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Book Review: Help Your Kids With Adolescence

Adolescence is often experienced as a confusing, overwhelming time for teenagers. For parents of teenagers, the years of transition from childhood to adulthood can be equally confusing and frustrating. As a result, teens and their parents frequently have questions about how to handle the many things that come up during adolescence, including physical changes, bullying, sex, peer pressure, social media use, and the development of a sense of identity. It’s easy for parents to become exasperated, wondering how they can help, without their teenager pushing them away.

Help Your Kids With Adolescence: A No-Nonsense Guide To Puberty And The Teenage Years provides an effective navigational guide that both teenagers and parents can use to successfully cope with adolescence. Organized into several sections that address the physical, emotional, and social changes that occur during adolescence, the book includes parent tips, myth busters, quick facts and more. It is as comprehensive as it is accessible. Flipping to any page will offer something useful.

The authors begin by describing the teen brain and offering explanations for the many phenomena that accompany the teenage years, from mood swings and identity development, to self-expression and gender identity.

Gender identity, according to this book, is a spectrum that includes transgender, agender (a term that describes someone who feels that they don’t belong to either gender), questioning, genderqueer, gender fluid, and androgynous. It includes helpful suggestions for teens, such as researching other people’s experiences and thoughts on gender, talking to someone they trust, and waiting to talk to their parents about gender concerns if they fear they will react negatively. For parents of teens with gender concerns, the authors suggest avoiding the urge to pressure teens to behave differently, and reminding them that it is okay to act in a way that may not conform to traditional expectations.

Although addressing the physical changes that occur with puberty can be embarrassing for both parents and teens alike, this book offers a straightforward approach to growth spurts, menstruation, changing emotions, armpit hair, bra fit, wet dreams, testicle protection, erections, building body confidence and everything in between.

The authors also underscore the importance of developing healthy habits in adolescence with a specific focus on learning to eat healthy foods and avoid disordered eating patterns. If a parent suspects an eating disorder, the book offers some helpful tips: stay calm and avoid passing judgment; try not to be pushy with advice; be prepared for the teen to reject help; avoid talking about appearance or weight in front of them; keep trying to include them in activities and encourage them to get professional help.

Eating healthy foods, frequent exercise, and adequate sleep are all important components of physical health, but teens should also know that maintaining positive mental health is equally important.

Positive mental health is characterized by self-esteem and confidence, which is often largely influenced by observing parents. By discussing challenges openly, parents set an example of resilience and can help teens see that obstacles, insurmountable as they may seem, can be overcome.

Stress can be useful when it motivates people to keep working under pressure and energizes them to complete a task. But it can also be overwhelming, leading to depression and anxiety. Here, the book offers many helpful ways to manage stress, such as exercising and playing sports, going outside, getting creative, becoming mindful, turning toward friends and family, avoiding too much time online, and seeking counseling when stress becomes unmanageable.

To help teens achieve their potential, this book provides a multitude of problem solving tips for teens and their parents, which include taking logical steps, thinking creatively, visualizing success, finding inspiration, staying motivated, celebrating success, thinking about the future, and even learning healthy financial habits.

When it comes to choosing a career, teens can begin with self-understanding. Every teen has a unique set of skills, interests and talents that they can identify in order to provide insight into what roles and fields might be a good fit.

And as much as choosing the right career is important, essential life skills such as resolving conflicts, understanding the impact of drugs and alcohol and establishing healthy relationships are just as, if not more important in the teen years.

Straightforward, sensitive, and abundantly useful, Help Your Kids With Adolescence should be essential reading for every teenager and their parent, as well as anyone who works with teens.

Help Your Kids With Adolescence: A No-Nonsense Guide To Puberty And The Teenage Years

DK Publishing

July 2017

Softcover, 245 Pages

Book Review: Help Your Kids With Adolescence

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Claire Nana

Claire Nana is a regular contributor and book reviewer for Psych Central.

APA Reference
Nana, C. (2017). Book Review: Help Your Kids With Adolescence. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 10 Oct 2017
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 10 Oct 2017
Published on Psych All rights reserved.