7 Best Books for Parenting Teens

by Melanie Studer
Best Books for Parenting Teens|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

I tried to think about where I have looked over the years to help us when we were frustrated or upset, or just needing a few pointers. When it comes to parenting, here are 6 (now 7!) of my favorite go-to best books for parenting teens.

There is so much information in my head about raising kids, teenagers in particular. I am a such a reader, that it is really hard to pin down my favorites, because I rarely meet a book that I don’t like.

We are all looking for answers, strategies, and ideas to try. I try to break down each of these so you can find one that fits your needs as you work at raising teenagers! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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My list of best books for parenting teens

Teen Proofing

A great book for parenting teens!1) Teen-Proofing Fostering Responsible Decision Making in Your Teenager I have to say that John Rosemond is my parenting mentor, guru, go-to guy!!!!!!! We have every single book of his, or did have, because I have loaned out some and never got them back!

He is amazing. No nonsense, but loving strategies that work. He terms himself as a parent, as someone who uses “grandma’s law”. I love him!

If you have toddlers, then Making the Terrible Twos Terrific was awesome, that’s the first book of his that I read. I have recommended it hundreds of times to personal friends and families that I have come into contact as a preschool teacher.

Teen-Proofing research was begun by him as a parent of teenagers himself years ago. This is a great book to refer back to again and again, as are all of his books. “Managing teens so they make self-protective rather than self-destructive decisions is teen-proofing.” The book is full of real world examples that are simple to implement.

Learned Optimism

2) This was a book that I had to read back when I was teaching elementary school, long before I had my own kids, let alone teenagers, but it was so good that I held onto it.

On the back of the book, the blurb says, “…Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I-give-up’ habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue.

These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier.”

Huh! That’s a big mouthful, but really it means that you can learn how to talk to yourself in a more  positive way. It’s a bit text book-y, but really interesting.

I do recommend it because it gives real life examples and you really can use the information to change your life for the better, which in turn will help your kids, your marriage, really all aspects of your life. It truly might save someone’s life with some of these strategies.

The Optimistic Child

3) The Optimistic Child is a sequel to Seligman’s first book with children specifically in mind. It shows the relationship between what children think and how it affects their lives.

“This book shows that learning the skills of optimism not only reduces the risk of depression in children but also boosts school performance improves physical health. It provides them with the self-reliance they need as they approach the teenage years and adulthood.”

Again, a bit textbook-y, but so applicable! I have tried to use many of the strategies with my kids in conversations over the years. As I skim through to write this post, I am amazed at all the strategies that I could still use, and thinking maybe I will reread a chapter or two!

You can teach your child how to talk to him or herself in their own heads. It is amazing how negative we can be to our own selves. This book and his first show how this is a skill that can be taught (and learned!)  Both for adults and kids. Try it:)

The Last Lecture

4)  The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch  Ok, this is a gem. Pausch wrote this as a “last lecture” which many professors are asked to do imagining that it is the end of their life and wanting to share a great lesson. He actually was dying, and it truly was his last lecture. But, the book isn’t about dying.

His lecture and the book are all about LIVING. I have read snippets and chapters out loud to my kids at bedtime, in the car on trips, in the middle of a teenage drama scene in our own house…  His words are great, and not to be forgotten. Life is too short, so get busy!

Cleaning House

Written by a mom in the trenches. Another great book for parenting teens.

5) Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement This book is hilarious. It is the journal of Wyma’s year of working with her family to get back to the real world. She has a great writing voice, and I loved everything she had to say.

Wyma breaks down each month’s goal into bite-sized chunks, gives advice to the reader about the ups and downs of living through this experience.

She has a blog called The MOAT blog www.themoatblog.com  (MOAT stands for A Mother of Adolescents and Teens) which I recommend. She did a bootcamp this past summer with her Cleaning House goals in mind.

I have 3 boys, and the last thing that I want a future daughter-in-law to say to me is that my son doesn’t know how to help around the house. All of my boys know how to cook and clean, among other things. It was nice to read her book for affirmation that I am not the only “mean mom” around!

Ending the Homework Hassle

6) Ending the Homework Hassle John Rosemond  I told you that I was crazy about this guy! This is a book that we have gone back to again and again over the years. Such practical and user-friendly advice.

We have used many of his strategies, and I will have to say ALL have worked. His advice is the type that you do a face slap and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

I’m a teacher, and I wish that I had known about this guy back when I was in my 4th grade classroom. The main thing that I like about this book is that it helps the parent move the child to independence at school which leads to more success at school.

Smart but Scattered Teens

7) Smart but Scattered Teens Richard Guare  This book is a new one for me, but I really like everything in it! It explains how our teens’ brains are still developing, and this is why there can be so many issues going on with them especially with their ability to get anything accomplished.

This is not just a book for parents with kids that have ADHD.It is for parents that are constantly nagging their kids to get through the day. The authors give “critical tools needed to solve problems, manage time, and perform tasks.”- Library Journal

I hope that my list of  the best books for parenting teens helps you!

I always like to have a parenting book with me as well as a book for pleasure. Actually, I’m such a book nerd, that I love non-fiction parent-help books just as much, maybe even more than some fiction because they are so helpful. It’s always good to feel smarter at the end of the day.

This list of great books for parenting teenagers, mindful parenting, and positive parenting techniques has helped my husband and I so much -I hope it helps you too…

Good luck, and let me know if you have any books for parenting teens that you would recommend!

Related posts:

Best Books for Teaching Social Justice

When You Have An 18 Year Old: Information You Need To Know

Our 2 1/2 Rules for Teen Discipline

Parent Toolkit for Helping Our Teens Survive High School

27 Best Books To Read As A Young Adult For Success

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

And, here’s a link to Amazon where I have an ever growing list of my favorites for teens and adults!

I would love to stay in touch!

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Hello! My name is Melanie and I love to encourage moms of teens and tweens!

Are you ready to create a stronger, healthier relationship with your teens? Do you want to do all that you can to foster a stronger bond with your family? 

I will give your encouragement to take care of yourself in the midst of this messy place that we call life. I’d like to help you with some strategies to make things a little bit easier.

Let me help you to parent more confidently. With more love. With more connection.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I’m not a parent, but I do love that there are books out there for almost anything. I’m glad you’ve found some ones that work for you.


  2. Thank you for sharing. We are suddenly raising a 15-year-old grandson. Yikes I need to read all of these!

    • Good luck! That will be a handful:) Our son will be 15 in a couple of months. At least you have done it before even if awhile back. We are ready to not be in middle school with ours! Let us know if there is anything that we can write about that will help, and if you sign up for our weekly newsletters we give lots of good info!

  3. I love book lists 🙂 There never seem to be enough! For girls, I LIVE by Untangled by Lisa Damour. I’ve read The Last Lecture and wow, what a story! I’m looking forward to checking these others out!

    • I will have to check that one out! I have 6 nieces, so I will tell my sisters as well in case they haven’t read.

  4. This information is so helpful and so necessary. Adding one of my favorites. GIRLS AND SEX, Peggy Orenstein.



  1. 3 Ways Teenagers are the Same as Toddlers and Why! - […] the book, Teen-Proofing Fostering Responsible Decision Making in Your Teenager by John Rosemond, in another post.  He has great ideas…

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