Books about Parenting Teens

Parent Q&A

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Book Recs on Parental Conflict/Raising a Teen

July 2015

I’d like recommendations for books that address parental conflict in the context of raising a tween/teenager. This is the main point of tension in our marriage. I feel that my husband’s approach to parenting is too rigid and he feels that I take our child’s “side” if I intervene or even if I stay out of it (he says I’m not supportive). We have a pretty well-behaved, good kid with no social or academic problems—this should be easy! I need a book that helps us parent together without creating stressors in our relationship.


Love the book ''Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall''. By Anthony Wolf. Tells it like it is.

Seeking books about parenting teens

Jan 2013

I am looking for a few good books on parenting teens. As my kids get older, more serious issues arise and I want to approach them in a thoughtful way! We are dealing with driving and curfews and experimenting with alcohol and marijuana, friends we dont know, etc. The books recommended in the archives are several years old now, and I'm looking for a few good suggestions. Thanks! Mother of an exploring teenager

I like ''When Things Get Crazy with Your Teen: The Why, the How, and What to do Now'' by Michael J. Bradley.

Books: Book 1:An Unchanged Mind by Dr. John McKinnon Book 2: To Change a Mind by John McKinnon Executive Director of Montana Academy; therapeutic boarding school Both are excellent reads; outlines what he is seeing in the teen culture today and as a parent how to work with it. Jan

Any book by Mike Riera is great. Wendy

Mike Riera's books are not brand new, but his advice, psychology, & philosophy of parenting teens stills holds true, & continues to be very useful for many of the families with whom I work/have worked. Take a look at ''Staying Connected To Your Teenager: How To Keep Them Talking To You And How To Hear What They're Really Saying'', & ''Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers''. Renee

Positive Discipline for Teenagers by Jane Nelsen -- good over-arching parenting book for parenting teens. The Explosive Child by Ross Greene -- about getting to the root of chronic behavior issues by solving problems collaboratively with your child. Really good for teens, in my opinion. Marcilie

Books for teens on how to get along with parents?

Nov 2010

While there are a lot of books out there geared toward parents dealing with their teens, are there any books out there geared towards 'tweens (my daughter is 12) and teens about how they can get along better with their parents? Or is that just wishful thinking? My daughter doesn't appear to want to get along better, so this could be a pipe dream. :-0

Our daughter is stubborn, rude, bossy, uncommunicative, non-compliant, acts like she is in charge of everything. I'm currently reading some books, but would love it if there were any resources (daughter is a voracious reader) for 'tweens/teens. Thanks! frustrated beyond belief!

''Yes, Your Parents Are Crazy, A Survival Guide For Teens,'' by Michael J. Bradley. Companion book to ''Yes, You're Teen is Crazy, Loving Your Kid without Losing Your Mind.'' raissa

Book for Parents written by Teens

April 2005

On Monday April 11th, I was able to catch just part of an interview on NPR's Talk of the Nation. Neal Conan was interviewing two teen-aged girls, age 17, who wrote a book recently about their perspective of how parents relate to and might best talk to their teens. Unfortunately, I had to turn the program off before it finished, and I did not get the authors names or the name of this book. Anyone out there know what book this is? Thanks.

The book you are inquiring about, by Lara Fox and Hilary Frankel, is titled, ''Breaking the Code: Two Teens Reveal the Secrets to Better Parent-Child Communication''. The authors went to my high school, and the following info is from the alumni magazine - the authors ''saw a school meeting notice for an expert coming to talk on parent-teen communication. That sparked a discussion about the true experts on the teenage thought process -- teens! Their notion of doing a book on the topic was encouraged by their art teacher...who referred them to her sister... a literary agent.... When the students and their literary agent came for a meeting with [their prospective] editor, [she] asked curiously where the girls went to school; it wasn't in the proposal.... At that point the meeting veered way off course as [the editor] wanted to know if Hilary and Lara had Mr. Werner for English....'' mimi

Book on how to cope with girl adolescence

Sept 2004

Would anyone care to recommend a book(s) on how to deal with the shriekyness, prickliness, contentiousness, punctuated by alternate bouts of needing a hug and wanting to cuddle and telling me what a ''horrible'' mother I am, in an adolescent girl (11 1/2 year old) who is, outside of home, a delight, a high-achieving student with a lot of friends, impassioned about causes, and more respectful and gracious than a professional diplomat when dealing with the world outside of home. I have no illusions that this behavior will abate before age 20, so I would just like to know how to protect us and her (from my own frustration and yelping back at her). In short, my first born is a wonderful person who is acting like a stinky adolescent, right now, and we don't think that she would quite qualify for a girls ranch (just kidding).

