There are many great books available to but you have to be willing to do the reading. It is worth it! You will learn so much about yourself, understanding your child, and your family… and you will find you are not alone when you have the chance to identify with other families who have gone through the challenging journey of raising teens before you.

Check with the Mental Wellness Center to “borrow a book” from their lending library.

Below is a list of recommended books compiled by parents and professionals.
SHARE your recommendations in the comments section.

Books for Parent & Caregivers

The Parallel Process - Growing Alongside Your Adolescent or Young Adult Child in Treatment

By Krissy Pozatek

Using case studies garnered from her many years as an adolescent and family therapist, Krissy Pozatek shows parents of pre-teens, adolescents, and young adults how they can help their children by attuning to emotions, setting limits, not rushing to their rescue, and allowing them to take responsibility for their actions, while recognizing their own patterns of emotional withdrawal, workaholism, and of surrendering their lives and personalities to parenting. The Parallel Process is an essential primer for all parents, whether of troubled teens or not, who are seeking to help the family stay and grow together as they negotiate the potentially difficult teenage years.

The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

By The Arbinger Institute

What if conflicts at home, conflicts at work, and conflicts in the world stem from the same root cause? What if we systematically misunderstand that cause? And what if, as a result, we systematically perpetuate the very problems we think we are trying to solve?

From the authors of Leadership and Self-Deception comes an international bestseller that instills hope and inspires reconciliation. Through a moving story of parents who are struggling with their own children and with problems that have come to consume their lives, we learn from once-bitter enemies the way to transform personal, professional, and global conflicts, even when war is upon us. Readers observe this through the eyes of one participant, a father whose business is in nearly as much trouble as his teenage son.

The Parenting Pyramid

By Arbinger Institute

What if part of “good parenting” is the willingness to be the first to admit when we are wrong, the first to listen to and apply our children’s advice, and the last to give advice?  Being “right,” or being “in the right,” or trying to make sure our children “turn out right” have not been formulas for successful parenting. Rather, they have invited the very resistance that makes parenting such a struggle (for control) at times. Instead, we have found that being “right toward our children” fundamentally helps things go well.

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life

By Marshall B. Rosenberg

An enlightening look at how peaceful communication can create compassionate connections with family, friends, and other acquaintances, using stories, examples, and sample dialogues to provide solutions to communication problems both at home and in the workplace.

Guidance is provided on identifying and articulating feelings and needs, expressing anger fully, and exploring the power of empathy in order to speak honestly without creating hostility, break patterns of thinking that lead to anger and depression, and communicate compassionately.

Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool

By Hal Edward Runkel

ScreamFree Parenting is not just about lowering your voice. It’s about learning to calm your emotional reactions and learning to focus on your own behavior more than your kids’ behavior . . . for their benefit. Our biggest enemy as parents is not the TV, the Internet, or even drugs. Our biggest enemy is our own emotional reactivity. When we say we “lost it” with our kids, the “it” in that sentence is our own adulthood. And then we wonder why our kids have so little respect for us, why our kids seem to have all the power in the family. Parenting is not about kids, it’s about parents. If you’re not in control, then you cannot be in charge.

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder

By Paul Mason

Do you feel manipulated, controlled, or lied to? Are you the focus of intense, violent, and irrational rages? Do you feel you are ‘walking on eggshells’ to avoid the next confrontation?  If the answer is ‘yes,’ someone you care about may have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Stop Walking on Eggshells has already helped people with friends and family members suffering from BPD understand this destructive disorder, set boundaries, and help their loved ones stop relying on dangerous BPD behaviors.

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

By Jessica Lahey
Modern parenting is defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness: parents now rush to school to deliver forgotten assignments, challenge teachers on report card disappointments, mastermind children’s friendships, and interfere on the playing field. As teacher, journalist, and parent Jessica Lahey explains, even though these parents see themselves as being highly responsive to their children’s well-being, they aren’t giving them the chance to experience failure—or the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems.

Everywhere she turned, Lahey saw an obvious and startling fear of failure—in both her students and in her own children. This fear has the potential to undermine children’s autonomy, competence, motivation, and their relationships with the adults in their lives. Providing a clear path toward solutions, Lahey lays out a blueprint with targeted advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, and sports. Most important, she sets forth a plan to help parents learn to step back and embrace their children’s setbacks along with their successes.

An Unchanged Mind: The Problem of Immaturity in Adolescence

By John McKinnon

An Unchanged Mind begins with a clinical riddle: Why are American teenagers failing to develop normally through adolescence? We are presented with case studies from a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teenagers: All new students had been deemed treatment “failures” after conventional psychiatric care. All were bright teenagers, full of promise, not obviously “ill.” Yet they found themselves unprepared for the challenges of modern adolescence and inevitably failed—at school, at home, and among their peers socially.

An Unchanged Mind is the discovery of the essence of this problem—disrupted maturation and resulting immaturity. The book explains the problem carefully, with a brief review of normal development and an examination of the delays today’s teenagers are suffering: the causes of those delays and how they produce a flawed approach to living. There is a solution. With a sustained push to help troubled kids catch up, symptoms abate, academic and interpersonal functioning improve, and parents pronounce their teens miraculously recovered. This remedy is not a matter of pharmacology—and the cure is not in pills. The remedy is, instead, to grow up.

The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls from Today's Pressures and Conflicting Expectations

By Stephen Hinshaw & Rachel Kranz

The Triple Bind that girls face today: Act sweet and nice, Be a star athlete and get straight A’s, Seem sexy and hot even if you’re not.

Societal expectations, cultural trends, and conflicting messages are creating “the Triple Bind.” Girls are now expected to excel at “girl skills,” achieve “boy goals,” and be models of female perfection, 100 percent of the time. Dr. Hinshaw reveals key aspects of the Triple Bind, including… genes, hormones, and the role of biology in confronting the Triple Bind ~ overscheduled lives and how the high pressure to excel at everything sets girls up for crisis ~ how traditionally feminine qualities (such as empathy and self-awareness) can put girls at risk for anxiety, depression, and other disorders ~ the oversexualization of little girls, preteens, and teenagers ~ the reasons girls are channeling pressure into violence. Provides tools for parents who want to empower their daughters to deal in healthy ways with today’s pressures.

Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids

By Denise Pope

Our increasingly fast-paced world is interfering with sound educational practices and harming kids both physically and mentally. Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids gives teachers, administrators, and parents the information, tools, and strategies needed to begin making immediate changes at school, in the community, and at home to benefit all students. Based on the Challenge Success program—a research-based project founded at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education—this vital resource shows how to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for kids.

Step by step, Denise Pope, Maureen Brown, and Sarah Miles outline a concrete framework to reduce student stress while engaging kids in real learning. Overloaded and Underprepared details strategies and techniques that have been proven to work with tens of thousands of students, like hands-on learning and alternative assessments, as well as educating kids and parents about healthier ways to handle stress. The book helps to identify areas for improvement at school, brainstorm possible solutions, identify potential obstacles, and offer ways to achieve buy-in from multiple stakeholders.

Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change

By Jeffrey Foote, Carrie Wilkens, Nicole Kosanke, Stephanie Higgs

Beyond Addiction goes beyond the theatrics of interventions and tough love to show family and friends how they can use kindness, positive reinforcement, and motivational and behavioral strategies to help someone change. Drawing on forty collective years of research and decades of clinical experience, the authors present the best practical advice science has to offer. Written by Center for Motivation and Change (CMC). Help your loved one by using CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training): “a scientifically supported, evidence-based, clinically proven approach to helping families of substance abusers.

The Lost Years: Surviving a Mother and Daughter's Worst Nightmare

By Kristina Wandzilak & Constance Curry

A child caught in the horror of alcohol and drug addiction. A mother helplessly standing by unable to save her. The Lost Years is the real life story of just such a mother and child, each giving their first-hand accounts of the years lost to addiction and despair. Kristina, the second of four children, tells how she turns to alcohol for comfort when she is thirteen. She gives a brutally honest description of her descent into addiction, prostitution, burglary and violent rape until her near death on the floor of a homeless shelter completely alone at the age of twenty-one.

Adding a heart-wrenching counterpart to the story, Kristina’s mother, Connie, tells of her powerlessness to help her addicted daughter, the break-up of her unhappy marriage and how she comes to terms with her own co-dependency. She is also faced with the worst choice a mother has to make, to close the door on Kristina, sending her onto the streets in order to save herself and protect her other children. Then follows the remarkable story of Kristina’s recovery as she lives through rehab, her mother’s tough love and the years of acclimating herself to living a normal life.

Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder

By James Lock

Tens of thousands of parents have turned to this compassionate guide for support and practical advice grounded in cutting-edge scientific knowledge. Top experts explain what you need to know about eating disorders, which treatments work, and why it is absolutely essential to play an active role in your teen’s recovery–even though parents have often been told to take a back seat. Learn how to monitor your teen’s eating and exercise, manage mealtimes, end weight-related power struggles, and partner successfully with health care providers. When families work together to get the most out of treatment and prevent relapse, eating disorders can be beat. This book is your essential roadmap.

The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease

By Marc Lewis

Through the vivid, true stories of five people who journeyed into and out of addiction, a renowned neuroscientist explains why the “disease model” of addiction is wrong and illuminates the path to recovery.

The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family

By Karyn Purvis

The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family. Some adoptions, though, present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into your family–and addressing their special needs–requires care, consideration, and compassion. The Connected Child is the literary equivalent of an airline oxygen mask and instructions: place the mask over your own face first, then over the nose of your child. This book first assists the parent, saying, in effect, ‘Calm down, you’re not the first mom or dad in the world to face this hurdle, breathe deeply, then follow these simple steps.’ The sense of not facing these issues alone — the relief that your child’s behavior is not off the charts — is hugely comforting. Other children have behaved this way; other parents have responded thusly; welcome to the community of therapeutic and joyful adoptive families.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

By Brené Brown

Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage. Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment, and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity. She writes: “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.”

Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt.

Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

By Glennon Doyle Melton

In Carry On, Warrior, Glennon shares her personal story in moving, refreshing, and laugh-out-loud-funny new essays. Her writing invites us to believe in ourselves, to be brave and kind, to let go of the idea of perfection, and to stop making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman’s trying to love herself and others, readers will find a wise and witty friend who shows that we can build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities.

Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives

By Pia Mellody

This is a framework for identifying codependent thinking, emotions and behaviour and provides an effective approach to recovery. Mellody sets forth five primary adult symptoms of this crippling condition, then traces their origin to emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical and sexual abuses that occur in childhood. Central to Mellody’s approach is the concept that the codependent adult’s injured inner child needs healing. Recovery from codependence, therefore, involves clearing up the toxic emotions left over from these painful childhood experiences.

There is also a workbook… Breaking Free: A Recovery Workbook For Facing Codependency >

The Knight in Rusty Armor

By Robert Fisher

This book is a simple and quick read but it brings to your attention the various armors we carry in our lives without realizing it. Fisher, the author, uses the Merlin to create this awareness about the armors we carry to protect us against others, or to prevent us from getting hurt. It is helpful for both parents and young adults.

Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom

By William Glasser

For progress in human relationships, he explains that we must give up the punishing, relationship;destroying external control psychology. For example, if you are in an unhappy relationship right now, he proposes that one or both of you could be using external control psychology on the other. No one can make us do anything we don’t want to. It’s only when we give up spending our energy trying to force others to conform to our ideas or to keep them from doing the same to us that we are able to live the way we want to. Contrary to what you may believe, your troubles are always now, never in the past. No one can change what happened yesterday.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

By Bessel Van der Kolk

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors.

He uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. This book exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder

By Paul Mason

Do you feel manipulated, controlled, or lied to? Are you the focus of intense, violent, and irrational rages? Do you feel you are ‘walking on eggshells’ to avoid the next confrontation?  If the answer is ‘yes,’ someone you care about may have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Stop Walking on Eggshells has already helped people with friends and family members suffering from BPD understand this destructive disorder, set boundaries, and help their loved ones stop relying on dangerous BPD behaviors.

Mental Health for the Whole Child: Moving Young Clients from Disease & Disorder to Balance & Wellness

By Scott M. Shannon

Leading pediatric psychiatrist shows clinicians a holistic, full-spectrum approach to children’s well-being. Every child possesses enormous untapped potential, and yet the number of kids suffering from mental illness today seems to creep ever upward. In this book, child psychiatrist Scott Shannon offers a refreshing new path for practitioners who are eager for a more optimistic view of children’s mental health, one that emphasizes a child’s inherent resilience and resources over pathology and prescriptions. Stress, trauma, and poor nutrition are some of the most common barriers to wholeness in kids’ lives, and Shannon carefully examines these and other barriers, and what the latest discoveries in neuroplasticity and epigenetics tell us about their ability to overcome them. The second part of the book looks at eight of the most common childhood mental health issues―ADHD, depression, behavioral problems, anxiety and OCD, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, autism spectrum disorders, and trauma and PTSD―and a variety of effective complementary treatment tools for each, including dietary changes, nutritional supplements, specific cognitive or behavioral therapies, parenting interventions, medications, and more. Step-by-step treatment plans are included to guide clinicians on how best to approach each presenting problem.


The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls from Today's Pressures and Conflicting Expectations

By Stephen Hinshaw & Rachel Kranz

The Triple Bind that girls face today: Act sweet and nice, Be a star athlete and get straight A’s, Seem sexy and hot even if you’re not.

Societal expectations, cultural trends, and conflicting messages are creating “the Triple Bind.” Girls are now expected to excel at “girl skills,” achieve “boy goals,” and be models of female perfection, 100 percent of the time. Dr. Hinshaw reveals key aspects of the Triple Bind, including… genes, hormones, and the role of biology in confronting the Triple Bind ~ overscheduled lives and how the high pressure to excel at everything sets girls up for crisis ~ how traditionally feminine qualities (such as empathy and self-awareness) can put girls at risk for anxiety, depression, and other disorders ~ the oversexualization of little girls, preteens, and teenagers ~ the reasons girls are channeling pressure into violence. Provides tools for parents who want to empower their daughters to deal in healthy ways with today’s pressures.

