9 of the best books about parenting teenagers

freaky friday

When you consider the physical and emotional changes taking place during the teen years, it’s little wonder that it’s a time of great confusion and upheaval for many families. We’ve put together a list of the indispensable books Mumsnetters recommend to guide and support you along the rollercoaster ride of parenting teenagers.

Get Out of My Life… by Tony Wolf and Suzanne Franks

Authors Suzanne Franks and Tony Wolf have got their tone, expectations, and advice spot on with this one. This book is, without doubt, the most frequently recommended for parents of teens on Mumsnet and is cited by many as the 'survival bible' for the teenage years.

get out of my life

What Mumsnetters say:

“I read it from cover to cover in one day – it was a lifeline!  I repeat, almost like a mantra, the words – it's just a phase… and hope that's true.”

“Just reading this book has made me 10 times better. I know it's not me, or my son or my husband, it is a fact of life and it will get better.”

“Funny, witty and oh so true. The kids have also read bits of it and laugh because they can see it is describing them exactly. At least it made me realise they were normal – a little bit of consolation.”

Buy the book

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Blame My Brain by Nicola Morgan

Nicola Morgan's study is a brilliant and accessible read for both parents and teenagers. It has chapters dealing with powerful emotions, the need for more sleep, the urge to take risks, the difference between genders and the reasons behind addiction or depression.

blame my brain

What Mumsnetters say:

“My son has only just turned 13 and this really helped me to understand what was going on in his mind.”

“We loved doing the quizzes and I like the way no-one is 'wrong'. I also like the way it sparked the whole family into several discussions throughout.”

“Very clearly laid out and engaging….all of it rang very, very true and we read bits of it out to one another. It helped her to feel not so alien and for me to relax in some ways.”

Buy the book

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Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman

This groundbreaking book was the inspiration behind the blockbuster Mean Girls and offers concrete strategies to help you empower your daughter to be socially competent and respect herself. The new revised and updated edition includes the issue of new technology and its impact on adolescent girls' lives.

queen bees and wannabees

What Mumsnetters say:

“This book is a real eye-opener, it doesn't tell you how you can control it – you can't – but the hows and whys. It's a very interesting read.”

“Reading this together opened up a conversation about different personalities. Even though my daughter is young, she was able to understand some of the psychology.”

“This has been really helpful to my daughter, who is 12. She has recognised a lot of her best friends' behaviour in it, which has helped her a lot.”

Buy the book

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How to Talk so Teens Will Listen – Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Part of the widely acclaimed How to Talk series, this book offers tried and tested methods to help parents assist their offspring through the tricky years of adolescence. Full of practical advice and approaches which nurture better communication and a happier, calmer home life.

How to talk so teens will listen

What Mumsnetters say:

“I can't recommend this book highly enough. It's an easy read and whatever the age of your teen this could give you a new way to approach and change things within your family.”

“I was sceptical about this but it's actually really good and my son and I are getting along a lot better.”

“Most books tend to say, “your teenager will be horrible and hate you whatever you do” but this is the one book that DIDN'T say that and was actually helpful."

Buy the book

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey

Written by the son of Stephen R Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey has become a bestselling guide for teenagers. Written in a style that will speak to adolescents without seeming dull or patronising, the book will help them establish patterns and acquire and improve skills that will positively impact on all aspects of their lives.

the 7 habits of highly effective teens

What Mumsnetters say:

“This book advises and facilitates the reader to consider what's important in life (their life – it's not a one size fits all approach). There's a lot in it about grades and achievement and it encourages the reader to consider why they're important. It fosters a meaningful sense of self-worth.”

“An excellent book which is both practical and relevant. Read it yourself first and then pass it on to your child.”

“A good read for parents who are finding it tricky to support troubled teens. It offers the reassurance that when things go wrong, it's not the end of the world.”

Buy the book

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The Teenage Brain by Dr Frances E Jenson

Neuroscientist Jensen began writing this book after going through challenging and confusing experiences with her own two sons. She explains how new insight into the adolescent brain can help us better understand our teens and covers a wide array of topics, from risk-taking, gaming, bullying and social media, to gender, stress, mental illness, eating disorders and suicide.

the teenage brain

What Mumsnetters say:

“I'm midway through this brilliant book. I find the science quite accessible and the explanations of why teenagers are as they are fascinating.”

“It’s really interesting to read how the teenage brain works. It makes me feel more compassionate for my son and the challenges he faces. Definitely worth a read if you are struggling with your teen. It really helped me.”

“I found the book very easy to read. The scientific parts are accessible and informative. A good book if you are interested in how teenagers' minds work.”

Buy the book

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Divas and Door Slammers by Charlie Taylor

Behavioural expert Charlie Taylor offers advice to parents who are living with endless arguments, tantrums and sulking and that sticky parasite in our teenagers' minds; fear of missing out. He offers a clear seven point strategy, with an emphasis on the power of praise, which should help parents break miserable patterns of negativity and confrontation.

divas and doorslammers

What Mumsnetters say:

“Charlie Taylor's brilliant book is a real eye-opener. It’s based on the theory that teenagers' brains actually go through structural changes during puberty, when they can lose some abilities including empathy, and the ability to control their temper. Luckily these abilities do largely return once the brain has gone through the changes and settled down again.”

“Divas and Door Slammers is full of really good and practical advice for parenting out-of-control teenagers. There's also really good advice for parenting not-so-out-of-control teens.”

Buy the book

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Mumsnet recommends…

Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein

Girls and sex

Drawing on in-depth interviews with young women and a wide range of psychologists and experts, journalist and bestselling author of Cinderella Ate My daughter, Peggy Orenstein, uncovers the hidden truths and hard lessons of girls' sex lives in the modern world.

Buy the Book

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Sex, Likes and Social Media by Allison Harvey and Deana Puccio

sex likes and social media

Based on their professional work with young people, parents, and teachers as part of The Rap Project Harvey and Puccio present you with the tools to help you guide your teen through the digital landscape they are growing up in. With top tips, stats and conversation starters on everything from porn to university life, Sex, Likes and Social Media is the indispensable guide to parenting in the digital age.

Buy the Book

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Need more advice about teenagers? Ask fellow Mumsnet users on Talk.