Thanks for any suggestions.
Why Don't They Come With Instructions?

Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman is an informative read. It contains input from teens and adults and is set up to provide a peek ''inside'' the adolescent mind. It's very proactive in the sense that it provides scenarios, possible resolutions, hypothetical conversations re difficult topics, etc. Published 2003, available at the local library. Amy

Well, I hear your pain as it is mine too. And I would like a few recommendations also. I have a little store of books tthat I look at occassionally, one by Michael Ribera, about Uncommon Parenting (can't recall the full title), that is pretty basic about both girls and boys. I have also delved into Reviving Ophelia. My daughter received Ophelia Speaks for a gift and that is pretty interesting too. I also bought for her the Chicken Soup for teenage-souls books. She really likes those. I just looked on Amazon and here's an interesting title:Ophelia's Mom: Women Speak Out About Loving and Letting Go of Their Adolescent Daughters -- by Nina Shandler. Sounds good.

I go through similar stuff and try and take deep breaths, at the same time I try to remind her to be respectful of me. Even if she doesn't like me all the time it doesn't mean she can speak badly to me or be disrespectful. It's a hard job, but hopefully we will all make it through without damaging each other. My daughter is in therapy and I can talk to her therapist anytime I need some answers or practical advice about how to live with this new person I birthed! I also talk to my friends and we compare notes. It somehow makes it better to hear howother people are coping. Good Luck

I really liked ''The Wonder Of Girls'' by Michael Gurian. Worth checking out, and I'm pretty sure it's on Amazon. Jeff

I can relate! I went through something similar with my daughter, who is now 21. Recently, I found a book that my sister gave her: Choices: A Teen Woman's Journal for Self-Awareness and Personal Planning by Mindy Bingham. Try to be very patient, too. teen survivor

I cannot recommend this book highly enough: Cool Communication: From Conflict to Cooperation for Parents and Kids. It's written by a mom and her teenage daughter and is written to both parent and teen, divided up by section. The authors often offer seminars in the Bay Area. The advice is really fantastic (it's endorsed by Oprah, Deepak Chopra anbd Stephen Covey, to name a few). You can buy the earlier edition on Amazon or the newer one, which has a better cover, here: http://

You might also try: Raising Confident Girls: 100 Tips for Parents and Teachers

And I think these are must-reads for anyone with a girl:
Reviving Ophelia
Ophelia Speaks
Where the Girls Are
Deal With It (written for teen girls, but adults might find it helpful)

Good luck! Andrea VP

Books about How to handle adolescent boys

March 2004

Hi, I needed a recommendation for a pre-teen and teen books. How to handle boys age 10 and up. I hope to find a book with short notes and straight forward not so big, how to handle their NO will, stuborness and friends and peers...etc.

The best teen parenting book I know is called ''Get Out Of My Life! (but first can you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?)'' by Anthony Wolfe (you should check the author's name and spelling). It is straightfoward, and full of great practical advice and many many examples of how to put it into practice. I can't wait to see the books other parents reccomend! Berkeley Child Therapist

The best teen parenting book I've ever read is ''Get Out Of My Life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the Mall?'' by Anthony Wolf. He also has a wonderful one for sibling issues called ''Mom, Jason's breathing on me!'' Melinda

''Raising Cain'' is a great book for anyone raising boys...I read it when my son was 10, just like yours and you'll be glad you did - especially when they turn 12-13 - They really do change so much so fast, physically and emotionally! Good luck... boy oh boy

Almost anything by Mike Riera (Uncommon Sense for Parents of Teens) or Michael Thompson is good. Susanna

Books about parenting teen girls

Aug 2003

I have a pre-teen girl. Naturally, she is changing and is becoming more difficult to deal with. I want to respect her changes and growth without making her feel like I don't ''understand'' her. I welcome any recommendations for books that help parents deal with teenage girls positively. Many, many future thanks. Amy