The Disappearing Girl: Learning the Language of Teenage Depression

By Lisa Machoian

Adults are increasingly concerned about the rising rate of depression in teenage girls and the frequency of alarming behaviors including wild conduct, explosive outbursts, back talking, sexual escapades, drug experimentation, and even cutting, eating disorders, and suicide attempts. The Disappearing Girl, the first book on depression in teenage girls, helps parents understand: Why silence reflects a girl’s desperate wish for inclusion, not isolation ~ Subtle differences between teen angst and problem behavior ~ Vulnerabilities in dating, friendships, school, and families ~ How, if untreated, girls will carry feelings of helplessness, anger, and depression into adulthood.

Tips for a “whole-girl approach,” addressing mind, body, heart and soul with practical solutions. Physical activities, volunteering, proper sleep and diet, supportive peers, coping skills and being with family are all ways to keep girls on track.

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide

By Kay Redfield Jamison

Dr. Jamison explores what type of person commits suicide, and why, and when.  She has also known suicide firsthand: after years of struggling with manic-depression, she tried at age twenty-eight to kill herself. Weaving together a historical and scientific exploration of the subject with personal essays on individual suicides, she brings not only her remarkable compassion and literary skill but also all of her knowledge and research to bear on this devastating problem. This is a book that helps us to understand the suicidal mind, to recognize and come to the aid of those at risk, and to comprehend the profound effects on those left behind. It is critical reading for parents, educators, and anyone wanting to understand this tragic epidemic.

She also wrote a great book on Bipolar illness… An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

By Andrew Solomon

Examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policy makers and politicians, drug designers, and philosophers, he reveals the subtle complexities and sheer agony of the disease as well as the reasons for hope. He confronts the challenge of defining the illness and describes the vast range of available medications and treatments, and the impact the malady has on various demographic populations—around the world and throughout history. He also explores the thorny patch of moral and ethical questions posed by biological explanations for mental illness.

CBT Strategies for Anxious and Depressed Children and Adolescents: A Clinician's Toolkit

By Eduardo L. Bunge PhD, Javier Mandil, Andrés J. Consoli PhD, Martín Gomar Lic

In a large-size format for easy photocopying, this book provides 167 engaging full-color reproducible tools for use in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with 7- to 18-year-olds. Beautifully designed handouts and worksheets are presented for each phase of treating anxiety and depression, organized in a state-of-the-art modular framework that encourages therapeutic flexibility. Introductions to each module offer vital clinical pointers and describe when and how to use the various forms, illustrated with vivid case examples.

Right Click: Parenting Your Teenager In A Digital Media World

by Art Bamford, Kara Powell, Brad M Griffin

Right Click helps you think and talk differently about digital media, as you learn from inspiring and creative parents like you who navigate these ever-changing waters day after day. Drawing from the best research on media and youth, as well as our own conversations with parents and teenagers, Right Click offers new breakthroughs for your most pressing tech-related dilemmas.

* How to teach your kids to use social media responsibly.
* How to set limits on when, where, and how much you use devices in your family–without isolating your kids from their friends.
* How to handle the tough stuff: inappropriate sharing, bullying, and porn.
* How to make digital media a force that knits your family together rather than ripping you apart at the seams.

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate

By Justin Lee

As a teenager and young man, Justin Lee felt deeply torn. Nicknamed “God Boy” by his peers, he knew that he was called to a life in the evangelical Christian ministry. But Lee harbored a secret: He also knew that he was gay. In this groundbreaking book, Lee recalls the events–his coming out to his parents, his experiences with the “ex-gay” movement, and his in-depth study of the Bible–that led him, eventually, to self-acceptance.

But more than just a memoir, TORN provides insightful, practical guidance for all committed Christians who wonder how to relate to gay friends or family members–or who struggle with their own sexuality. Convinced that “in a culture that sees gays and Christians as enemies, gay Christians are in a unique position to bring peace,” Lee demonstrates that people of faith on both sides of the debate can respect, learn from, and love one another.

Tough Guys and Drama Queens: How Not to Get Blindsided by Your Child's Teen Years

By Mark Gregston

Mark Gregston, founder of heartlight, a Christian residential counseling center, introduces Tough Guys and Drama Queens―a must-read “how-to” book for parents of pre-teens and teens with time-tested, biblical techniques to guide you through these unavoidably challenging years. Mark helps parents realize that some natural parenting approaches are actually counter-productive and therefore totally ineffective.In place of those, he offers tried and true wisdom on the vital importance of relationship, forgiveness, and explains how conflict is actually the precursor to change.

In addition, he also wrote… When Your Teen Is Struggling: Real Hope and Practical Help for Parents Today

Space At The Table: Conversations Between An Evangelical Theologian And His Gay Son

By Brad Harper

Can an evangelical theologian and his gay son overcome the differences in belief that threaten to destroy their relationship? For Brad and Drew Harper, that question wasn’t theoretical–and neither was the resounding yes they found after years of struggle. Writing to each other with compassion, grit, and humor, Brad and Drew take us on their journey as parent and child from the churches of middle America to the penthouses of New York’s party scenes, through a pastor’s–kid childhood and painful conversion therapy to the hard–won victories of their adult relationship. It is a guide, showing us a way through the roadblocks that threaten to devastate both families and the broader evangelical and LBGTQ communities. Speaking from their own experience, Brad and Drew offer an invitation to join them in a place where love is stronger than the beliefs that divide us.

Connecting with college students over break: they’re bringing home more than their laundry

By Steve Argue, PhD

Parents all over the country are anticipating their young adult kids coming home for the holiday break. For some, it’s the first time they’ve been home since they sent them off and set them up for the college school year. Home will feel like home again. The child you said goodbye to in the fall isn’t the same one who’s coming home this holiday season. Beyond their laundry, they’re bringing home other things that you need to consider.

1) They’re bringing home their spiritual and religious doubts … and they need to know that you’ll stick with them…

Mindfulness Skills for Kids & Teens: A Workbook for Clinicians & Clients

By Debra Burdick

A comprehensive, practical and user-friendly mindfulness resource written specifically for children and adolescents. Straight-forward guide for improving self-awareness, self-regulation skills, mental health, and social connectedness in kids and teens. This expertly crafted resource features a collection of more than 150 proven tools and techniques, presented in a simple, step-by-step skill building format. Perfect for mental health practitioners, teachers and all in the helping professions. Downloadable worksheets, exercises and reflections. Activities, games, and meditations that build basic through advanced mindfulness skills.

Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years

By Karen Levin Coburn & Madge Lawrence Treeger

For more than a decade, Letting Go has provided hundreds of thousands of parents with valuable insights, information, comfort, and guidance throughout the emotional and social changes of their children’s college years—from the senior year in high school through college graduation.

