6 Books You Should Read if You’re the Parent of a Teenager

6 Books You Should Read if You’re the Parent of a Teenager

6 (Now 7!) Books For Parenting Teens, In No Particular Order

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 7 of my favorite go-to 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! *This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

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Books for Parenting Teens|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

My list of  the 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 still teaching, 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 booky, but really interesting.  

So, 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 textbooky, 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 you found some books for parenting your own teens!

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 these 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.  

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

Here are some related posts:  Our 2 1/2 Rules for Teen Discipline, Parent Toolkit for Helping Our Teens Survive High School

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

Have you read my book for parenting teens?  College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School

Our favorite book for parenting teens!

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Books for Parenting Teens|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Smart Parents in the know: August wins

Smart Parents in the know: August wins

Ideas for Parents in August

Here are some things I’m learning and loving in the month of August, “Smart Parents” that I think might help you.  I talk about a few things that I am learning and loving in my life right now. This includes recipes, books, movies and gadgets, etc. Here are some ideas for parents of teens in August.

Please know that I am thinking of you in these hard days, and will try to find fun and useful things to share with you each month!

Here are the posts for April, May and June I forgot to post the July one 🙁  Let me know what you are learning and loving so that I can add that to future posts!)  Without further ado, here are helpful ideas for parents in August. *This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

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Smart Ideas for Parents in August!|www.parentinghighschoolers.com


Did you know that the federal direct loan interest rate was lowered on July 1, 2020 to 2.75% from 4.53% last year? This will last until June 30, 2021. This is huge! Even if your child doesn’t really need this money now, it might be a good idea to take a loan out, start repaying it while they are in school, and get ahead on repaying any other debt that you may have accumulated at higher interest rates during this crazy pandemic. (Please note that this will not affect previous loans.)

There are two types of loans for students

Federal direct subsidized loan interest rate:

These are available to undergrad and grad students with financial need. The school determines how much the student can receive. The student will get a grace period of up to six months after graduation to start paying. The Department of Education will pay the interest until graduation.

Federal direct unsubsidized loan interest rate:

These loans are available to graduate and undergrad students regardless of financial need. Again, the school will determine the amount that a student will receive based on scholarships received and the cost of attendance. Interest will accrue during the years of college.

Remember that this is just an idea. Talk with your teen’s financial aid office to see what your student would qualify for. Then talk it over with your spouse or significant other and your financial advisor. This is good money available at a really low rate. Your student would also benefit from starting with good credit even if you are the ones paying because the loan would be in their name.

Please know that under normal times, I don’t like the idea of student loan debt, but this is a little different circumstance. You do not have to take all that you qualify for, and you could borrow and put immediately in the bank… just in case. Also, you can and should start making payments as soon as possible in the case of any loans.

And, please consult someone with more wisdom than me!


Have you checked out the show on Netflix called Down To Earth with Zac Ephron? It is a travel based docu-series. Zac travels to new countries and cultures each episode and learns about sustainability for our planet and all species on it. They try local foods, visit different people and schools. Each episode introduces ways that we can help our environment. I really like the way that he encourages even tiny steps that are doable!


Milk frother – This little gadget is cute and fun to use. I stayed at my girlfriend’s house earlier this summer, and she had one of these to stir her collagen into her coffee each morning. (Collagen has many benefits for those of us over 40- read more here!) My son used it to whip his cream into his coffee, and we both loved using this. This would be a fun gift for your teen to froth their coffee or tea!


The Book of Lost Friends -Wingate

This book was wonderful! It is set in two time periods.

The first time period is Louisiana in 1875. Three young women (Hannie- a former slave, Lavinia -who Hannie had previously had to serve, and Juneau Jane -the illegitimate half-sister of Lavinia) are connected in multiple ways, and who don’t get along for many reasons, find themselves on a journey to to hopefully right some wrongs. Along the way, some really terrible things occur, and they find out that they really need each other. They all have their own reasons to be on this journey, and the entire time you are wondering whether things will work out or not. 

The other setting is Louisiana in 1987. A young woman, Benny, is a first year teacher in a tiny community at a rural school hoping to pay off her student loan debt. She tries desperately to reach her students and to make a difference in their lives. She uncovers a book with clues about the three young women from 1875, but some local townspeople do not want that information to come out. 

