Parenting teenagers can be challenging—the onslaught of hormones and physical changes that accompany this stage of your child’s life can leave you scratching your head and wondering who this vaguely-adult-looking creature is where your little buddy used to be. As your teenager is moving toward independence, it’s common for the parent/child bond to become strained. Luckily, there are resources to help ease the passage through this journey.
Here are some helpful books on parenting teenagers, like roadmaps through the rocky terrain of this life stage, offering hope and guidance.
General Books on Parenting Teens
The following books are a great jumping off point on the topic of parenting your teenager.
1. Parenting Teens With Love and Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood by Foster Cline, MD & Jim Fay
From the authors of the bestselling Parenting With Love and Logic, this teen-specific resource empowers parents to raise responsible tweens, teens, and young adults without anger, nagging, or power struggles. Learn to set healthy boundaries, encourage important skills, and foster effective decision-making with empathy and grace. Reviews state how easy it is to follow this guide, and it’s hailed as a must-read for parents looking to communicate more effectively with their teen.
Teaching parents how to implement responsibility and set boundaries in an ever-changing social culture for their teen is one of the primary lessons from authors Jim Fay and Foster Cline. Filled with true accounts of parents achieving success with the teachings herein, this book delivers real-world guidance on real-world situations.
2. The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult by Josh Shipp
Written from the perspective of a former “at-risk teen” in foster care, Josh Shipp tells of the foster dad who wouldn’t give up on him and the impact it had on him. Over 500 glowing reviews stating how effective Shipp’s methods are and how easy it is to forget that teens really do want to connect with their families. Written with lots of warmth and humor, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans is a staple for any parent wanting to raise a strong, respectable adult.
“Now, in The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans, Shipp shows all of us how to be that caring adult in a teenager’s life. Stressing the need for compassion, trust, and encouragement, he breaks down the phases of a teenager from sixth to twelfth grade, examining the changes, goals, and mentality of teens at each stage. Shipp offers revelatory stories that take us inside the teen brain, and shares wisdom from top professionals and the most expert grown-ups.” – Amazon.com reviewer
3. Does your teen TALK? No, but they Text, Snap, & TikTok: 10 Subjects every parent should ask their TEEN to get them TALKING more in a digital world by Nicole Rice
This is a relevant book in this age of technology and communication! It’s easy to feel left out in this rapidly evolving era of the digital age. Teenagers, however, are leading the pack with their use of social media and the ways they connect with their peers online.
“If you’re a parent of a teen, this is a must-have! The book is packed with very helpful tips for connecting with your teen! I think this book is great for Grandparents and teachers as well. Well written, great examples!” -Amazon.com reviewer
4. The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively by Gary Chapman
Gary Chapman’s popular Love Language series continues with a focus on parent/teenager relationships. Discovering your teenager’s love language opens up more effective communication and understanding in the family, while also teaching ways to navigate anger and conflict successfully. Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, and Acts of Service can each have varying results depending on the individual, with different degrees of effectiveness.
The strengths of this book also lay in the way the chapters are structured to include all types of family units. From single parent households to blended families and beyond, Chapman’s methods aim to include resolution techniques for any family that is struggling with communication.
Books About Teen Development
Sometimes in the midst of communication struggles and teen drama, it’s easy to forget that the teenager’s brain and body are still developing. The human brain develops at an uneven rate during this part of the human growth cycle, which can lead to impulsive decision making, increase in the potential for addictive behaviors and lowered levels of self-regulation.1
The following books are good sources to explore the changes that happen during teen development and how best to meet them head on.
5. Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.
Hailed as a “wilderness therapy field guide manual to the adolescent brain,” parents and therapists alike enjoy the resources Dr. Daniel J. Siegel has assembled in this book on not only what is happening in the teen brain but also why those things happen.
As one reviewer emphatically states: “As an educator and crisis intervention provider, it is important to understand the physiological makeup and intricate inner working of the teenage brain and mind. Dr Siegel offers a reasonable explanation for those developmental complexities and the vulnerability of the rapid growth and changes taking place.”
6. The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances E. Jensen, M.D. with Amy Ellis Nutt
The scientific study of the teenager’s brain has come a long way in recent years. With that, old ideas of how to relate to teenagers have been rewritten and new light has been shed on the teen’s thought processes and understanding. Dr. Jensen gathers what we’ve discovered about adolescent brain function, wiring, and capacity, and explains the science in the contexts of everyday learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction, and decision-making. In this groundbreaking yet accessible book, these findings also yield practical suggestions that will help adults and teenagers negotiate the mysterious world of adolescent development.