When should parents encourage independence?
When should they intervene?
What issues of identity and intimacy await students?
What are normal feelings of disorientation and loneliness for students—and for parents?
What is different about today’s college environment?
What new concerns about safety, health and wellness, and stress will affect incoming classes?

High School Graduation Does Not Mean Graduation from Treatment

By Erika’s Lighthouse

Continuity of care is important for a successful transition to college. College counselors believe that students fare better if they continue treatment at least during their freshman year, rather than risk having to leave school due to a lapse in treatment. It takes planning and coordination to make sure the transition from one is smooth and long-lasting. And it starts while your child is still in high school… You should consider planning for treatment in college if your child: • Was psychiatrically hospitalized in high school, especially within a year of graduation. • Is taking psychotropic medication. • Was treated for an eating disorder in high school. • Was treated for substance abuse in high school. • Is diagnosed with bipolar disorder or has had a psychotic episode. • Has attempted suicide or has a history of self-injury in high school. • Was “unable to cooperate with their own treatment” in high school. • Went untreated in high school for depression or an eating disorder, etc. because of a cultural bias against mental health treatment. • Received “special services” in high school.

The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only

By Harlan Cohen

A Parent’s Guide to the New College Experience: Calling, Not Calling, Packing, Preparing, Problems, Roommates, … Matters when Your Child Goes to College. America’s most trusted college life expert, delivers the best advice, facts, stats, tips, and stories from parents, students, and experts across the country to ensure that you and your child will have an incredible and meaningful college experience. The Summer Before, Calling, Texting, and Facebooking, To A or Not to B, Paying the Bills, The First Few Months, Keeping Them Safe.

You can also read: The Happiest Kid on Campus: A Parent’s Guide to the Very Best College Experience 

You're On Your Own (But I am Here if you Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years

By Marjorie Savage

Realistic and practical advice for parents of college-age kids. Parents whose kids are away at college have a tough tightrope to walk: they naturally want to stay connected to their children, yet they also need to let go. What’s more, kids often send mixed messages: they crave space, but they rely on their parents’ advice and assistance. Not surprisingly, it’s hard to know when it’s appropriate to get involved in your child’s life and when it’s better to back off.
This book helps parents identify the boundaries between necessary involvement and respect for their child’s independence.
How to cope with your family’s mood changes in the months before move-in day on campus
Why students complain about the food but still manage to gain fifteen pounds their first year
How to teach basic financial responsibility, including the handling of credit cards and academic expenses
When parental intervention is critical

Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation

By Steven Levenkron

Nearly a decade ago, Cutting boldly addressed a traumatic psychological disorder now affecting as many as two million Americans and one in fifty adolescents. More than that, it revealed self-mutilation as a comprehensible, treatable disorder, no longer to be evaded by the public and neglected by professionals. Using copious examples from his practice, Steven Levenkron traces the factors that predispose a personality to self-mutilation: genetics, family experience, childhood trauma, and parental behavior. Written for sufferers, parents, friends, and therapists, Cutting explains why the disorder manifests in self-harming behaviors and describes how patients can be helped.

Fiction Books on Self-Harm

It can help as a parent to read a fiction book on self harm to have a better understanding of the thought process of your teen and the lengths they go through to keep their secret. See other book suggestions farther down under the Teens & Children section of this page.

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

By Ellen Bass

An inspiring, comprehensive guide that offers hope and a map of the healing journey to every woman who was sexually abused as a child—and to those who care about her. Although the effects of child sexual abuse are long-term and severe, healing is possible. Weaving together personal experience with professional knowledge, the authors provide clear explanations, practical suggestions, and support throughout the healing process. Contemporary research on trauma and the brain. An overview of powerful new healing tools such as imagery, meditation, and body-centered practices.

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

By Dana Boyd

Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens’ use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying.

The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Seducing America

By Drew Pinsky & S. Mark Young

In the last decade, the face of entertainment has changed radically—and dangerously, as addiction specialist and entertainment expert argue in this eye-opening book. The soap opera of celebrity behavior we all consume on a daily basis—stories of stars treating rehab like vacation, brazen displays of abusive and self-destructive “diva” antics on TV, shocking sexual imagery in prime time and online, and a constant parade of stars crashing and burning—attracts a huge and hungry audience. As Pinsky and Young show in The Mirror Effect, however, such behavior actually points to a wide-ranging psychological dysfunction among celebrities that may be spreading to the culture at large: the condition known as narcissism.

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

By Michele Borba

A book to help parents cultivate empathy in children, from birth to young adulthood—and explains why developing a healthy sense of empathy is a key predictor of which kids will thrive and succeed in the future. Teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. Why is a lack of empathy—which goes hand-in-hand with the self-absorption epidemic so dangerous? First, it hurts kids’ academic performance and leads to bullying behaviors. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, a lack of empathy hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate, and problem-solve—all must-have skills for the global economy. Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. Readers will learn:

  • Why discipline approaches like spanking, yelling, and even time-out can squelch empathy
  • How lavish praise inflates kids’ egos and keeps them locked in “selfie” mode
  • Why reading makes kids smarter and kinder
  • How to help kids be Upstanders—not bystanders—in the face of bullying
  • Why self-control is a better predictor of wealth, health, and happiness than grades or IQ
  • Why the right mix of structured extracurricular activities and free play is key for teaching collaboration
  • How to ignite a Kindness Revolution in your kids and community

Teenage Brains

By David Dobbs, National Geographic
Moody. Impulsive. Maddening. Why do teenagers act the way they do? Viewed through the eyes of evolution, their most exasperating traits may be the key to success as adults.

The Female Brain

By Louann Brizendine

Why are women more verbal than men? Why do women remember details of fights that men can’t remember at all? Why do women tend to form deeper bonds with their female friends than men do with their male counterparts? These and other questions have stumped both sexes throughout the ages. The latest findings show how the unique structure of the female brain determines how women think, what they value, how they communicate, and who they love.

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain

By Daniel J. Siegel

Between the ages of 12 and 24, the brain changes in important, and oftentimes maddening, ways. It’s no wonder that many parents approach their child’s adolescence with fear and trepidation. If parents and teens can work together to form a deeper understanding of the brain science behind all the tumult, they will be able to turn conflict into connection and form a deeper understanding of one another.

Siegel illuminates how brain development impacts teenagers’ behavior and relationships. Drawing on important new research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology, he explores exciting ways in which understanding how the teenage brain functions can help 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.

Unchanged Mind: The Problem of Immaturity in Adolescence

by John A. McKinnon MD
An Unchanged Mind is the discovery of the essence of this problem—disrupted maturation and resulting immaturity. The book explains the problem carefully, with a brief review of normal development and an examination of the delays today’s teenagers are suffering: the causes of those delays and how they produce a flawed approach to living. There is a solution.