This sucked me in, and I could not put this down! I love Lisa Wingate’s books.


National Mahjong Day (1), National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (4), National Book Lover’s Day (9), Global Forgiveness Day (27) –we all need this!, International Bacon Day (the Saturday before Labor Day)


Cause a little bit of summer is what the whole year is about. —John Mayer

Don’t you just love summer? Even though this one is certainly a strange one, there are so many things that can only be enjoyed in the summer! So, take time to “smell the roses”, and enjoy this time with your teens! Here are 50 things for teens to do this summer for both fun and for college and life prep.

Ideas for Parents in August

I hope that you like my ideas for parents in August! Some other posts that might be helpful this time of the year: Best Conversations to Have With Your Teen, Help Your Teen Set Up His or Her First Apartment, Backpack Essential for High School and College

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Smart Ideas for Parents in August!|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Smart Parents in the Know: June Wins

Smart Parents in the Know: June Wins

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Ideas for Parents in June

What I’m learning and loving in the month of June, “Smart Parents”, is a series that I’m continuing.  I talk about a few things that I am learning and loving in my life right now. This may include recipes, books, movies and gadgets, etc. Here are some ideas for parents in June. Please know that I am thinking of you in these hard days, and will try to find fun and useful things to share with you each month!

(Here are the posts for March and April and May) Let me know what you are learning and loving so that I can add that to future posts!  Without further ado, here are my ideas for parents in June. *This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

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Ideas for parents in June|www.parentinghighschoolers.com



This has been a month so far. There is so much going on world-wide as well as nationally. Rawness. Sorrow. Hate. Love. Where to start? 

I actually think that that is the key–start. Start the healing. Start the conversations. Start to empathize. It’s not enough, but I wrote a blog post for parents to try to understand, and hopefully start some conversations. The title says for teens, but there are resources for adults as well, and I honestly love YA books anyway! Here is the link to my post

As for “the Corona”, here is a link to an article regarding the safety of different summer activities.



The Power of One – (PG-13) This movie was based on the book with the same name. It’s set in apartheid Africa, and is based on the story of a little boy growing up with ideas that are opposite what most white boys of that time are thinking. We should all take a page from this one!

So many lessons! Bullying, standing up for what is right, being coachable, overcoming hardship… I could go on and on! This is one I had not thought of for my Best Sports Movies Ever for Teens post, but am definitely adding. 

My boys were talking about us re-watching this now that my youngest is old enough to see it. I remember loving this!


Have you seen these adult coloring books? They are awesome, and so relaxing! There are so many fun ones to choose from! Here is one with a flower theme, one with mandalas, one with animals as a theme, and one with a lot of patterns


The Happiness Project -Rubin  This is such an interesting read! It was different from anything that I was expecting. I read this awhile ago, but it still resonates. With all the chaos in the world right now, this might be a good time to pick this book up, if you haven’t already read it. There is a journal to accompany this wonderful book. The cool thing is that you only have to write down one sentence, so it’s not a huge commitment.

Holidays: National Donut Day (first Friday in June), D-Day WW2 (6th), Best Friend’s Day (8th), Flag Day (14th), Juneteenth (19th), Father’s Day (3rd Sunday), Forgiveness Day (26th), Hug Holiday (29th)


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you  know what you know. You are the guy (or gal) who’ll decide where to go. -Dr. Suess

This is true now even more! Your students decided whether to do the work or not. To study or not. To put forth effort or not. I had 3 boys home during this pandemic, and all 3 used the time differently.

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Ideas for parents in June|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Ideas for Parents in June

I hope that you like my ideas for parents in June! Some other posts that might be helpful this time of the year: How to Plan a Budget With Your College Bound Teen, Backpack Essentials for College: What You Must Have, 5 Steps to Avoiding Your Cool With Your Young Adult


What is there to love about Amazon?

What is there to love about Amazon?

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What is there to love about Amazon?

