Tough Guys and Drama Queens
Mark Gregston, Thomas Nelson, 2013

£16.67 (Approx)
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What does it say on the tin?

My little princess-a drama queen? Our sweet boy-a tough guy? Surely not…

Are you ready for your child’s teen years?

If you’ve ever lain awake at night wondering what might be around the corner of your child’s adolescence, this study is for you! After more than thirty-eight years of working with more than 2,500 teens, Mark Gregston introduces Tough Guys and Drama Queens – for parents of preteens and teens with time-tested, biblical techniques to guide you through these unavoidably challenging years.

Mark helps parents realise that some natural parenting approaches are counterproductive and therefore totally ineffective. He offers tried-and-true wisdom on the vital importance of relationship and forgiveness, and he explains how conflict is actually the precursor to change.

Each day your children are bombarded by a highly sexualized culture and overexposed to words and images that can influence them beyond your reach. Your connection to them during these years is critical as is your response to tough issues such as:

  • Appearance.
  • Performance
  • Authority and respect.
  • Boundaries.

The Tough Guys and Drama Queens DVD-based Study blends Mark’s humour with practical and biblical insights and offers proactive tools to prepare you for the incredible teen years ahead.

What do you get?

Facilitators guide, which includes the parent’s guide. Parent’ guide. Exercises for establishing boundaries and rules. Questions for discussion. Action points for engaging your preteen or teen. Nine sessions of 60 minutes each:

  • Introduction – Lessons from a Duck Hunt.
  • What’s So Different About Today’s Culture?
  • Why Traditional Parenting No longer Works.
  • A New Model for Parenting Teens.
  • Stop Controlling, Start Trusting.
  • Add Clear Boundaries.
  • Subtract Strictness.
  • See Conflict as a Precursor to Change.
  • Take a Regular Break.

Who is it for?

Small groups, adults, parents. Enquiring, Beginning, Growing.


  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Good DVD presentation and nicely produced books for facilitators and parents. Thorough and thought-through exploration of the challenges of parenting tweens and teens, from a man who has worked with over 2,400 of them, and runs a ministry dedicated to helping those who have hit problems. Could be used as an outreach resource.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Mostly clear, though it is not entirely obvious how to use the ‘focus exercises’ section. Great input for the facilitators to choose from.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Mostly easy to use, clearly thought through and inspirational. Sections laid out well, with all parents’ guide included in leaders – all input specific to facilitators is printed in bold. Would be easy to use. In typical American style, there is lots of material to get through – it would probably take longer than the recommended 60 minutes, depending on your choices. Timings given for Welcome; Reflections from the week; DVD; Focus exercises (key concepts and discussion of selected questions); Action Point for the week; Prayer and close.

    Who could lead it?

    A facilitator who is also a parent.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    Great, clear material to read – introduction to the topic, which reflects on and expands the DVD presentation, all the focus exercises and questions, plus ‘homework’. Action point for the week.

    How good is any digital material?

    Gregston presents all the DVDs, from his cabin, with some glimpses of his location at Heartlight Ministries, complete with sunshine, horses and lush woodland and pastures. Gregston is engaging, relaxed, and makes his points with clarity and gentleness.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Each session will run easily, but a facilitator would need to choose from the questions and exercises for their group.

    Is there website support? Links?

    There is a website about Heartlight ministries, but none directly about this resource.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Very good – plenty of time for feedback, discussion and prayer.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Good mix of DVD, reading, discussion, icebreakers and prayer.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Assumes that many parents are struggling with a heavy attitude to parenting – too serious and worried, with a strong church lifestyle. The UK equivalent would probably be middle class. Offers clear and inspiring alternatives to such unhelpful approaches. Despite being presented by a self-confessed American country man, most of the material crosses the pond well. The opening example of a duck hunt was very different to UK experiences, but the lessons brought out of it were strong and applicable here too. The majority of the principles are extremely helpful, despite Gregston’s 1950’s moustache, horses and log cabin.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Expectation that each participant will read the chapter for each session beforehand; and that parents will work on the material together outside the sessions, where possible, whether or not they live in the same house. As well as discussion, the ‘focus exercises’ and DVD material should provoke great and honest exchanges and learning from other members of the group. Each session concludes with an Action point for the week which is focused on the topic.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Very little direct biblical content.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Gregston refers to various Proverbs and other Scriptural principles as foundational to his presentations.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Biblical principles underpin the assumptions for growth and future fruitfulness for kids, plus the aspirations for bringing up kids to become like Jesus. Great focus on hope, love and forgiveness.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Gregston has an American Methodist background.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    While this resource is not bible-based as such, the aspirations are deeply Christian, and include the aim for kids to grow up wanting to explore faith for themselves.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    The material would challenge parents to take a step back from their day-to-day parenting, and think it through from a more objective standpoint. This is bound to be challenging. The closing prayer requests and prayer time would be essential.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Parenting is one of the most challenging experiences of life, and one which should drive us back again and again to God for his help. However, the way that Gregston presents his material would also suit non-churchgoers, as most of the material would be generally applicable to a UK middle class lifestyle.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Strong emphasis on compassion, hope and understanding, with forgiveness and acceptance high on the agenda. Good examples from Gregston of interaction with kids who are struggling.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    This material could be used for evangelism, as the direct Christian content is limited to a few references to Scripture and church-going. The assumptions, however, are all biblical.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    This material could be used for an outreach course – a mixture of Christian and non-churchgoers would work very well.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Good acknowledgement of the challenges of the twenty-first century as far as growing up in it is concerned, without being too dated. Calls a spade a spade, with common teenage behaviour and challenges readily acknowledged. Should be applicable for a few years yet.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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