Help! My Teenager is Addicted to Reading

I heard giggles coming from her bedroom. It was nearly midnight. She’d gone to bed hours before. I stared down the hallway expecting to see darkness but I saw a streak of light peaking under her door. Inching near her door I heard it. It’s a sound every parent fears coming from their teenagers room. I took a deep breathe and opened the door unsure of exactly what I might discover.

I’d caught her reading. Again.

My heart sank because this isn’t the teenage life I’d dreamt of for her. It’s not supposed to be this way.

Like millions of parents of teenagers I struggle with a teenager who is addicted to reading. Over coffee I explain the symptoms to my friends, their eyes swell sympathetically.

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Good grades
  • Growing vocabulary
  • The occasional late fee at the library
  • Excessive ideation and imagination
  • Exposure to life outside of San Diego

I know I’m not alone. Other parents suffer through this hellish reality, we are silently united– bonded over the sorrow of a lost teenage experience.

Action Plan to Cope With Teenage Reading Addiction

Though there is no known cure for teenage reading addiction, there are some things you can do which might help your teenager find their way out of the rabbit hole.


  1. Introduce YouTube – They say free time is the devil’s playground. Well, I suggest trying to keep your teenager distracted from reading by occupying their time with something more healthy… viral video. With millions of videos in every genre known to mankind, encouraging your teenager to access YouTube on their phone or tablet seems to distract their mind from the itch they feel to pick up a book.
  2. A Boyfriend – It’s nearly impossible to read books while kissing and/or holding hands. A boyfriend is an excellent remedy for a reading addiction. Just make sure to check his wallet. If he has a library card he is bad news, kick him to the curb.
  3. Bullying – Many teenagers who bully also have a low literacy rate. This can be an excellent alternative for teenagers with a high literacy rate. While introducing bullying to your teenagers life may be a tough sell, they may discover that being the villain in their story is more interesting than reading about the villain in a book.

Fellow parents: What are other ways you are helping your teenager overcome a reading addiction? 

Photo credit: Pile of Books by Texas State Library Archives via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Leaping Lambs of Innocence Embraced

A week ago my oldest turned thirteen.

Sometimes in life you realize you are rounding a corner while you’re actually rounding the corner… and Megan turning thirteen was one of them. Things are changing for her. How we’re parenting her is changing. It’s pretty amazing to have a front row seat to all that’s changing in her life.


Jackson Time


One of the traditions I’m trying to introduce is taking each of the kids on a “dad trip” once per year. I don’t pretend to be a model parent, I do a lot of things wrong— But one thing I think I’m doing well is creating memorable experiences with Megan, Paul, and Jackson.


This isn’t The Cosby Show

I grew up with The Cosby Show. Thursday nights on NBC.

It was must-see TV.



The kids try not to think about it.

But there is a growing pile of things under the Christmas tree with their names on it.

That pile calls out to them.

parenting San Diego State

Small Talk

One thing that works for me as a parent is creating [hopefully] memorable experiences. I’m not great in the day-to-day. But I feel like I’m pretty decent when I can do something special with my kids.

We used yesterday’s Wooden Legacy Finals in Anaheim as an excuse to hang out together for twelve hours. And as much as I’d like to say that I had some sort of a grand plan to make the most out of our day together, I really didn’t. I just knew we were going to spend time together and over the course of that I hoped we’d enjoy some bonding time and get past our normal small talk.


Solo Time

Megan and Dad3 hours from now Megan and I are leaving for the airport. We’ll fly to Chicago today where we’ll spend a few days together exploring the city before doing some work Monday through Wednesday.

In so many ways the McLane’s are Chicagoans. We both moved to the city in 1994 for college. We met there in 1995. And the first 5 years of our marriage was living in Chicago and later in Forest Park, a nearby suburb. And, of course, Megan was born at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago.


Making Memories with My Kids

Making Memories with My Kids
Whether it’s celebrating New Years with the kids or going to a big game. We’re always making memories.

“They Grow Up So Fast”

They grow up so fast, enjoy it. Blink and they’ll be 20.” Is there a more annoying thing to tell a new parent? Knee deep in dirty diapers, sleep deprivation, and the constant worry that you’re going to somehow screw up God’s little gift to you… the only thing you want is to catch some solid sleep between now and when that baby is old enough to talk to you about what they want and crap in the toilet all by themselves.


Parenting with a goal in mind

Here are some words Kristen and I use to describe our long-term hopes for our kids. 

  1. Independent-minded.
  2. Dependent on a loving God.
  3. Recklessly, hope-filled dream chasers.
  4. Happy and simple adult relationships.

We jokingly sum up our goal of parenting like this, “We don’t ever want to see our kids on Springer.

That’s not the most articulate thing in the world, it doesn’t lay everything out, but it does keep the end-goal in mind.

Books parenting social media The Youth Cartel

A secret deal on my book

My new book, co-authored with Marko, comes out next week.

I’m very excited about it for two specific reasons.

  1. Parents of teenagers really need this book. The days of fighting or banning or trying to wall off kids from social media is over. Parents need to know how to help their child live a life that will increasingly be lived online. This book does that really well. It’s short, easy to understand, and very practical.
  2. I’m proud of how this turned out. Marko and I worked really hard on making a book that’ll last a few years. We focused on helping parents understand social media while avoiding all of the pitfalls of your typical Christian book about media– there’s nothing here that is alarmist. We aren’t trying to scare parents, we are providing tested principles that have worked for years, work today, and will work for years to come. Trust me, that wasn’t easy.

Here’s the Official Description

With each passing day, teenagers’ lives become increasingly intertwined with social media. How can you as a parent stay informed and involved in healthy ways? How can you help your son or daughter make wise decisions and remain safe online?

A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media will equip you to have meaningful conversations with your teenager about the best, wisest ways to get connected while staying safe.

Your guides for this journey are Mark Oestreicher and Adam McLane, who draw from their own wells of experience as parents and youth workers. They’ll help you chart a course toward discovering and practicing wise family online activity.

My Secret Deal

I would love for you to get this book in the hands of all the parents in your ministry. Like the other books in this series, this would be great to use as the content of a parent meeting. In fact, the book is based on a short seminar I’ve done for parents of teenagers in a bunch of churches.

You can pre-order it on our site right now for $6.99.

If you buy 10 or more copies, you’ll automatically get free shipping on your entire order. (media mail, US addresses only) Check this out. Add whatever else you want to that same order, as long as you order 10 or more copies of the book, you’re getting free shipping.

If you buy 20 or more copies, I’ll still pick up the tab for shipping on your order, and I’ll start tossing goodies in the box.

This secret deal expires on December 15th.

p.s. If you don’t automatically get free shipping, apply coupon code SECRET62