NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An urgently needed guide to help parents understand their teenagers’ intense and often fraught emotional lives—and how to support teens through this critical developmental stage—from the author of Untangled and Under Pressure
“The nuanced, empathetic [book] I wish I’d had when I was in the trenches.”—Judith Newman, The New York Times Book Review
In teenagers, powerful emotions come with the territory. And as teens contend with with academic pressure, social media stress, worries about the future, and concerns about their own mental health, it’s easy for them—and their parents—to feel anxious and overwhelmed. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Parents who read this book will learn:
• what to expect in the normal course of adolescent emotional development and when it’s time to worry
• why teens (and adults) need to understand that mental health isn’t about “feeling good” but about having feelings that fit the moment, even if those feelings are unwanted or painful
• strategies for supporting teens who feel at the mercy of their emotions, so they can become psychologically aware and skilled at managing their feelings
• how to approach common challenges that come with adolescence, such as friction at home, spiking anxiety, risky behavior, navigating friendships and romances, the pull of social media, and many more
• the best ways to stay connected to their teens and how to provide the kind of relationship that adolescents need and want
With clear, research-informed explanations alongside illuminating, real-life examples, The Emotional Lives of Teenagers gives parents the concrete, practical information they need to steady their teens through the bumpy yet transformational journey into adulthood.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed trying to parent a teen, this is the book for you. Dr. Lisa Damour draws on scientific facts about the developing physiology and psychology of kids, teens, and young adults between the ages of 12 and 24 for this practical guide to understanding their feelings—and by extension, their behavior. And there are some pretty amazing revelations in here. For instance, while adults are typically uncomfortable discussing suicidal ideation, teens experiencing the phenomenon are better able to open up about those feelings, oftentimes discharging them in the process. And there are helpful observations for everyday parenting, too, like studies that have shown that reading helps build empathy and that volunteering boosts self-esteem. Emotional upheaval may be a normal part of teen life, but helping your child through it can be much easier with this invaluable guide.
In this enlightening manual, psychologist Damour (Under Pressure) advises parents on how they can help their children navigate the emotional turmoil of their teenage years. Drawing on neuroscience and client stories from her practice, Damour provides psychological background on the changes that teens go through while dispensing guidance on how parents can best support them. She explains that during adolescence, the brain undergoes a "physiological renovation" that only reaches the prefrontal cortex—responsible for higher-order thinking—late in the process, meaning teenagers often struggle to "maintain a sense of perspective." Her sensitive approach for supporting teens who question their gender identity urges parents to "treat your teenager as the driver of their own gender car" and refrain from patronizing them or suggesting they're just "going through a phase." Client stories illuminate the advice, as when Damour recounts a session with parents concerned about their daughter's fixation on her fear that they might die early and suggests that for teens struggling to control their emotions, thinking about plans or playing a game can help get their mind off the subject. Damour's down-to-earth tone gives this the feel of a conversation with a friend, while the psychology offers valuable perspective into the scientific underpinnings of adolescence. Parents of teens will want to check this out.