Where I work stress is a big issue. Parents and students believe the better college you go to the better your chances for a "successful" life. They are not all wrong. But, there is way more to success than the prestige of your college. How to help yourself and your child handle the stress that surrounds doing well in school and life is what this book is all about. 

I am a big fan of Michael Thompson. This is his first New York Times Bestseller and if you happen to be raising a boy this is the book for you. Don't let the age of the boy on the cover deter you if you have a teenage son. There is a wealth of warm-heated insightful and useful information for you in this best seller.

Carol Dweck is one of the foremost researchers in motivation. Ever wonder how to get your child do to something? She is a Stanford researcher by way of Columbia who has learned a lot about how best to learn. This book will change how you parent. I have a whole chapter about her in my book. This book is right up there on my favorites list.

When I thought about what books to suggest about parenting I went back to what had been helpful to me and the books that people  have told me were helpful to them. This book gets revised periodically but it basically is Communication 101.

There are fundamental truths that cover most human behavior and then there are things that apply mostly to girls. I am not a big believer in generalities so I know what is true for one girl or boy may not be true for others. Yet there significant overlaps that cover much of the territory for teenage girls. Often knowing you are not alone garners some sighs of relief and other pathways to consider.

This is for parents who want to think about how to answer questions about sex before they are asked. Most teenagers are past the stage of asking these kinds of questions - they just google the question or go to wikipedia or some other social media. But, if you have the kind of child who will talk with you about sexual matters you might find some useful guidance for managing those conversations.

There are lots of ways of defining success. We all want our children to be successful and live meaningful and rewarding lives. Many of the students I talk with believe the more money you earn the happy you will be. While there is some statistical truth to that, there is also a lot of research into how people can fashion their lives so that they feel more successful.

Often when I talk to parents of juniors and seniors I break out this book and read a passage. I remind parents that at the end of high school most of their children are going to be living more independently and will probably have no curfew or parental consequences to face for much of their behavior. However, independent your child is now and however much responsibility you give them for managing their life, when they leave home they will be taking on greater supervision of their life. The students that have the least amount of difficulty in college are the ones who have eased into those responsibilities over the years. 

Written by a neuropsychiatrist this is the perfect book if you happen to be a science/logic/statistics person. There is a lot going on with the teenage brain and this book will help you and possibly your teenager understand how are those changes effect behavior. This is one of those books where parents try to get their teen to read or listen to a passage and then discuss. If you think you have a chance of engaging your child in this kind of shared knowledge I think it will help you both.

This is not a book about teenagers per se, but rather it is about that half of the population that are introverts. Since extroverts tend to get more air time, a lot of people think being an introvert is a negative thing. Far from it say these authors. If your child (or you) happen to be an introvert and need some encouraging support for being who you are read on.

Once upon a time I did some career counseling. Basically I asked people what they really wanted to do and tried to help them build the path to that goal. Of course, when people aim high there often are a lot of stops along the way and they don't always make it to the end goal. But along the way to making dreams come true you will need to interview and try to convey to someone the advantage of working with you. High school students often need to interview for internships, jobs and colleges. This book is recognized by many as the best on the subject and I agree.

Where I work the senior year of high school has three themes. The first occurs in the fall when there us high degree of stress about what college you are going to be accepted at and attend. Next comes relief and a less than focused presence at school. And along the way there are various levels of excitement and fear about the year ahead. This book helps your child feel more comfortable about the transition. It is a good book to buy and leave by their bedside once high school is over.

Lest you think that students are the only ones with summer reading, the school where I work had the faculty read this book over the summer of 2015. Of course, summer reading is one of the reasons students usually don't like school, along with it being boring and you have to sit still most of the day. But there is more to it than that. This book is primarily aimed at teachers so that they can enliven their classroom and students can be more involved, retain information better and maybe move around more. Yet, parents are the most influential teachers and I think there is information here that can help you engage your child in more meaningful and valuable ways. And, best of all, you won't have to write a paper about it.


We live busy lives and sometimes taking the time to immerse yourself in a self-help book is not a priority. Yet you want some help. This book is not going to provide the depth of understanding and insight that you might find elsewhere, but it offsets that with some sound practical advice that will help you and your daughter improve your relationship.