Not by Chance: How Parents Boost Their Teen's Success In and After Treatment

By Tim Thayne

Your struggling teenager is going to a residential or wilderness treatment program. Their addictions, learning disabilities, or emotional/behavioral issues have brought you to a moment of decision. Heartsick, anxious, and exhausted, questions bounce endlessly around your mind, “Will this work? Was this really necessary? Will she ever forgive me? Can we handle him at home when the time comes?”

As an owner/therapist of wilderness and residential programs, Thayne was frustrated when young people made monumental progress, only to return home where things quickly unraveled. His mission became to vastly improve long-term success by crafting and proving a model to coach parents on their power to lead out through full engagement during treatment and management of the transition home.

The Road Home: A Guide for Parents with Teens or Young Adults Returning from Treatment

By Ruben Jimenez

Written for parents describing the unique challenges you are likely to face when your teenager or young adult comes home from therapeutic treatment. Using a wealth of examples, sample dialogues, worksheets, and insights gleaned from real families’ experiences, The Road Home illustrates how to manage the scenarios you can expect to face in the weeks and months ahead—or that you may already be facing—and how to avoid the most common pitfalls awaiting you and your child after treatment.

Whether your child is returning from a wilderness therapy program, a therapeutic boarding school, or a drug and alcohol treatment center, you will be empowered to: Practice key communication skills and strategies for ensuring a successful transition home. Reduce your fear and anxiety by forming realistic expectations and setting appropriate boundaries. Confidently approach specific situations that parents today face, including those involving drug and


Parent Handbook: childhood and teen depression

By Erika’s Lighthouse

How to get help for your child or teen. Things you might want to know about depression and treatment. Ideas for good mental health. This is a parent to parent guide and contains ideas that we have found helpful – ideas that we hope will be of some help to you as you deal with this difficult time in your family’s life. Section One is the practical guide and includes suggestions on what to do and how to do it. Section Two is a primer and includes the things you might want to know about depression, mental health care professionals and potential treatments.

Pittsburgh researchers may have found 'cure' for some untreatable depression

By Sean D. Hamill / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ben Finder remembers when the depression first hit him. It was three years ago when he was 13, a happy and energetic eighth-grader in Obama Middle School in Pittsburgh. “The first sign, I noticed that every few days I’d get this feeling that came over me of nothingness,” Ben recalled this past week. “It’s kind of hard to describe, but I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time.” He did not tell his parents until a few months later, when the feelings of nothingness grew to include thoughts of committing suicide. Those thoughts became overwhelming. The illness would consume his and his parents’ lives over the next year as doctors had Ben try different drugs, different therapies, with several stays in mental health hospitals, all in a search for help that seemed increasingly unlikely to come.

Why Borderline Personality Disorder Is Misdiagnosed

By Alan E. Fruzzetti, Ph.D.

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is difficult for many reasons, including unstable relationships, emotional reactivity and dysregulation, impulsivity, and other challenging features. But what makes the condition even harder is that many people who live with Borderline Personality Disorder don’t even know they have it.

‘13 Reasons Why’ Through the Lens of A Clinical Psychologist

By Amy E. Ellis, Ph.D.

The show can be a catalyst to help adolescents struggling with depression and suicide. “13 Reasons Why”, a Netflix-original drama that boasts Selena Gomez as one of the executive producers, is a series that focuses on Hannah, a young high school girl who has recently committed suicide. She leaves behind carefully orchestrated narratives on cassette tapes in which she names individuals whom she alleges all had a role in her death. The show, and the book on which it is based, is a stunning demonstration of the raw emotion that ensues from bullying and rumors, rejection and isolation, and the everyday stressors and tribulations of adolescence. Some argue that the show glorifies suicide — and in fact, shows a very real and jarring suicide scene — potentially glorifying life after death. Continue reading…

Stop chasing the drug! Focus on ACE's

By Jane Stevens

He says: Addiction shouldn’t be called “addiction”. It should be called “ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking”. He says: Ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking (what traditionalists call addiction) is a normal response to the adversity experienced in childhood, just like bleeding is a normal response to being stabbed. Continue reading…

Girls Daring Greatly

By Sabrina Marie Hadeed

When discussing the idea of girls in the wilderness, the topic of vulnerability comes up often. Typically it is in the context of how girls are vulnerable in fragile ways that we should protect or shelter. However, having been a teenage girl myself, and now having worked as an adolescent WildernessGirlsmental health therapist for nine years, I can confidently say that vulnerability among girls in the wilderness has more to do with courage and resilience than anything else.  [A great article about girls in wilderness programs.]

Going Wild

By Bethany Bray

In a matter of months, 16-year-old “David” had gone from being a successful student to spending 12 or more hours per day playing video games. He also stopped communicating with his family. His parents, with whom David had previously been affectionate and close, were afraid he was shutting down. Diagnosed with depression, David saw four different mental health professionals without making much progress. What finally reached David was wilderness therapy.

Mental Health In Schools: A Hidden Crisis Affecting Millions Of Students

By Meg Anderson & Kavitha Cardoza
Part One – NPR Ed series on mental health in schools.

You might call it a silent epidemic.
Up to one in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year. So in a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse. And yet most children — nearly 80 percent — who need mental health services won’t get them.


Staying Connected While Your Child Is Away at Wilderness Camp

By Meghan Vivo

Wilderness programs teach teens the skills that provide a foundation for healthy family relationships. But long-term change requires the support and involvement of the entire family, long after camp has ended. The skills teens learn in the wilderness must be practiced, reinforced, and tested in real-life situations at home. A quality wilderness program won’t make families do all of this work on their own…

Why College Dating Is So Messed Up?

By Charlotte Lieberman, Cosmopolitan
The culture of campus dating is broken…or at least broken-ish. And I think it’s because we are a generation frightened of letting ourselves be emotionally vulnerable, addicted to communicating by text, and as a result, neglecting to treat each other with respect. So, how do we fix it?

Ivy League Addiction

By Charlotte Lieberman, Cosmopolitan, Sept. 2016
Harvard undergrad, Charlotte, never really needed Adderall but that didn’t stop her from taking it. Should we really be so casual about the go-to study drug? READ MORE >

The Coddling of the American Mind

By Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic

In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.

Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. According to the most-basic tenets of psychology, helping people with anxiety disorders avoid the things they fear is misguided.

Four Steps to Choosing a College Major

By Nathan Gebhard, NY Times

What will you be doing on this date 20 years from now? No, really. Try to answer that. Given what you know about your ever-changing self, and factoring in the breakneck pace of societal change, can you accurately predict what the future world around you will look like and what role you’ll play in it?

Grave warnings from parents, advisers and the news media suggest that whatever major you choose will dictate where you end up. Suddenly, you’re not just choosing a major, you’re choosing your ultimate fate.

The Real Skinny on Freshman Year

By Michelle Slatalla, NY Times

This article is for college freshmen. If you are not a freshman, kindly read something else.

First off, congratulations on getting into school. As the mother of three people who went to college, allow me to say: way to go. You’re about to experience the best four, five, six or whatever years of your life.