There are so many things to love about Amazon!  Let me count the ways… I’m telling you that I have learned so much about Amazon while writing this post!  The options are endless and really amazing! *This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

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What is there to love about shopping on Amazon?|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

  1.  Amazon Prime–  (This link looks like it’s for Prime student, but it’s not.  It’s the only link I could find for Prime!) This is an awesome service. At first we were hesitant to sign up for this. When we first signed up, it was $99. It is now $119 for a year if you pay all at once. If you pay monthly, then it is 12.99. You can sign up just for Amazon Video at $8.99 per month. And, as always, you can signup for Amazon Prime for one free month, and end of November is the best time to do this since you can get Black Friday deals, Cyber Monday deals, and holiday deals all in the space of 30 days! TSome great reasons to get this other than the end of the year deals…  2 day free shipping-this alone has been a life saver for me as a major procrastinator!
  2. I love the Subscribe and Save monthly order option! It can be adjusted each month based on what you need or don’t need. You can auto-order things that you need, editing it each month if your needs change. You will receive a notification that it is getting ready to ship, so you can edit the order then. The more that you subscribe to and order, the bigger your savings-up to 15% off. You pay as you go, and if an item is unavailable, Amazon is really great about letting you know and trying to find a replacement.
  3. There are always such great deals!  Daily deals and bargains are amazing, check them out each day.  If I am looking for something in particular, then I really watch for awhile to see if it comes available.
  4. Audible–  This is one of my favorites.  It’s only $14.95 a month, and you can listen to books anytime, anywhere. When you sign up, you get two free audiobooks! There is also now an Audible romance free trial!
  5. Kindle Unlimited has membership plans. If you have Amazon Prime, then it comes along with that. But, it can stand alone for $9.99 a month. You have access to over one million titles with this membership!
  6. Prime Video channels for FREE. There are over 100 channels available. Many are free, others are available with a subscription fee. The videos on Amazon Prime are great.
  7.  Prime Music Streaming (30 day free trial)- Instant unlimited streaming of over one million songs!
  8. Try Amazon Fresh for free-which means groceries delivered. You will need to check to see if this is available in your area.  It is free for a 30-day trial period, then $14.95/month on top of your prime membership. (There is a fee for an order under $40.)
  9. Related to Amazon Fresh is Prime Pantry. This is a one-time order, not a subscription! You will pay a shipping fee of 5.99 for a box to be delivered. These items are both grocery and paper goods that you are not subscribing too. The box is really large, and Amazon will let you know the percentage of the box filled, and then when it is filled. There are often really awesome Prime Pantry deals.
  10. Twitch Prime– This is included in Amazon Prime and Prime video memberships. It is great for gamers. It includes bonus games, free Twitch channel renewable every 30 days, and free game content that is constantly evolving for members.
  11. Amazon Wedding Registry– Amazon pretty much has it all, so this is a one-stop shopping experience for your wedding guests. This includes universal registry from many sites. After the wedding, if you are a Prime member, you will receive 20% off any remaining items on your list.  10% off, if you are not a member.
  12. Amazon Baby Registry-Universal registry from any site, a surprise box for parents and baby with $35 worth of items, ability to group gift for larger items, free 90-day returns, plus huge selection of so many things!
  13. Student Prime– Six month FREE trial! After that, it’s $6.49/month or $79/year. There are numerous college deals and student discounts throughout the year.  You just need to provide your .edu email address for verification. Don’t forget to shop for textbooks with Amazon-we have saved tons with our two college kids!
  14. There is also Amazon Family– I looked into this, and it seems like it is more for families with young children.  Lots of coupons and deals for diapers, baby food etc.  You might share with someone you know in this situation, I had no idea!
    What is there to love about Amazon?|www.parentinghighschoolers.comAs you can see, Amazon has a variety of options, many of which I had no idea about when I started this post!

One option that I didn’t mention earlier is Alexa.

This is basically an Echo Dot speaker that becomes your virtual assistant!  Once you set it up with an app on your phone, it is controlled by your voice to do do many things such as: playing music, solving a math problem, adding to your to-do list, check the weather among many other things! After this, you never have to have your phone out again, and you can sync it to other Alexa-compatible devices, such as: thermostats, light switches, and home security cameras.

More to consider when thinking about shopping at Amazon!

Did you know that they have DEEP DISCOUNTS for all sorts of items?  These are typically for items that were shipped, opened, and then returned for some reason.  These items aren’t even necessarily used!!!  Check out these deals…

Deep discounts on open box and used PCs

Deep discounts on open box and used sporting goods

Deep discounts on open box and used kitchen gadgets

Deep discounts on open box and used tools

Deep discounts on open box and used electronics

Deep discount on open box and used camera equipment

Deep discounts on open box and used musical instruments

Deep discounts on warehouse deals-open box and used items of all sorts

Amazon outlet, clearance, markdowns and overstock items

Teacher deals-educational supplies!– I cannot wait to use this for my classroom this fall!