Local author Rosemary Graham has a new book for preteen girls called ''My Not So Terrible Time at the Hippie Hotel''. My 10 year old girl loved it. I think it would be good for ages 10 - 14 or so. It deals with shyness, overeating, divorce, friendship and first kiss. Amy

Michael Riera's book ''Uncommon sense for parents with Teenagers'' is great, both for the teenager and the parents to read. Also, I've heard good things about ''Get out of my life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the Mall'', another book that's good for both parents and teens to read and discuss. parent of pre-teens

I bought Berkeley author Rosemary Graham's ''My Not-so-terrible Time at the Hippie Hotel'' for my 12 year old niece. I read it cover to cover before sending it and thoroughly enjoyed it.

In the book, the reader joins four families at an intimate ''family camp''-style retreat for divorce(e)s and their children. The families did not know each other prior to arriving at the retreat. The story is rich with detail on how the four of the teenage children posture themselves in their unfamiliar surroundings, deal with their confused divorced parents, trade alliances and, one by one, shed their tough teen exterior to actually form meaningful bonds.

Great for all young adults (and those young at heart). Lynn

More Books about Parenting Teens

July 2001

Re: Friend's difficult 13-year-old. Please get her the book The Explosive Child, author Greene. It addresses the child who blows up disproportionately to the problems at hand. It has been a real help to me. Terry

Re: difficult teen I am also a single mother of a 13 year old boy. My son goes between being sweet and rude. I know with him, the rudeness is his way of seperating from me. Every family is different and some kids have a much harder adolescence than others. I would recomend reading the book, The Stardust Lounge, Stories from a Boys Adolescence,by Deborah Digges. I think understanding what kids are going through and getting support for yourself can help you live through the teenage years.

I attended a UC-sponsored session by Mike Riera, and I concur that he knows his teenagers. I bought the book HOW TO SURVIVE HIGH SCHOOL, written just for teens (he has another one for parents) and did as he suggested, just leave the book around and don't say anything to your kid. A few weeks later, he picked it up and read it all. Several months later he still goes back and rereads it and shared it with a best friend. He's a freshman.
Bonnie (2/00)

Dec 1999
Many of us have read Reviving Ophelia, but I recently found several other helpful books. (and I welcome other recommendations ) -Altered Loves, Mothers and Daughters During Adolescence by Terri Apter -The Body Project, An Intimate History of American Girls by Joan Jacobs Brumberg -Positive Discipline for Teenagers by Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott -Rebel Without a Car, Surviving and Appreciating Your Child by Fred Mednick

From: Leah (5/99)

I've finally just got around to reading UCB Parents' The Colorado Tragedy, part 2, and I'd like to recommend a book, though I haven't actually read it (awful, eh?). I'm not sure how soon I'll have time to read it, but I'd really love to hear what members of this newsletter think of it, if you've managed to find the time. The reader reviews on are mostly extremely positive. Here's a bit from Amazon's official reviewer: Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher's groundbreaking book, exposed the toxic environment faced by adolescent girls in our society. Now, from the same publisher, comes Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson, which does the same for adolescent boys. Boys suffer from a too-narrow definition of masculinity, the authors assert as they expose and discuss the relationship between vulnerability and developing sexuality, the culture of cruelty boys live in, the tyranny of toughness, the disadvantages of being a boy in elementary school, how boys' emotional lives are squelched, and what we, as a society, can do about all this without turning boys into girls. Our premise is that boys will be better off if boys are better understood--and if they are encouraged to become more emotionally literate, the authors assert. Sounds good so far!

I have read excerpts in the press and they were excellent in providing pointed anecdotes about the culture of cruelty among teenage boys, many examples of which I witnessed teaching at an all boys' Catholic high school, and which seemed to be implicitly accepted by much of the staff. I also would recommend William Pollack's *Real Boys*, which can be too mired in anecdote and loosely written, but still provides very good suggestions. Finally, I strongly recommend anyone involved in a boy's life to read the editorial by Jodi Jenter in the June 8 *Daily Cal.*. From my experience, there often is little space for an openly sensitive heterosexual male in our society. I am not sure whether that is for good or bad, bit it seems too ingrained to change at a societal level. Especially, my fear is that raising a boy to be not only sensitive, but also respectful and polite, might cause difficulties with others limited to the strictures of traditional roles. What also needs to be examined is how many women reinforce the stereotypes of a malehood that denies the expression of emotion. Luckiliy, however, in this area we have at least some space for such boys. (June 1999)