But you’ve heard that already. And let it be the last piece of conventional wisdom you take to heart. The stuff you’ve been told all summer about freshman year is well intentioned, to be sure. But there’s a huge amount of misinformation and disinformation out there. I’ve compiled a list.

Advice for New Students From Those Who Know (Older Students)

By NY Times

New supplies, new clothes, new start. Freshman year is a chance to redefine yourself, to challenge assumptions, to lay the foundation for the rest of your life. Gee whiz, you say, I’m just 18! So we asked for help, from those who have been there, done that. Below are words of wisdom from 25 upperclassmen and recent grads. See the comments section for additional reader submissions.

#1 Be Yourself… Don’t compare yourself to other students. It is easy to feel lost, especially when it comes to academics. Remember that everyone has unique talents, and you have four years to cultivate yours. #2 Some of you may face a difficult time during college. Whether it be failing where you’ve previously only succeeded or facing a family health crisis, know you are not alone and that the road to graduation does not have to be a constant path. It is far better to take the time you need than to push yourself to the edge of unraveling…

Why Did a Popular, Smart, Athletic College Freshman Kill Herself?


Madison Holleran was a girls varsity soccer and track star, a 4.1 GPA student in high school and a popular girl with a lot of friends and a supportive family. In August 2013 she began her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, eager to run track.

Suicide on Campus and the Pressure of Perfection

By Julie Scelfo, NY Times

Kathryn DeWitt conquered high school like a gold-medal decathlete. She ran track, represented her school at a statewide girls’ leadership program and took eight Advanced Placement tests, including one for which she independently prepared, forgoing the class. Expectations were high.

Are Kids' Sports Too Competitive?

By Carol Mithers, Parenting

How kids’ athletics have gotten too serious – and what parents can do to help. When my daughter began playing recreational soccer at age 8, scouts for more competitive private clubs showed up regularly at the weekend games. By the season’s end, one scout had actually “signed” the team’s star player – a far more serious soccer experience that involved twice-weekly practices, a 14-game season at venues up to 50 miles away, and weekend tournaments of four or five games each. The girls on the team were also required to sign a commitment barring them from playing other sports that would get in the way.

Unfriended; letter from mom to daughter

By Amanda Waggener
Dear Teenage Daughter Of Mine, I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’ve decided that we can’t be friends. It’s not me. It’s you. You hel p me understand why some animals eat their young.

Affirmative Consent: Are Students Really Asking?

By Sandy Keenan, NY Times

Tyler Frahme, a University at Albany junior, had never even heard of affirmative consent, the unequivocal O.K. to sex that is mandated by state law. Nor was he in the habit of asking women for permission to proceed at every new juncture of sexual activity. I asked a test question: Can a really drunk person give consent? “My answer to that is no,” he said. He was right. “Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated.”

The Struggle with Struggling: Mental Health Awareness Month

By Allie Marie Smith
Haunted and heartbroken, I cried for an hour after reading Kate Fagan’s article “Split Image,” which revisits the life and death of Madison Holleran, a nineteen-year-old collegiate athlete who committed suicide. Her story was eerily similar to my own as an eighteen year old battling severe depression; I wanted to end my life. On the outside and on social media, Madison’s life looked near perfect.

A siblings' Guide to Psychosis

By Sharon Mulder, Elizabeth Lines
Information, ideas and resources. As part of a national project to raise awareness about first-episode psychosis and support the needs of families affected by the illness, the Canadian Mental Health Association has developed this sibling resource guide – a guide intended to provide information and support to teens and young adults who have a brother or sister experiencing psychosis.

Pittsburgh researchers may have found 'cure' for some untreatable depression

By Sean D. Hamill / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ben Finder remembers when the depression first hit him. It was three years ago when he was 13, a happy and energetic eighth-grader in Obama Middle School in Pittsburgh. “The first sign, I noticed that every few days I’d get this feeling that came over me of nothingness,” Ben recalled this past week. “It’s kind of hard to describe, but I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time.” He did not tell his parents until a few months later, when the feelings of nothingness grew to include thoughts of committing suicide. Those thoughts became overwhelming. The illness would consume his and his parents’ lives over the next year as doctors had Ben try different drugs, different therapies, with several stays in mental health hospitals, all in a search for help that seemed increasingly unlikely to come.

10 Social Apps Every Parent of a Teen Should Know

By Megan Maas
Here are some apps that are popular among kids and why they are potentially problematic for them…

Building Resilience in Children

By Healthy Children Magazine

It’s not possible to protect our children from the ups and downs of life. Raising resilient children, however, is possible and can provide them with the tools they need to respond to the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood and to navigate successfully in adulthood. Despite our best efforts, we cannot prevent adversity and daily stress; but we can learn to be more resilient by changing how we think about challenges and adversities. Seven “C”s of resilience… Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, Contribution, Coping, Control

Professional Parenting; Raising fully functioning adults

By Luis Moro
When people ask me; What do you do for a living? I always respond with “I’m a professional parent. The next question is What’s a professional parent? The technical definition by Professional Parent Associates is a person committed to raising fully functioning, self-determining adults.What’s that?

Books for Teens & Children

It's Kind of Funny Story

By Ned Vizzini

Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy. At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn’t brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping-until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

The Language of Goldfish

By Zibby Oneal

Carrie Stokes, age 13, is suffering a mental breakdown due to her fear of change. She is growing up without realizing it, or perhaps blatantly ignoring it, until it gets too hard for her to pretend that everything is the same as it was when she was a young girl. Carrie is a skilled artist and takes lessons with the art teacher at her school. Carrie’s parents do not show much support for Carrie’s passion for art; every time Carrie shows her parents an art piece, they seem unimpressed. Moira, Carrie’s older sister, is a constant reminder that she inevitably has to grow up. She has an anxiety disorder because she is worried about the social graces and rites of passage – such as going to school dances – that growing up entails.

A Corner Of The Universe

By Ann Martin

The summer Hattie turns 12, her predictable smalltown life is turned on end when her uncle Adam returns home for the first time in over ten years. Hattie has never met him, never known about him. He’s been institutionalized; his condition invovles schizophrenia and autism. Hattie, a shy girl who prefers the company of adults, takes immediately to her excitable uncle, even when the rest of the family — her parents and grandparents — have trouble dealing with his intense way of seeing the world. And Adam, too, sees that Hattie is special, that her quiet, shy ways are not a disability,

Thirteen Reasons Why

By Jay Asher

When Clay Jenson plays the cassette tapes he received in a mysterious package, he’s surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker. He’s one of 13 people who receive Hannah’s story, which details the circumstances that led to her suicide. Clay spends the rest of the day and long into the night listening to Hannah’s voice and going to the locations she wants him to visit. The text alternates, sometimes quickly, between Hannah’s voice (italicized) and Clay’s thoughts as he listens to her words, which illuminate betrayals and secrets that demonstrate the consequences of even small actions. Hannah, herself, is not free from guilt, her own inaction having played a part in an accidental auto death and a rape.


By Laurie Halse Anderson

“Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether.