Credit Cards for Amazon

Amazon Prime Reward Visa Credit Card Here are some advantages to having this card.

• 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership* 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores* 1% back on all other purchases*

• No annual fees*

• No foreign transaction fees*

Amazon.com Credit Card • By Synchrony -Here are some advantages to having this card.

• 5% back on all purchases with an eligible Prime membership

• A number of payment plans

• No annual fee

If you are already an Amazon shopper, I would really encourage you to check out all of these options.  They are all convenient and the deals are amazing! One more thing to mention is that Amazon in customer service is great. I have never had a problem with returns or asking any question about a product!

Let me know if I left anything off of this Amazon list and I will be sure to add it!

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What is there to love about shopping on Amazon?|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Other posts:  49 Movies to Watch with Your Teen for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas,

What Will Your College Freshman Really Need in Their Dorm Room?,

and College Bound:  The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School


Teen Troubles?  5 Simple Steps That Will Help!

Teen Troubles? 5 Simple Steps That Will Help!

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Do you find yourself yelling at your kids all the time?  Are they ignoring you?  Do they spend all of their time on games and other devices?  Have they stopped showing you any respect?  We have gone through all of this and more with our boys.  Here is some hard-won advice that might hopefully help as you move through these years with teen discipline.

True Story

*I talked with one of my boys last night as I was finishing this post.  We talked about a time a few years back when we caught him sneaking out, lying to us about some things, and drinking with some older boys.  I asked him what he thought about us taking his phone away and cracking down on his activities at that time.

He thought about this and said, “Mom, that was the best thing you all did for me.  I was really mad at the time, but you guys were right.  When I was little, you all were pretty strict, but I really thought all that stuff would be fun.  I was glad you took the choice away from me because it was kind of getting scary.”

Looking back on that time, we thought that we were paying attention!  One comment from a friend who saw an unfamiliar car parked near our house was enough for us to figure things out.  It takes a village!

Please remember that good discipline takes time, work and consistency! *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

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2 Rules for Teen Discipline|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

If you have not been consistent (this is the hardest thing!) as a parent, or haven’t had much luck enforcing rules, it will be challenging to turn things around, but not impossible.  Here are a few strategies to think about.

First things first.  As soon as you decide that you want, and/or need to discipline your teen, then you will need a plan.  Get on the same page as your spouse or significant other, or on a similar page in order to work together.  If not, then your teen will sense that the adults in their lives disagree, and they will use this to their advantage every time!

Pay attention to everything.  If there are any little signs, then investigate.  The example of us above is proof that you never know.  Parenting teens is not for the faint of heart, you will have to be vigilant and strong.  We never thought our boys were angels, but that was a very humbling time as a parent.  I am so grateful to that friend for making her observation. Teen discipline is not for the faint of heart.

Have you read my book? Here is a link to the blog post where I break down the book and there are some great free downloads for you to use!  College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School


Decide what your rules will be.  They need to be simple and few.  We have had the same 2 rules for years, really since they were in elementary school.

  1.  Obey first time with a smile on your face.  (In other words with a good attitude.)
  2.  Be respectful.   2A.  No arguing or bickering, no matter who started it!

That’s it for us.  If you think about it, these cover all of the little stuff anyway.  They are simple to learn, and you don’t get bogged down with lots of little rules.  2A came about as an addendum to the area of respect– regarding siblings.  For some reason this needed to be spelled out in our house.  Grab our printable rules below.

The Only 2 1/2 rules you need!|parentinghighschoolers.com

The Only 2 1/2 rules you need! Discipline is easier with a plan.

Rule # 1

Rule #2

Rule #2A

(Some behaviors can be dealt with by using a contract.  These would include driving, cell phone use, gaming time, dating curfews etc.  This will be addressed in a future blog post.)

Share the Plan

Once you have established your rules, then these need to be discussed as a family and one-on-one with each child to make sure that they understand the new plan.  Write down some examples of disrespect that you don’t want to see (or hear) anymore.  Don’t call anyone out on these examples, since probably until now, there has been no rule in place or you have been inconsistent in requiring their respect.