Although I have not read Raising Cain, I have just started to read Real Boys by Dr Pollack. He also addresses the emotional lifes of boys as well as the disadvantages of a boys will be boys mentality. He agrues that boys do express their emotions - usually through their actions; and it is up to us to recognize and acknowledge these emotions. He believes that many teaching methods are directed to the way girls learn and may also contribute to the acting out that many boys do in school. Thus far I have enjoyed and appreciated the sections of the book I have read. My sons are only 2 and 3 1/2. I would be interested in other parents thoughts. -- Ellen (6/99)

I just finished reading a wonderful (and in some respects shocking) book that I recommend very highly to any and all parents of teens: Ask me if I care by Nancy Rubin. Ms. Rubin taught Social Living at Berkeley High for some 20 years, and her book, published in 1994 I think, generously quotes (with permission, of course) from student journals she asked her students to keep. The topics coverd include students' own stories, experiences and concerns and perceptions about sex, drugs, pregnancies, angst at parents and family, future dreams, STDs and AIDs, and friends, other stuff. To me, it was fascinating and in some ways, a whole new world! --Ashok (3/99)

My daughter, who is now 15, started to put me through the grinder when she was 11. I don't think teen related issues are related to chronological age, but to when the good ol' hormones kick in. When this happened, I ran to the nearest book store and found a book that I found incredibly helpful. I thought some of you might find it as useful. It's called: Get Out of my Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall? A Parent's Guide to the New Teenager by Anthony E. Wolf. The most important point I learned from this book was, Choose your Battles. By the way, my daughter read the book after I finished it and she approved of it as well! -- Olga (3/99)

For all those parents of girls, especially preteens and just teens I'd like to recommend Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia, Rescuing the Selves of Adolescent Girls . This book did much to give me hindsight, not only for my daughter, but for myself. It would have been so much more useful if I'd had it when she was younger. There are no answers in it really, but a lot of insight into their lives and our society. -- Veronica (3/99)

I've read Reviving Ophelia and it is excellent. I think it should be required reading for parents of both male and female teens. It provides a strong dose of reality about what girls are experiencing as American teens in the 90's. A student I worked with here on campus mentioned the book to me and said she believed it was on target and an accurate reflection of what her teen experience had been. Linnea (3/99)
Sept 1998

I know that there will be many more issues, but I certainly feel that I have learned a great deal in the last 10 years. My daughters are now 18 and 22. Two books which I found particularly helpful are:
Kirshenbaum, Mira and Foster, Charles: Parent/Teen Breakthrough, The Relationship Approach
Riera, Michael, Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers Mike Riera is local and also has an excellent web site: Hang in there. Sherry

Sept 1998

I have a recommendation for the parent asking for books on raising teenagers. Our family therapist had actually recommended this for me when we were going to counseling for some communication problems. It's called the STEP program (System Training for Effective Parenting). There's actually a whole series, but there is one specifically for teens. It's written by Gary McKay and Don Dinkmeyer. It was very, very helpful. And I'm happy to say it's given me insight and ideas into parenting my two teenagers! The book/books are available via or at most chain bookstores. Karen

Internet Resources

From: Susan (9/98)

in reply to Raising Teenagers there is a website Parenting Today's Teens that has some useful information. the url is

Two Web Sites of Value: 1. Mike Riera who wrote Uncommon Sense for Parents With Teenagers has a very interesting site: 2. Awhile back I stumbled across a copy of an excellent newsletter called Parenteen, published by The Parents' Coalition of Bay Area High Schools. Their url is: Every short article in the Winter 1997 issue (the only one I have seen) looks excellent, including recommendations for a book called Character First by Joseph Gauld. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman is reviewed and another article is entitled Managing Relationships: How Teens See it. Looks as if the coalition has monthly meetings and has published Survival Suggestions for Teens and Parents. For instance, they published Recommended Guidelines for Parties adoped by University High Parents Association. Back issues of the newsletter are apparently available for $1.25 per copy (415-389-9441) Though my source is 1997. Best to peruse their web site. Warmly, Sherry Reinhardt (mom of 18 and 22 year old daughters)