By Laurie Halse Anderson

Story of a friendship frozen between life and death. Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss-her life-and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend’s memory and racked with guilt for not being able to help save her. In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all: hope.

Out of My Mind

By Sharon M Draper

Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow. Readers [ages 10-adult0 will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.


By Alex Gino

Be who you are. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

Gracefully Grayson

by Ami Polonsky
Grayson Sender has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body. The weight of this secret is crushing, but sharing it would mean facing ridicule, scorn, rejection, or worse. Despite the risks, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Will new strength from an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher’s wisdom be enough to help Grayson step into the spotlight she was born to inhabit?

Hold Still

by Nina LaCour

In the wake of her best friend Ingrid’s suicide, Caitlin is left alone, struggling to find hope and answers. When she finds the journal Ingrid left behind for her, she begins a journey of understanding and broadening her horizons that leads her to new friendships and first love. Nina LaCour brings the changing seasons of Caitlin’s first year without Ingrid to life with emotion, honesty, and captivating writing.

Beyond the Blues: A Workbook to Help Teens Overcome Depression

By Lisa Schab

Many people experience depression at one time or another in their lives, but during the adolescent years, the vast number of physical, emotional, and mental changes that occur make teens even more susceptible to feelings of confusion or sadness. However your depression originates, you must to learn to handle it so that you can manage the stresses of daily life. The activities in Beyond the Blues can help you cope with sad and difficult feelings, find new ways to make friends, and deal with conflicts. Little by little and on your own schedule, you can make small changes in your life that will lead you to a brighter, more enjoyable future. Since everyone is different and heals in slightly different ways, this book presents a wide variety of exercises.

More Workbooks…

Ophelia Speaks: Adolescent Girls Write About Their Search for Self

By Sara Shandler

At age sixteen, Sara Shandler read Mary Pipher’s Reviving Ophelia, the national bestseller that candidly explored the unique issues that challenge girls in their struggle toward womanhood. Moved by Pipher’s insight yet driven to hear the unfiltered voices of today’s adolescent girls, Shandler yearned to speak for herself, and to provide a forum for other Ophelias to do so as well. A poignant collection of original pieces selected from more than eighthundred contributions, Ophelia Speaks culls writings from the hearts of girls nationwide, of various races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Ranging in age from twelve to eighteen, the voices here offer a provocative and piercingly real view on issues public and private, from body image to boys, politics to parents, school to sex.

How to Deal: Real-World Tools for Surviving Your Teenage Years

By Jerry Weichman

Deal with it! How To Deal: Real-World Tools for Surviving Your Teenage Years gives teens the low down about coping with the unique challenges facing young adults and offers practical tools to help with peer pressure, academics, depression, anxiety, stress, friends and social drama, substance abuse, handling mistakes, and communication strategies to ensure a successful transition into adulthood.

Jerry Weichman, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who oversees The Weichman Clinic in Newport Beach, which matches quality specialists with children, teens and young adults.

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

By Jack Gantos

Joey Pigza’s got heart, he’s got a mom who loves him, and he’s got “dud meds,” which is what he calls the Ritalin pills that are supposed to even out his wild mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices. He learns the hard way that he shouldn’t stick his finger in the pencil sharpener, or swallow his house key, or run with scissors. Joey ends up bouncing around a lot – and eventually he bounces himself all the way downtown, into the district special-ed program, which could be the end of the line. As Joey knows, if he keeps making bad choices, he could just fall between the cracks for good. But he is determined not to let that happen.

It's Hard to be a Verb

By Julia Cook & Carrie Hartman

Louis is a verb! He has a lot of trouble focusing and he is always doing something, but the problem is usually it’s the wrong something. It’s hard to be a verb! My knees start itching, my toes start twitching, my skin gets jumpy, others get grumpy. When it comes to sitting still it’s just not my deal. Haven’t you heard… I am a verb! Louis mom teaches him how to focus by showing him a few hands on ideas that anyone can try.  It’s a neutral way to explain ADHD symptoms without having to put a label on someone.

When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry

By Molly Bang

Everybody gets angry sometimes. And for children, anger can be very upsetting. In this Caldecott-honor book, children will see what Sophie does when she gets angry. Parents, teachers, and children can talk about it. People do lots of different things when they get angry. What do you do?


By Trudy Ludwig

Jack’s friend Charlie seems to know how to get away with just about anything. Adults always back down when you say you’re sorry. But does an apology count if you don’t really mean it? Jack learns that the path to forgiveness isn’t always the easiest.

My Many Colored Days

By Dr. Seuss

The late Dr. Seuss saw his original text about feelings and moods as part of the “first book ever to be based on beautiful illustrations and sensational color.” The quest for an artist finally ended—after the manuscript languished for more than two decades—at the paint brushes of husband-and-wife team Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher whose stunning, expressive paintings reveal such striking images as a bright red horse kicking its heels, a cool and quiet green fish, a sad and lonely purple dinosaur, and an angrily howling black wolf. Using a spectrum of vibrant colors and a menagerie of animals, this unique book does for the range of human moods and emotions what Oh, the Places You’ll Go! does for the human life cycle. Here is a wonderful way for parents to talk with children about their feelings. With Johnson and Fancher’s atmospheric, large-scale paintings bursting off the pages, Dr. Seuss’s vision is brought to life.

My Secret Bully

By Trudy Ludwig

Here is the all-too-familiar story of Monica. She and Katie have been friends since kindergarten. Monica loves being around her when she’s nice. But there are times when Katie can be just plain mean. And Monica doesn’t understand why.

Monica is a target of relational aggression, emotional bullying among friends who will use name-calling and manipulation to humiliate and exclude. But with a little help from a supportive adult—her mother—Monica learns to cope and thrive by facing her fears and reclaiming power from her bully.

How Are You Peeling?

By Saxton Freymann

“Amused? Confused? Frustrated? Surprised? Try these feelings on for size.”

This is a book that asks all the right questions. And leaves you feeling great no matter what the answers are! Parents can use it to talk about different emotions or to help children to identify and articulate their mood of the moment.

Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears

By Emily Gravett

Little Mouse lists his fears—ablutophobia (fear of bathing), phagophobia (fear of being eaten)—and many others.
Spiders: Little Mouse is afraid of them (arachnophobia).
Shadows: Little Mouse is afraid of those (sciaphobia).

In fact, Little Mouse is afraid of everything. Join her as she faces her fears and records them in her journal – and discovers that even the biggest people are afraid of some things.

Just Kidding

By Trudy Ludwig

A rare look at emotional bullying among boys from the best-selling author of My Secret Bully.D.J.’s friend Vince has a habit of teasing D.J. and then saying, Just kidding!” as if it will make everything okay. It doesn’t, but D.J. is afraid that if he protests, his friends will think he can’t take a joke. With the help of his father, brother, and an understanding teacher, D.J. progresses from feeling helpless to taking positive action, undermining the power of two seemingly harmless words.

Trudy Ludwig takes another look at relational aggression, the use of relationships to manipulate and hurt others, this time from the boy’s point of view.