The goal is to let everyone know where you now stand, not to pick on anyone in particular.  (Of course, if you have an only child, then try to be sure that you don’t overwhelm to start.)  This is the time to explain what you want, but also to give your teen(s) a chance to talk about what might be going on in their lives and to ask questions about the new policy.

The best strategy for teen discipline is with simplicity and consistency.  Not easy!


This is where the rubber meets the road.  You, as parents, have to say what you mean, and mean what you say!  At all times.  By the way, it is your right as a parent to say NO–about anything!  There cannot be a day where you give in because your teens will be testing to see if you will give in!  That is how teenagers are made.

Josh Shipp makes a great analogy saying that kids push and push and push, as if against a safety bar on a roller coaster.  Not to see if the safety bar (parents) will give in, but to see if you will hold firm–so that they can feel safe. This is exhausting to say the least, but gradually as your kids see that you really do mean what you say, then they might ease up, but most likely just to push you in another area. I feel your pain!  The more consistent you are with teen discipline, the more success you will have.

Teens have so many things going on in their lives right now.  Changes to their bodies, new schools, hormones are raging, friendships constantly evolving, social media issues, as well as news from the world around them that are all scary things in their lives.  They need to know that they can count on us to be strong.  They need to know that we will be there through the good and the bad.


Be involved, but not nosy.  Ask questions, be interested, give them a chance to share.  Don’t push too hard.  Try to remember what your life was like when you were a teen.  You didn’t tell your parents everything, so don’t expect it from your kids!

A great time to talk is after school when they’re eating a snack–  I like to keep lots of leftovers and snacky foods around for the boys.  I try to be available at this time to hang in the kitchen with them.  Of course, if they have any evening activities, they always come home hungry after those, too.  So, that’s another good time to talk.

Talk With Your Teen- Find The Time That Works For Them!

Evaluate what works and what doesn’t.  Some kids like time alone when they get home, and others are ready to spill their day out right then.  If no time seems to work for them, tell them that you would like a few minutes to chat and to let you know what time works best.

Car rides are good for either talking or listening, especially if you’re the carpool mom.  They are on their phones, of course, but not always.  I try to keep my music low, and listen for little tidbits here and there.  You never know what you might learn. I have a basket for cell phones which I occasionally use to encourage talking and not texting with my passengers! (Keep snacks in the car for those days that you don’t have time to go home between activities!)

After lights out is one of our favorite times to talk with the boys!  The dark is such a comfortable and non-threatening place for heart-to-heart conversations.  Keep it calm and just listen.  Try not to jump to conclusions, but ask open ended questions, present ideas, and mostly give them the floor.  They will say so many things in the dark, that might be impossible in the light of day.


A big part of being a teenager is trying to figure everything out.  They need time to be alone–to think, to chill, to just have time to process what is going on in their life.  This is a natural part of growing up.  The rule in our house is no locked doors, and if a door is closed, then knocking is required, even for us as parents to enter their rooms.  This is a sign of respect on both sides.

There are certain times that we want them to be with us as a family, like mealtimes (when we are actually all home at the same time).  Also, if we want a family night for a movie or a game, we talk about when this works for everyone’s schedule.  They have jobs and homework, so a lot of times, it doesn’t happen until weekends.  I take what I can get these days since our middle son is getting ready to leave for college at the end of the summer.

If you notice that your teen is starting to spend a lot of time in their room, and it’s not for studying or a quick nap, then you need to  have a conversation with him or her.  This is one of those times to tread carefully.  No accusations.  Try gentle questions.

Make their favorite meal and try to get some one-on-one time before it becomes a problem.  This goes for gaming as well!  A good rule to have is no Wi-Fi password until homework, reading, chores or whatever are finished.


These years are the time to really keep your radar fine tuned for changes in behavior that are alarming.  There will be changes, no doubt, but not all are bad.  Keeping the lines of communication open are key so that your relationship doesn’t become adversarial.  (Obviously, there will be times that are rocky, but hang in there, and remember how much stress is in their lives.  Step away for awhile, but come back to disagreements at a different time.)

