The Emotional Lives of Teenagers

Publishing February 2023

The Emotional Lives of Teenagers is written as clearly, usefully, and warmly as anything I’ve read about the psychology of adolescence. Lisa Damour explains why intense feelings—including negative ones—are a key part of teenage development, and how we can help young people understand, and most importantly, embrace the full spectrum of human emotion. I give it my highest recommendation!”

– Angela Duckworth, author of Grit and Co-Founder of Character Lab

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The Emotional Lives of Teenagers

The Emotional Lives of Teenagers

Lisa's latest book is an urgently needed guide to help parents understand their teenagers’ intense and often fraught emotional lives—and how to support them through this critical developmental stage.

Under Pressure

Under Pressure

Lisa’s second New York Times best seller is a celebrated, urgently needed guide to addressing the alarming increase in anxiety and stress in girls from elementary school through college.

Untangled

Untangled

Lisa’s award-winning New York Times best seller–now available in nineteen languages–is a sane, informed, and engaging guide for parents of teenage girls.

Untangled Guiding teenage girls through the seven transitions into adulthood

Lisa’s award-winning New York Times best seller–now available in nineteen languages–is a sane, informed, and engaging guide for parents of teenage girls.

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The most down-to-earth, readable parenting book I’ve come across in a long time.

Damour builds on and references solid research in psychology, but the heart of Untangled are the real-life examples and anecdotes from Damour’s decades of experience in counseling adolescent girls and their parents. Without preachiness or jargon, Damour illustrates how to talk to our girls, how to set limits, and how to respect and foster our daughters’ growing independence.

- Washington Post | read the full review

Such a welcome new resource.

Author Lisa Damour, director of Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, draws on stories of girls and their families to discuss ways to have constructive conversations. She also advises parents on what is cause for worry and what is not.

- Boston Globe | read the full review

Parents will want this book on their shelves next to established classics of the genre.

Psychologist Damour begins this clear-sighted parenting guide with an epigraph from psychoanalyst Anna Freud: “There are few situations in life which are more difficult to cope with than an adolescent son or daughter.” In response, Damour offers a hopeful, helpful new way for parents to talk about—and with—teenage girls. More descriptive than prescriptive, the volume is anecdote-driven, featuring entertaining, insightful stories drawn from the author’s experience.

- Publisher’s Weekly | read the full review

Untangled: The new bible of parenting books.

Untangled articulates a new perspective on what’s happening to your teenager – with friends, family, school, and much more. The book provides two essential tools – a roadmap for how parents can improve the day-to-day relationship with their teenagers, and the big picture of raising capable, young adults ready to be successful in the world. Untangled is comforting, without judgment, and above all, so wonderfully practical.

- Your Teen Magazine | read the full review

Expert information and counsel on helping parents raise well-rounded girls.

For parents who wonder why their delightful little girl has been replaced by an often belligerent, eye-rolling, disrespectful semiadult, Damour’s advice will be a great help. The author identifies how girls slide in and out of childhood as they test boundaries, how hanging out with peers can create conflict as well as a much-needed new tribe, and the benefits and problems surrounding social media, including the impact of bullying. She gives parents methods to broach difficult topics in a firm and understanding manner. Using Damour’s guidance, these transitional years will be far less fraught with angst and parents will be able to create stronger bonds with their daughters.

- Kirkus Review | read the full review

It’s a wise, funny, highly insightful guide to the mysterious minefield of adolescence.

If the teen years are a difficult passage, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood seeks to map the journey, at least as it relates to girls. Lisa Damour divides this “tangle” into seven strands (parting with childhood, harnessing emotions, etc.) and offers wisdom drawn from her research and experience to help parents and, really, anyone who has girls in their care to understand and assist the process. Her advice is clear-headed, to the point and often surprising.

- Bookpage | read the full review

Dr. Damour expertly guides in the touchiest areas of development and social difficulties faced by parents of daughters.

Untangled is like having a 24/7 therapist at your beck and call. Dr. Damour tells you how to address the sensitive issues (privacy, friendships, harnessing emotion and how the teen brain functions; contending with adult authority; planning for the future; body perception; and entrance into the world of romance) that as a parent you may be reluctant to bring up, but feel are essential to discuss or address in some way.

- Psychology Today | read the full review

In her New York Times best seller, Dr. Damour draws on decades of experience and the latest research to reveal the seven distinct—and absolutely normal—developmental transitions that turn girls into grown-ups, including Parting with Childhood, Contending with Adult Authority, Entering the Romantic World, and Caring for Herself. Providing realistic scenarios and welcome advice on how to engage daughters in smart, constructive ways, Untangled gives parents a broad framework for understanding their daughters while addressing their most common questions, including

  • My thirteen-year-old rolls her eyes when I try to talk to her, and only does it more when I get angry with her about it. How should I respond?
  • Do I tell my teen daughter that I’m checking her phone?
  • Where’s the line between healthy eating and having an eating disorder?
  • My daughter’s friend is cutting herself. Do I call the girl’s mother to let her know?

Perhaps most important, Untangled helps mothers and fathers understand, connect, and grow with their daughters. When parents know what makes their daughter tick, they can embrace and enjoy the challenge of raising a healthy, happy young woman.

Book Excerpt About Mental Health

Teenagers have ups and downs, but if they’re down day after day something could be wrong. Clinical depression, a psychological illness that goes far beyond feeling blue, affects roughly 5 percent of all teenagers and is more likely to occur in girls than boys. If your daughter shows several of the classic signs of clinical depression—sadness, not enjoying life, changes in her appetite, sleep, or activity levels, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, or difficulty concentrating—for many days in a row, consider having her evaluated for a mood disorder. Should your daughter express suicidal feelings, call her primary care provider immediately; if she indicates that she might hurt herself, take her to an emergency room.

Unfortunately, it is not widely known that the symptoms of depression in teenagers are rarely the same as the symptoms in adults. Instead of being sad and gloomy, depressed teens are more likely to be highly irritable with most people, most of the time. Living with a teenager who suffers from this form of depression is like living with a touchy porcupine. When teens are testy all the time, it’s easy for adults to write ...

Book Excerpt About Risky Behavior

Parents of teenagers must live with a painful truth: teenagers can and do engage in dangerous behavior—behavior that goes way beyond wearing questionable lipstick or a banned T-shirt. You’re not alone if you’ve lost sleep worrying that your daughter might get hurt if she and her friends decide to try out some of the careless things that teenagers sometimes do. More than a few parents secretly wish that they could lock their daughter away until she’s an adult or follow her around all weekend as her personal (and profoundly unwelcome) bodyguard....

Book Excerpt About School & College

The most immediate road to your daughter’s future runs through her life at school, and by nearly every available measure girls, as a group, do well academically. They get better grades than boys, are less likely than boys to repeat a grade or drop out of school, consistently outperform boys in reading and writing, do as well as boys in mathematics, are more likely than boys to enroll in college immediately after graduating from high school, outnumber male college students, and are more likely than boys to complete college....
Untangled Guiding teenage girls through the seven transitions into adulthood