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.
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
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.
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 dispels myths, explains development and offers suggestions for parents and teens to successfully navigate this stage of adolescence.
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.
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.
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.
Books on College Admissions and Paying for College
Brennan Barnard and Rick Clark
A college admissions director and a high school counselor offer a clear path for families to have a positive college search and admissions experience.
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.
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.
Who Gets in and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions (Scribner, 2020)
An inside look at the college admissions process that offers insights for how students can assess their strengths and match them to schools that will best serve their interests.
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.
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).
College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay (Sourcebooks, 2016)
Ethan Sawyer, also known as “The 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 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.
Websites and Podcasts
Here is a list of our favorite college admissions blogs, including standouts at Georgia Tech and 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 if 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
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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.