Teen discipline is NOT easy!  I think that these years with our boys have been really hard, but really rewarding!  We have come out on the other side with one so far, and our second son is getting ready to leave for college in the fall.  These 2 older boys have pushed us and tried things that we were not ready for, and there have been some really challenging times as parents.

Our youngest son might be the biggest challenge so far, and we are weary.  But, we will continue to try our best to be consistent and stay the course.  He will keep us on our toes I am sure!

My friends and I have been there for each other through the years and miles as different situations have occurred with our kids.  Find a good friend that you can lean on for support as you wade through this challenging time.  It is so much better when you can commiserate with someone who is going through the same or similar situations.

Do you have any good ideas that have worked for your family regarding teen discipline?

We really would love to have you share for our readers to learn from!

Here’s a comparison of teens and toddlers that helps all of this to make more sense! And, another post, 5 Ways to Improve Communicating With Your Teen.

Have you read my book?  College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School

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2 Rules for Teen Discipline|www.parentinghighschoolers.com



Smart Parents in The Know: May Wins

Smart Parents in The Know: May Wins

Ideas for Parents in May

What I’m learning and loving in the month of May, “Smart Parents” is a series that I’m continuing.  I will talk about a few things that I am learning and loving in my life right now. This may include recipes, books, movies and gadgets, etc. Here are some ideas for parents in May. Please know that I am thinking of you in these hard days, and will try to find fun and useful things to share with you each month!

(Here are the posts for March and April) Let me know what you are learning and loving so that I can add that to future posts!  Without further ado, here are my ideas for parents in May. *This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

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Ideas for parents in May|www.parentinghighschoolers.com


What is mindfulness? Everyone talks about it…
mind·ful·ness (according to Oxford)
the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
5 Reasons that mindfulness is good for you It is really easy to incorporate into your life, give it a try!

Did you know that Mr. Rogers was often quarantined as a child because of breathing problems? He used his imagination to get himself through these times.

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One of our all time favorites! We just watched it again as a family the other night, Secondhand Lions.  If somehow you have missed this- you must watch! A great coming of age film about a boy who is basically dumped with 2 great uncles that he doesn’t even know. Great stories come from these two old curmudgeons played by Robert Duvall and Michael Caine. The boy is played by Haley Joel Osment in his younger days.


Side Hustle Simplified

This was written by a 16 year old! Here are some things that he says in the description… 

During these past few years, I’ve learned a lot and executed and implemented like crazy. I’ve also made plenty of mistakes, and figured out workarounds and solutions to them. This book is not just a guide for how you can start making money on the side, but also a blueprint of ideas for you to expand upon.

While I cannot guarantee you any results, these exact methods have worked very well for me, and I am giving you every tip, trick, tool, technique and tactic I’ve learned and used, so that it can help you on your own journey.

I think that this would be a great book for any teen to read and get ideas.

Memorial Day 2020

I usually only choose one book, but I wanted to share this amazing idea that these authors have for a great cause.

22 authors have a common goal.

They would like to raise $100k for veteran’s charities, specifically, Southeastern Guide Dogs and the Gary Sinise Foundation. It is a thriller and sci-fi genre, and they are putting out a mega box set. It is on pre-order and drops the 22nd of May, which is the start of Memorial Day weekend. They are trying to raise as much as possible, and they have set the price at $9.99, which is very reasonable for this size of book set. It is available in Kindle.


Thermal laminator machine with clear pouches for laminating. I never in a million years thought that I would use this as much as I have. I got it for my classroom, but I have used it at home for things like laminating our car insurance cards and a couple of pictures for family. It’s small and really easy to use!


May Day -(1st), Kentucky Derby Day -(1st Saturday in May), Star Wars Day -(May 4th), Cinco de Mayo -(5th), National Teacher’s Day -(Tuesday, first full week in May), Mother’s Day -(2nd Sunday in May), International Nurse’s Day -(May 12th), Memorial Day -(last Monday of the month) These are just a few reasons to celebrate this month!


The world’s favorite season is the spring.  All things seem possible in May. –  Edwin Way Teale

Ideas for parents in May

I hope that you like my ideas for parents in May! Some other posts that might be helpful this time of the year: 5 Steps To Avoid Losing your Cool With Your TeensCinco de Mayo with Teens, Take A Mom Time Out, Books You Should Read If You Are the Parent Of a Teen

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Ideas for parents in May|www.parentinghighschoolers.com


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