Books on teens, families and relationships

Authors in bold are particularly recommended


Daniel Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson No drama discipline: The whole brain way to calm the chaos and nurture your child’s developing mind. This great book helps us understand the principles of discipline (to teach) and how to go about this.


Jean Illsley-Clarke, Connie Dawson, & David Bredehoft How much is too much? Raising likeable, responsible, respectful children – from toddlers to teens – in an age of overindulgence

Overindulgence comes from having a good and generous heart. But despite our good intentions, the abundance we heap on our kids often becomes more than they need or can handle. This is particularly the case when parents and the child set up an unhelpful dynamic (e.g. the ‘good cop, bad cop’ scenario). Includes a section on what grandparents can do to help.


Vanessa Van Petten Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded? Stop Fighting Start Talking and Get to Know your Teen . Vanessa and 60 teen contributors created this book to provide a very useful perspective and prescriptive advice from teens. Includes perspectives on dating and chores to sexting and cyberbullying, Her website is


Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk  An old book that is still very valuable, and still being sold today. Really helps parents understand HOW to talk to our teens and younger children. Great cartoons! (Based on How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk)

Also see their other books: Siblings Without Rivalry. Which is also excellent for understanding the impacts of siblings on a child and family dynamics.


Barbara Coloroso The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School–Ho​w Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle (Get the updated edition). Coloroso has worked for years with troubled youth, and has wide experience. She recognises that bullying is learned behaviour and that we must not be passive bystanders. She provides valuable insight on how to deal with the situation. While cyberbullying is included, she does not provide all the reasons why such behaviours occur (see books below by Barrie Levy)  or all the answers and other books may be helpful.


Christine Fonseca Emotional intensity in gifted students:  Helping kids cope with explosive feelings.  A book that helps with understanding temperament and personality development, and provides role-plays and strategies to help teach children how to recognise, monitor, and adjust their behaviour. Instead of giftedness, parents may think about issues such as ADHD and Aspergers when dealing with erratic mood swings, hyperactivity, and inflexiblity or when kids refuse to try new things. Instead, this book helps with recognising emotional triggers and teaching parents and kids to work together to prevent outbursts.


Olga Silverstein and Beth Rashbaum The courage to raise good men An older book but especially good for parent’s whose son(s) have had exposure to an abusive partner. This book helps understand that some parents unconsciously distance their sons physically and emotionally.


Stephen Wallace Reality Gap: Alcohol, Drugs, and Sex — What Parents Don’t Know and Teens Aren’t Telling. Provides parents with tools for approaching these issues and Wallace’s message is that parents need to help their children to make better and safer decisions and that talking early – in the pre-teen years, helps.


Barrie Levy In love and danger – a teen’s guide to breaking free of abusive relationships. This book keeps getting reprinted because it’s an excellent book as it’s written in the right tone to reach adolescents.


Barie Levy and Patricia Occhiuzzo Giggam What parents need to know about dating violence This is an essential book for parents that are concerned their son or daughter may be in an abusive dating relationship. Compassionate, insightful and practical.


Alyson Schafer Honey, I Wrecked The Kids: When Yelling, Screaming, Threats, Bribes, Time-outs, Sticker Charts and Removing Privileges All Don’t Work.

Provides a developmental approach that’s non-judgmental, and easy to use for understanding and responding to different ages. Schafer uses a relational approach.


Ron Lieber The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money. A practical guidebook and a values-based philosophy providing a detailed blueprint for the best ways to handle the basics of money so our kids are more financially aware, more generous, and less materialistic. Covers the tooth fairy, allowances, chores, charity, saving, birthdays, holidays, cell phones, bank accounts, clothing, cars, part-time jobs, and college tuition.


Amber Mac and Michael Bazzell Outsmarting Your Kids Online: A Safety Handbook for Overwhelmed Parents. A handbook providing age-appropriate strategies to help parents to make decisions for the whole family about online use. Learn about apps, privacy settings, monitoring techniques and tools to safeguard their children so that as parents, we can have the safety and protection conversations we need to have.


Danah Boyd It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens This book uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens’ use of social media and explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger and bullying. Its perspective is that most teens have a healthy relationship with technology and the issues they have are the same as always. CAVEAT, the downside of the book is that it does not take a long-term view of the impact of social media on human development.

Also see research website for updates under Internet & Technology, to this evolving area of understanding.


Other books by Daniel J. Siegel, incl with authors Tina Payne Bryson, Mary Hartzell The Whole-Brain Child: 12 revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind Raise calmer, happier children using the following strategies:

• Name It to Tame It: Corral raging right-brain behavior through left-brain storytelling, appealing to the left brain’s affinity for words and reasoning to calm emotional storms and bodily tension.

• Engage, Don’t Enrage: Keep your child thinking and listening, instead of purely reacting.

• Move It or Lose It: Use physical activities to shift your child’s emotional state.

• Let the Clouds of Emotion Roll By: Guide your children when they are stuck on a negative emotion, and help them understand that feelings come and go.

• SIFT: Help children pay attention to the Sensations, Images, Feelings, and Thoughts within them so that they can make better decisions and be more flexible.

• Connect Through Conflict: Use discord to encourage empathy and greater social success.


Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain

Siegel illuminates how brain development impacts teenagers’ behaviour and relationships. Helps parents make what is in fact an incredibly positive period of growth, change, and experimentation in their children’s lives less lonely and distressing on both sides of the generational divide.


Parenting from the inside out (updated) How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive

Explores the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. Drawing on neurobiology and attachment research, it explains how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.


The three books listed above are all valuable for gaining insight and understanding of teenagers and younger children’s different development stages, their behaviours, emotional needs, and how parents can respond. Siegel is one of the authorities on ‘how to parent’ and there are resources on his website too:


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