Watching kids turn into teenagers is by turns fascinating, frustrating and downright frightening. We’ve already been there ourselves of course, but it doesn’t seem to make them any easier to deal with. If you need a helping hand when it comes to bringing up teenagers, these books will help.
1Get Out of My Life – Tony Wolf & Suzanne Franks
For many, this is the ‘survival bible’ for parents of teenagers. It deals with everything from social media and online threats to porn, drugs and more in a humorous and matter-of-fact way. ‘What They Do and Why’ – the title of the second chapter – pretty much sums up the book’s approach. There are also useful tips on how to handle specific behaviours.
2Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed – Nicola Morgan
This carefully researched book charts the teenage brain and how it works. It explains why teenagers need more sleep, why they’re driven to take risks, and even the reasons behind addictions and depression. It’s written in an engaging way and doesn’t apportion blame; there are even quizzes the family can do together.
3Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and the New Realities of Girl World – Rosalind Wiseman
This book was the inspiration for the film Mean Girls and offers concrete strategies to help teenage girls develop self-respect and be socially competent. The impact of technology on teenage life, how girls choose their friends, how they express anger and how they cope with the opposite sex are all covered. There’s also a look at how girls ‘power play’ and the roles they fill in different kinds of cliques. With plenty of real-life examples, it’s well worth a read if you have a teen or pre-teen daughter.
4How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk – Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
Part of this duo’s acclaimed How to Talk series, this book offers tried and tested methods to help parents communicate with their teens. It offers practical advice in an easy-to-read way and provides parents with real tools to help them navigate their child’s adolescent years.
5Sex, Likes & Social Media – Allison Harvey & Deanna Puccio
Today’s teenagers are digital natives – they’ve never known a world without the internet or Facebook. For parents who’ve had to learn about the digital age in adulthood, steering kids through it is unchartered territory. This book is based on the authors’ own experiences. It gives you tips, statistics and conversation starters on everything from dealing with online bullying to coping with life at university.
6Divas and Door Slammers – Charlie Taylor
If you’re living with endless arguments, tantrums and sulking, you need to read this book. The author offers a seven-point strategy, with the focus on the power of praise. It will help parents break the pattern of negativity and confrontation, restoring harmony to the family. Good, practical advice coupled with an explanation of how the teenage brain changes during puberty and adolescence.
7The Teenage Brain – Dr Frances E Jensen with Amy Ellis Nutt
Neuroscientist Jensen wrote this book following the challenging and confusing times she experienced with her own sons. The brain has very distinct stages of development during adolescence, and Jensen explains this in the context of everyday tasks and learning. If you want to understand your teenager and feel less helpless about parenting, this is for you.