John Bradshaw wrote a series of New York Times Bestsellers that a lot of people found of value. Millions in fact. Shame is something we all feel at one time or another. If you think you are experiencing more than your fair share you are not going to find a more supportive, straight-forward and helpful book. This is a classic and he updated it, although to be truthful he didn't really need to.

I have another book of Dr. Brown's in the Relationship section as I think she does an excellent job of balancing research and her own humanness. None of us do a "perfect" job of parenting and it is how we manage our mis-takes and re-takes that is of concern here. This is not a step-by-step how to book, but rather a series of stories about her own experience that will touch and resonate with you and hopefully provide you some guidance.

First, I was going to recommend going somewhere and doing something with your teenager. A family vacation. As most children get older this holds less appeal for them than it does for you.Don't let that stop you from planning even a short outing. Time spent together doing something new is more often than not a positive think. Especially if it is not too long. Then I thought that what is a cheap and easy way to do this and I thought take a walk. You could walk around your neighborhood with your teen and let them choose the path and distance. So, I went looking for an image of a family walk. There were no images of families with teenagers. Then I looked for family walk with teen and that ended with the pictures of the lions walking. So, maybe the walk won't work so well. But do something with your teen. Don't let their protests stop you. The more they protest the more you need to do something you know they will like.

This is a picture of a classroom. Your child spends a lot of time in places that look like this. It is not easy being a student. While your child probably will not want you to do this, don't let that stop you from visiting the school. Even if you have been there before see if you can set up a time to visit the school counselor and get a tour from a student around the school. You don't have to have much of an agenda aside from wanting to know how your student is doing and getting a feel for the place.

Parents often feel they know less and less about the day-to-day of their child's life. Some teens tell their parents most of what is going on in their lives, but from where I sit that is the exception. Parents often feel they know less and less about the day-to-day of their child's life. Parents often want to know more about their child's life outside the home. If you do call your school counselor and ask them if they could gather some feedback from your child’s teachers and anyone else that knows him or her well. Then meet with the counselor and talk things over. if you do not know your child’s friends parents let you child know you are going to reach out to them just to say hello and make contact. That may not going over all that well, so be empathic and yet make the calls. Introduce yourself, and let them know you would welcome any observations and feedback they would care to give you about your child. Thank them whatever they say and let your child know. She or he will find out sooner or later, better you are the sooner.

This book is mostly designed to help parents with younger children, but the fundamentals apply across ages. Therapists and teachers talk about discipline as opposed to punishment, yet finding the most effective way to structure consequences and discipline is something most parents never really stop to consider. This book will give you some useful guidelines.

To be honest I don't spend a lot of time cooking. I tend to focus more on the eating than the cooking. But, the best times I have had cooking have been when I have done it with my family. I want to encourage you to not only have meals together as often as possible, but to have everyone pitch in the creation of those meals.

This is not necessarily a parenting book as it really is about how people get to be successful. Turns out there is no big surprise here. Effort and lots of it. I recommend this book for those parents that worry about the amount of time that their child is putting into being online or listening to music or doing something that the parents can't really find the value in. You might find some relief here and some guidance you can offer.

I suppose a lot of people enter these offices with a fair amount of trepidation. Principals yield a lot of power. Yet, what if you could be a fly on the wall and listen to what principals around the country are talking about? This is a blog written by Principals and Heads of School on a variety of topics that you might find of interest.

It is not easy looking into the life of your teenager and getting a clear picture. Stanford University started a program called Challenge Success with the mission to:"Challenge Success partners with schools and families to provide kids with the academic, social, and emotional skills needed to succeed now and in the future." They train a lot of teachers and have helped a lot of parents and students navigate the teen years. You might want to check out their blog as there is a lot of useful information you can find there. 

Daniel Pink got a law degree from Yale was named one of the top 15 business thinkers and when he talks people enjoy listening. I have parents talk with me about how to get their child to motivate themselves as they don't think their child is living up to her or his potential. We have long talks, much of which overlaps with this exceptional book about what motivates people. Some of that overlap I learned from him. Here is his web page. It is worth checking out.

