Parenting teenagers is so different from parenting little kids. Just when you thought you were getting the hang of family life, a new teen will emerge and shift the goal posts! That’s why I’ve picked my top 10 parenting teenagers books, so you feel empowered and prepared.
I have two teenagers myself and many of these books have been invaluable to me.
For parents of teens it helps to know what has worked for others when it comes to navigating boundaries, relationships and mental health and helping our adolescents through the complexities of high school.
Although older family members may give us fantastic advice, there are “new” areas of teen life – such as social media – which older generations did not have to contend with.
If you are anything like me, you are looking for a practical guide written by someone who has gone before you. Someone who understands the unique demands of 21st century life for teens.
Parenting Teenagers Books: Finding Books Worth Reading
One of the best ways to get the guidance you need is through a parenting book.
But which should you choose?
There are so many parenting teenagers books to choose from, most claiming to offer expert advice, but how many are real experts? How can we sort the wheat from the chaff?
Well, take some deep breaths and relax because I have done the hard work for you!
Here are my top 10 parenting teenagers books. Some are personal favourites of mine, and others have been highly recommended by psychologist colleagues all of whom have clinical experience working with teenagers.
Most of the books I recommend below are written by a mental health professional or an academic who understands teens and their brains inside out.
Parenting Teenagers: The Best “Adolescent Brain” Books
Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of The Teenage Brain is one of my all-time favourite books for parents of teens.
I recommend it to many parents of teenagers in my clinic.
It offers a fascinating insight into a teenager’s brain but it is also highly practical.
This book will grow your understanding… and your patience, and it will help you build strong relationships with your children. It also includes practical steps and exercises to improve brain function.
Brainstorm is one of the best selling teenage parenting books and in my opinion, every parent should read it!
2. Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain
My next recommended book is Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain.
Author Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is a world-class neuroscientist. In this great book which has won several awards, she explores such topics as…
Why is excessive risk-taking so common in teens and young adults?
Why are young people driven towards intense friendships?
And why do many mental illnesses begin during the teen years?
Blakemore brings us the latest research on teenage brains and this is a brilliant contribution to our understanding of the modern teen. It is easy to engage with and does not contain too much jargon.
Think of it as a neuroscientist’s survival guide.
Inventing Ourselves is one of the best parenting books for teens as it answers so many common questions in a no-nonsense way and it is written by a true expert. The book won the 2020 British Psychological Society Popular Science Prize and the 2018 Royal Society Science Book Prize.
You can watch Blakemore’s excellent TEDTalk here:
3. Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed
Yet another book about the teen brain I recommend is the fabulous Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan.
This humorous and down-to-earth book contains chapters dealing with powerful emotions and mood swings, sleep, risk-taking, differences between genders and the reasons behind addiction.
Best Parenting Book About Teenage Girls
Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood
Raising girls is a unique challenge given that roles and expectations of girls have changed so dramatically over the last century.
In Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood clinical psychologist Lisa Damour sets out seven predictable phases of transition that teen girls experience.
Each chapter describes one of these areas, such as ‘contending with adult authority’ and ‘entering the romantic world’.
She gives hints and tips for parents, equipping us to provide emotional support to our teenage daughters.
She includes a helpful ‘when to worry’ section.
This is one of the best books on parenting a teenage daughter specifically. The way it is formatted is so helpful.
You can choose the phases of transition that are applicable to your daughter, or that you think she will be facing soon.
TAKE THE QUIZ!
Parenting Teenagers: The Best Book to Improve Communication
How to Talk so Teens will Listen & Listen so Teens will Talk
Author and speaker Adele Faber’s mission is to improve communication between children and adults.
In How to Talk so Teens will Listen & Listen so Teens will Talk, she teaches skills to help parents deal with or prevent communication issues in the teenage years. It’s one of the best parenting books for teens because it is so practical and down to earth.
Faber helps us learn subtle communication skills to encourage co-operation, avoid lectures and power struggles, and grow healthy relationships.
I love the way this book helps parents reflect on the skills we can build, to create a closer bond with our teens.
