relate to.

The life skills that are taught in this book are things I wish had been spelled out for me when I was a kid.  The first habit he talks about is being proactive.  This alone is so powerful! Being proactive is about taking responsibility for your choices and looking ahead to consequences.  I think all of us could benefit from doing more of that!

I also really like how he has broken up the 7 habits into 3 groups – habits that help you personally, habits that help your relationships with others, and, the last one, a habit that helps you make it all work successfully.

Last year I used this book for a middle school leadership class I taught at a private school once a week.  We took a habit a month.  The first week we would read and discuss about it.  The second and third week they would work in groups to come up with a way to teach it to younger kids.  The fourth week they were in classrooms teaching the concepts they learned.  Most of the time they would think up games or activities to teach the habits.  Sometimes they would put on skits.  I loved seeing all the learning going on!

I’ve only had one problem with this book and it was when all my students were middle schoolers. It brings up making good choices, and since its target audience is high schoolers, the subject of drugs and premarital sex do come up.  My 12 & 13 year old students were a little uncomfortable reading these sections, even though it just gave these as examples, it didn’t go into any details.  If you are reading this with your kids this would be a great opportunity to talk more about these topics, but, if your child isn’t ready for these topics, I’d suggest waiting until they were older.

If you’ve wanted to read the adult version of this book, or have tried several times and just couldn’t get through it… start by reading this one.  It is a very easy read and gives the foundational ideas of the adult version.  I teach a 2 year class where we have our students read the teen version the first semester and the adult version the third semester.  It is so much easier to read the adult version once you have read the other.

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