I pretty much hated having to memorize things in schools. It seemed to me that if memorizing was so important to everyone why didn't they have a course on memorization. That might have help and would help a lot of people. This could be that course. There are plenty of things you can discover here that will help you and your child become better learners. 

This is the book that you don't ever want to read unless the circumstance applies in which case you will be happy to have it. No one can take away the pain of the loss of a child. It is a parent's worst nightmare. There is not ever enough solace and comfort. To the degree that any book can help, this one ought to be of assistance.


This is one of those books that you would rather not be reading unless you are going through a divorce. This book is a best seller in its genre because it blends valuable information, research and personal story to help support and guide you, your child and your family through this process

Denise Pope is one of the Founders of Challenge Success which is a program out of Stanford University that works with parents and schools to help students be more engaged in school and less stressed. The school where I work had her come and speak with us and I thought much of what she has to say needs to be heard by parents and schools. I suppse if you are a parent and a teacher this would be ideal.

As children grow older some of the things they held dear when they were younger go by the wayside and some hold on. Many seniors in high school still have their blankie. As seniors get closer to graduating they often regress and want to snuggle up and watch ann old movie together. I have always had a soft spot for Winnie the Pooh and still like to take it out now and then and read it. It is the best comfort food. Every now and then your teen will need some comforting. Those times it is best to withhold your usual criticisms and just be a loving parent.


Not a lot of people like to fail and not a lot of parents like to see Most parents do not want their children to fail. Parents want their children to succeed and often don't see the correlation between failure and success. Children need to learn how to risk, how to fail and how to learn from their mistakes. This is a well researched and personal story from a middle school teacher and parent. If you think you may be over parenting your child or afraid to let your child "suffer" the consequences of actions taken this is the book for you. 

So here is the good/bad news. The part of the brain that deals with pleasure peaks in the teen years. That is why things don't seem as great now as they used to. It is also why teenagers do the crazy risky things they do. There is a lot of scientific data here for those that enjoy knowing how science and parenting can work together. How you as a parent can support and monitor your child's behavior is the focus of this book.


I wouldn't really want to be one of these guys hammering away and seemingly making no progress. Of course, we all have moments that feel like this. Often they involve levels of frustration. Some time when life is not frustrating you, why don't you think of some work you and your child could do together. Most likey he/she won't want to do it, so don't make it that miserable a job. Maybe a task that has potential to be enjoyable and productive or at least provide an opportunity for him/her to complain and you to practice your empathy and resolute skills.

I would be remiss if I did not encourage you to attend a concert with your child. Even if your child is entrenched in her/his teen years there is some musician out there that you can get tickets to see that your child will attend with you. Really. Don't take no for an answer. Let your child choose the performer and you get the tickets. Concerts are joyful activities and serve to bond. Just don't sing along too loudly.



The guy endlessly riding the horse has very little to do with what this suggestion is about. But, I figured it might catch your eye and I have about five seconds to keep your attention. So, think about this. You may have memories of riding a horse, or learning how to tie your shoes or driving a car, dancing, singing or making a fool of yourself. Why not share some more of those stories that you have yet to tell to your partner, child or friends. 

Some people spend a fair amount of time on trains. Others not so much. I am not going to promote taking your child on a train ride, but I am going to promote doing some transportation with your child. Young children are dependent on their parents for transportation. As your daughter and son make their way through their teen years they spend less and less time with you going from here to there. See if you can find a way to get your child to take a ride with you. On a train, in a car, on a plane, bus or boat. Before you go check out this video.


Madeline Levine is the kind of therapist you and your teenager want to see. Since that probably isn't going to happen, this will more than suffice. These days Dr Levine spends more time working with educators and parents to try to better the educational process. Whether you are sitting talking in front of her, listening to her from a seat in the audience or reading her book you will walk away a better parent and person.



Sadly, I don't think any of us are going to be doing any serious space travel. But, what once was the stuff of science fiction and futurists, will be the providence of our children’s children if not our children. Most of us don’t really closely follow the discoveries of astronomers and space explorers. We see occasional pictures of worlds we can barely comprehend and so don’t think that much about what our ancestors will discover when they expand the parameters of our existence. In the meantime, invite, plead and do your best to encourage your child to accompany you to spend some time at an observatory or science museum or any place that concerns our relationship with the universe beyond earth.