Parenting Teens: Most Inspirational Parenting Book
The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read
You’ve probably heard of this next incredible book…
Philippa Perry is an acclaimed psychotherapist and author. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read is one of the best parenting books you could read when you are raising adolescents, although it is helpful for all relationships in your life.
The book explores how we can use our pasts to understand ourselves and who we are as parents.
It also serves as a reminder that life is hard and you are doing your very best.
Ruptures in relationships happen and they can (and should) be repaired. Perry shows us how. This book was described by Alain de Boton as “Hugely warm, wise, hopeful“.
The latest version of the book has an exclusive new chapter about sibling relationships.
Parenting Teenagers: The Best “Down to Earth” Parenting Book
Get Out of My Life… But First Take Me and Alex Into Town: The Bestselling Guide to the Twenty-First-Century Teenager
Teens today can be both needy and fiercely independent. Sometimes it feels almost impossible to get the balance right: too intrusive or too permissive.
In Get Out of My Life… But First Take Me and Alex Into Town: The Bestselling Guide to the Twenty-First-Century Teenager, Toby Wolf and Suzanne Franks address this dilemma.
This book offers constructive ways to manage complex issues and relationship strains in daily life such as anger, nagging and frustration.
It also covers difficult topics like sex, drugs and suicide.
Get Out of My Life is one of the most thought-provoking books on teenage psychology I have come across.
Teenage Parenting: A Philosophical View
The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting
Brené Brown is a renowned speaker, author and researcher who comes from a social work background.
Her audiobook The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting draws on her research on vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.
Rather than give you direct parenting instructions, Brown shares powerful stories and simple principles that will help you to figure out what is the best approach for you and your child.
It’s not necessarily right for you if you are looking for a practical book on parenting teenagers.
The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting is not a book specifically about teens. It’s one of the best parenting books for tweens and young children too.
Best Parenting Book About Teenage Boys
Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World
Though this isn’t specifically a book about parenting teenage boys, it’s a must-read if you have a teen son.
Wiseman addresses the specific difficulties around masculine identity in today’s society and how this affects boys growing up.
For example, asking for help or showing that you’re upset can feel much harder for some boys.
Wiseman has collaborated with middle- and high-school-aged boys to create this unique book, and it is full of insight and strategies for parents to apply.
Put this at the top of your list of parenting teenage boys books. It’s one of the most helpful, best books on raising teenage sons.
Books For Teenagers That Are A Must-Read For Parents Too
Eat Well and Feel Great: The Teenager’s Guide to Nutrition and Health
I am only half way through reading this excellent book by registered nutritionist Tina Lond-Caulk. However, I can highly recommend it.
It attracted my attention because as a psychologist, I am passionate about the links between nutrition and mental wellbeing.
Eat Well and Feel Great is actually written for teenagers, so it is not technically a book about parenting teenagers. However, I recommend you read it yourself, and then give it to your teenager!
The book is packed with sensible advice covering areas such as food and mental health, hormone balance, balancing blood sugar, and building a healthy relationship with food. It also contains loads of easy recipes for your teen to try.
Parenting Teenagers Books: Summary
If you are the parent of a teenager or a tween, these books will help you feel prepared for everything that family life will throw at you.
Whether you are looking for practical advice or emotional support, I have you covered!
The most important takeaway is that adolescent brains are very different from adult brains. They need special care and understanding.
Dr Lucy Russell is a UK clinical psychologist who works with children and families. Her work involves both therapeutic support and autism assessments. She is the Clinical Director of Everlief Child Psychology, and also worked in the National Health Service for many years.
In 2019 Lucy launched They Are The Future, a support website for parents of school-aged children. Through TATF Lucy is passionate about giving practical, manageable strategies to parents and children who may otherwise struggle to find the support they need.
Lucy is a mum to two teenage children. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, children, rescue dog and three rescue cats. She enjoys caravanning and outdoor living, singing and musical theatre.
Join They Are The Future’s free Facebook group for regular tips on supporting teens and pre-teens with their mental health! Join the group: Parent Tips for Positive Child Mental Health UK.