Favorite Books, Websites and Podcasts for Parents of Teens

Parenting teens is tough. Fortunately, there are authors who have written about this stage of family life with insight and compassion and we recommend their books whenever we can. Some of these experts have contributed essays in our Grown & Flown book and we have been fortunate to be able to interview many others.

Grown and Flown paperback
Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teens, Stay Close as a Family and Rise Independent Adults. (Flatiron, 2020.)

The following is our compilation of some of our favorite Parenting Books for the Teen Years and Books About College Admission and Paying for College. We also recommend websites and podcasts that are excellent resources for parents.

Note: We are a reader-supported site and we receive compensation from purchases made through some of these links.

Books on Parenting Teens

Dr. Lisa Damour

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood (Random House, 2016)

An award-winning guide to the sometimes confusing and erratic behavior of teenage girls, that explains what is happening and why and lets parents know when it is time to worry.


Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls (Random House, 2019)

An essential reference to understanding and supporting girls through the alarming rise in anxiety and stress they are experiencing, from elementary school through college.

Dr. Frances E. Jensen with Amy Ellis Nutt

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults (HarperCollins Publishers, 2015)

A revolutionary look at the brains of teenagers and the most recent scientific findings that dispel myths, explain the development, and offer suggestions for parents and teens to successfully navigate this stage of adolescence.

Teen age Brain

Jessica Lahey

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So their Children Can Succeed (HarperCollins, 2015)

An essential look at today’s parenting culture that overprotects children and the pitfalls of doing so, along with a plan to help parents step back and embrace the full scope of their children’s journeys, including the setbacks and successes.

Gift of Failure

Julie Lythcott-Haims

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success (Macmillan, 2015)

An eye-opening look at the harmful effects of helicopter parenting and what to do differently in order to raise self-confident and competent teens who are ready to take charge of their own lives.

How to Raise an Adult

Dr. Cara Natterson

Decoding Boys: New Science Behind the Subtle Art of Raising Sons (Ballantine Books, 2021)

An essential guide to understanding boys as they go through puberty and what parents can do to help navigate and support them through the confusing teenage years.

Decoding Boys: New Science Behind the Subtle Art of Raising Sons,

Books on College Admissions and Paying for College

Brennan Barnard and Rick Clark

The Truth About College Admissions: A Family Guide to Getting in and Staying Together (JHUP, 2019)

A college admissions director and a high school counselor offer a clear path for families to have a positive college search and admissions experience.

Frank Bruni

Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania (Grand Central, 2016)

An award-winning journalist looks at what is wrong with today’s pressure-filled admissions process and tells students how to make the most of their college years.

Where You Go is not who you'll be

Ron Lieber

The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make (Harper, 2021)

An in-depth look at the cost, value, and complicated business of paying for college that arms families with the resources and questions necessary to make informed decisions around the biggest financial decision they will make.

the price you pay for college

Jeff Selingo

Who Gets in and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions (Scribner, 2020)

An inside look at the college admissions process that offers insights into how students can assess their strengths and match them to schools that will best serve their interests.

Who Gets in and Why

Jacques Steinberg and Eric J. Furda

The College Conversation: A Practical Companion for Parents to Guide Their Children Along the Path to Higher Education (Viking, 2020)

A college admissions expert and an Ivy League dean offer a guide to help parents support their teens as they embark on their road to college.

College Conversation

College Applications

Edward B. Fiske, Editor

Fiske Guide to College: 2021 (Sourcebooks)

The indispensable guide that offers an insider’s look at what it’s like to be a student at over 320+ of the most interesting schools in the United States (as well as Canada, Great Britain, and Ireland).

Fiske Guide 2021

Ethan Sawyer

College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay (Sourcebooks, 2016)

Ethan Sawyer, also known as “College Essay Guy,” takes the sting out of the easy writing process by offering students tips, samples and a stress-free roadmap to writing an engaging admission essay.

College Essay Essentials

College Admissions Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Showing Colleges Who You Are and What Matters to You (Sourcebooks, 2020)

Students learn how to take control of the admissions process by understanding their own unique values and how to best present themselves from beginning to end.

college admission essentials

Websites and Podcasts

Here is a list of our favorite college admissions blogs, including standouts at Georgia Tech and the University of Virginia. Reading these blogs can give parents and students insight into the college admissions process. These authoritative resources can be extremely helpful regardless of whether your teen plans to apply to these particular schools or not.

Ask Lisa podcast is co-hosted by Dr. Lisa Damour (whose books we highlight above) and journalist Reena Ninan.

Raising kids can be a bumpy, stressful, and uncertain process —which is why Lisa’s podcast brings her sane, informed, and practical perspective to your timely and timeless parenting questions. Cohost Reena Ninan, a world-class journalist who has covered the White House while packing a breast pump, makes sure to get you the answers you need.

Ask Lisa podcast

Please join our community at the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and meet your 215,000 new BFFS.

Here’s where you can find additional help on college admissions and paying for college.

We’ve got lots of advice about dorm ideas, dorm decor, and moving day, too.

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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