The Feelings Book

By Todd Parr

This book portrays children expressing all different moods, from “I feel very mad” and “I feel like reading books all day” to “I feel like wearing funny underwear.” Straightforward feelings (lonely, scared, brave) are interspersed with less conventional, but equally valid feelings (“Sometimes I feel like standing on my head”), encouraging children to identify and label their constantly shifting emotions.


Gruff The Grump

By Steve Smallman

Gruff is one great, big, scowly, growly grizzly grump of a bear. In fact, he’s so grumpy that all the forest animals call him Gruff the Grump. But Gruff doesn’t care. Plus, his grumpy reputation is perfect for keeping the other forest animals out of his way. Except, that is, for one disarmingly-earnest little rabbit, whose winning ways find in Gruff a big, kind friend.


By Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance to share all year round.

Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?

The Way I Feel

By Janan Cain

This book is filled with illustrations that help children ages 2 to 8 describe their emotions and understand that feelings are a normal part of life. It can be used at bedtime, when parents want to talk about what happened that day; in classrooms, when teachers want to talk about pride and disappointment; and with sick children who are suffering from fear and confusion as well as pain.

Videos, Webinars & Websites

Authentic Happiness - UPenn

The purpose of this website is to provide free resources where people can learn about Positive Psychology through readings, videos, research, opportunities, conferences, questionnaires with feedback and more. Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. View QUESTIONNAIRES >

Resilience Training for Educators Initiative: Should well-being be taught in schools? Penn Resiliency Program’s major goal is to increase students’ ability to handle day-to-day problems that are common during adolescence. PRP promotes optimism by teaching students to think more realistically and flexibly about the problems they encounter.

Dr. Jerry Weichman

Parenting teenagers is not easy in today’s world. As teens begin to define who they are, they commonly face the frustration inherent to being caught in time warp between being a child and an adult. In an attempt to demonstrate control over their own lives, adolescents may purposely do poorly in school, can develop eating disorders or other forms of self-harm, or rebel against parents, teachers and other authority figures involved in their lives.

My philosophy is that both teens and their parents need to be essentially armed with an educational Tool Belt of coping mechanisms, life interventions, and practical solutions for challenges they face now and in their future. With this knowledge, teens can be taught how to take control of their lives, elevate their mood, reduce depression and anxiety, foster intrinsic motivation, increase academic performance, and become more self-reliant rather than dependant on friends, family and others for their own emotional needs. Find tips & videos for both parents and teens on the website.

Because I love You [BILY]

Our program works for both parents and youth, offering support and guidance to improve communication, promote structure and cooperation in the home, and achieve our goal of family preservation. Resources on their website include… BILY 10 steps to success ~ Letters from parents ~ Parenting articles

Talking Heart to Heart

Cindy created this website to provide support for adoptive parents, like her, who are raising adopted teens or young adults. It is a safe place to ask questions, express feelings, provide information, celebrate successes, and learn from one another. There are also links to many articles and resources.

Willows In The Wind

Willows was created in 2007 by parents whose daughters had attended therapeutic programs. Recognizing a need for a safe meeting place where parents could come and share their most intimate concerns, a sustainable model was developed, offering free parent support groups, education, transition and after-care support, and resources for making informed personal decisions addressing the needs of the family. Find resources on their website.

Advocacy & Support

These are websites, groups and school-based clubs that are working to fight the stigma of mental health, provide support and resources.

    • We’re a group of passionate young people who’ve struggled with our mental health, and are back to chasing our dreams after finding  effective support and resources. We’re here to share our experiences with you, and help you stay strong.
    • SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
  • Stand Beautiful
    • Chloe is the voice of, an anti-bullying movement promoting the acceptance of self and others.

Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens

Anderson Cooper discusses what he learned from #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens on CNN covering topics… Revenge Porn, Cyber-Bullying and Phone-Obsessed Teens.

Unmasked [Palo Alto]

We are a team of about 10 high school students based in Palo Alto. We at DocX Films made Unmasked because we were frustrated and saddened by the clusters of teen suicides in our town. This film is an honest effort to bring the topic of suicide out of darkness so that we can open new paths of conversation and work together to find solutions to this tragedy. We hope that people will be inspired and given a message of hope, because we truly believe that if our community all puts our minds together, we can find a solution.

How to make stress your friend

Anderson Cooper discusses what he learned from #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens on CNN covering topics… Revenge Porn, Cyber-Bullying and Phone-Obsessed Teens.

You've Gotta Love Millennials

By Micah Tyler
This is the humor we sometimes need as parents when we are feeling overwhelmed… This video was a parody that opened a talk at a Conference encouraging people to see past the stereotypes and recognizing the unique potential that millennials have!

The Hunting Ground

The Hunting Ground is a documentary film about the incidence of sexual assault on college campuses in the United States and what its creators say is a failure of college administrations to deal with it adequately.

Educational Videos

TEEN DEPRESSION: STORIES OF HOPE & HEALTH… A depression education and mental health empowerment curriculum for teens.

REAL TEENAGERS TALKING ABOUT ADOLESCENT DEPRESSION… What does depression feel like? What can you do to help a friend who is struggling with depression?

KELSEY’S STORY: MESSAGE OF HOPE… Kelsey, her family and friends offer a 360 degree perspective of overcoming teen depression.

WHAT I WISH MY PARENTS KNEW… A video made entirely by teens for parents. This powerful video covers what teens wish their parents knew about depression and how to best support teens whether they struggle with depression or not.

Bring Change 2 Mind

Stories from our community… Learning about the experiences of others can help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and give those who are suffering the courage to seek help. Remember, you are not alone.

Let's Erase the Stigma

Taking back the narrative… Search through the brave individuals who choose to live boldly, and share their stories in hopes of changing conversations. Among these individuals, you’ll find: diagnoses, raw experiences, barriers to seeking help, common misconceptions, etc.

Live, Love, Laugh Foundation

Stories of recovery… Meet people who have to share their stories – real life experiences in overcoming mental health issues of various kinds. Listen to how they never gave up, watch their battles and victories and read about their success.

Bring Change 2 Mind

Stories from our community… Learning about the experiences of others can help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and give those who are suffering the courage to seek help. Remember, you are not alone.

Let's Erase the Stigma

Taking back the narrative… Search through the brave individuals who choose to live boldly, and share their stories in hopes of changing conversations. Among these individuals, you’ll find: diagnoses, raw experiences, barriers to seeking help, common misconceptions, etc.

Food For the Brain

Websites with information on how food can make a difference with your moods…

Supporting Someone with Depression

Articles to help you understand depression…

  • I am worried about a FRIEND, fact sheet >>
  • I am worried about MYSELF, fact sheet >>
  • Getting HELP in a CRISIS >>
  • ReachOut Videos >>
  • Friend2Friend >>
    Online, interactive experience. It prepares high schools students to support others by practicing a challenging conversation with a friend who may be suffering from psychological distress.


We invite you to SHARE YOUR BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS below in the comments section…

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