7. Secrets of the Teenage Brain: Research-Based Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Today’s Adolescents by Sheryl G. Feinstein
Let’s face it, even though we all went through the teen years, once we are on the other side it becomes a mystery of communication that begins anew. Teenagers can be mystifying to parents and educators. They exhibit a daunting array of dangerous tendencies and characteristics, like mood swings, angst, forgetfulness, and a proclivity for risk-taking. The revised and expanded edition of this hands-on guide helps unlock these secrets by explaining the biological and neurological changes happening in the teenage brain.
Books to Help You Talk to Your Teen About Difficult Topics
So, we’ve established that the teen brain is just built differently. That alone can present problems in day to day communication. It then begs the question, how do parents communicate effectively regarding the more difficult topics? The following books are designed to provide solutions to more difficult situations that parents and teens may encounter.
8. When Anxiety Makes You Angry: CBT Anger Management Skills for Teens with Anxiety-Driven Anger by Kelsey Torgerson Dunn, LCSW
“This is a wonderful resource to help adolescents who feel misunderstood and/or find themselves getting into trouble with the adults in their life. The author provides a great explanation on how anxiety can be expressed in anger and practical tips to adolescents on how to make little changes that could have a positive impact on all of their relationships. I highly recommend this book!’ – Amazon.com review.
The teen years are full of changes, and sometimes it can be hard to deal with all the worry, uncertainty, and setbacks (without getting angry). But with the right tools, you can take control of anxiety and the difficult emotions it causes—and face the challenges ahead with confidence and a clear head. This friendly guide has your back.
9. Stop Sweating & Start Talking: How to Make Sex Chats with Your Kids Easier Than You Think by Andrea Brand
An approachable, sex-positive resource on how to talk to your kids about sex…and keep the communication going beyond “The Talk.” You want your kids to make healthy choices, especially when it comes to sex. But when the time comes, you might find yourself tongue-tied and dodging hard conversations. With this parent’s guide to proactive sex education for teens, learn how you can become your kid’s go-to resource for accurate sex information—instead of the internet and media.
10. STOP THE CAP, YOU DON’T CARE! Talking to Teens About Tough Topics and Showing That You Care. A Mindful guide with 7 emotionally supportive strategies by Sabrina Hart
This modern guide tackles talking to your teen about tough topics using vernacular both speaker and listener are familiar with. From the reviews, “As the principal of a special education middle school primarily serving students with emotional disabilities, this text laid a great foundation for anyone looking to connect with teens- extra challenging or otherwise. Sabrina Hart provides excellent question stems throughout the book which open/further a conversation in ways that teens will participate. I highly recommend this book for anyone who genuinely wants to build deeper relationships with the teens in their life.”
Books on Parenting Teenage Daughters
Now more than ever, today’s teenage girls face so much that can put them at risk for serious issues including self-harming behaviors, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Being a teenage girl is difficult and parenting one also comes with unique challenges. The following books aim to help support a smoother communication pathway for teen daughters and their parents/caregivers.
11. Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter by Kari Kampakis
With an extra focus on the mother/teen daughter dynamic, Love Her Well looks to provide the foundation, habits, and dynamics of a relationship where mothers can connect with their teen daughters and earn a voice in their lives that allows moms to offer guidance, love, wisdom, and emotional support. This is a faith-based guide, however reviewers from all walks of life claim Love Her Well has greatly improved relationships with their teenage daughters.
12. “Mom’s Guide” Parenting Your Teenage Daughter: Build a Better Connection with Your Teen Girl Tackling Anxiety, Intense Emotions, Depression, Self-Esteem issues and more by Tammy Cobbs
Does your teenage daughter seem distant to you or find you embarrassing? Are you constantly worried about the stress and anxiety that teenage girls go through from social life to school? Are you struggling to keep up with her as she transitions from child to adult? Filled with personality and guidance, Tammy Cobb brings her wisdom and experiences as the mother of two sets of twins to the genre with this easy-to-follow guide.
13. Parenting a Teen Girl: A Crash Course on Conflict, Communication and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter by Lucie Hemmen, PHD
Lucie Hemmen, PhD wastes no time getting to the root of the matter in this crash course on parenting your teen girl. Her “you might be noticing” descriptions are so accurate that anyone with a teen daughter will find themselves nodding in agreement with the situations and thoughtful solutions. Whether your teen girl is struggling with academic pressure, social difficulties, physical self-care, or technology overload, this book offers practical advice to help you connect with your teen girl. Parents and teens alike can enjoy a positive connection once common parent-teen pitfalls are replaced with solid understanding and strategies that work.
Talking to a Therapist or Parent Coach
While these books are a phenomenal place to start, they are not a replacement for talking to a professional, like a therapist (for yourself or for your teen) or a parenting coach. If you or your teen need a therapist, you can talk to your primary care provider or visit an online therapist directory to find a qualified professional therapist that would fit your family’s needs in your area today. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone.