Book Review: Untangled by Lisa Damour, Ph.D. #Nonfiction

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Full Title – Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour, Ph.D.

Publish Date: February 9, 2016

A girl’s journey away from childhood isn’t all about her relationship with her parents.” — Untangled

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

  • My thirteen-year-old rolls her eyes when I try to talk to her, and only does it more when I get angry with her about it. How should I respond?
  • Do I tell my teen daughter that I’m checking her phone?
  • My daughter suffers from test anxiety. What can I do to help her?
  • Where’s the line between healthy eating and having an eating disorder?
  • My teenage daughter wants to know why I’m against pot when it’s legal in some states. What should I say?
  • My daughter’s friend is cutting herself. Do I call the girl’s mother to let her know?

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

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I first heard of this book on a Modern Mrs. Darcy blog post called The most popular ebooks on the blog in 2018Modern Mrs. Darcy also did a review for this book, called The best book you’ve never heard of on navigating the tween and teen years

I bought the book within 5 minutes of reading these posts. I am in the throes of raising preteen and teen girls, and I’m trying to stay sane while navigating the waters of raising three girls.  To be honest, I am drowning.

This book is a LIFE CHANGER. It’s as good as therapy for me. I highlighted 77 passages within this book which is a personal record. I have a new outlook on parenting, on teen girls, and my approach to parenting my daughters.

It’s the most practical explanation of female adolescence for parents today. This book is a MUST READ for every parent with a tween or teenage girl. Dr. Damour works with teenage girls in her counseling practice and her outlook is reassuring and refreshing.

The book covers seven transitional stages that all girls go through and helps parents navigate these transitions with respect and love. Dr. Damour’s explanations of teen behavior really made sense to me. And her tips on how to respond to specific scenarios and dialogue is very helpful. I will be reading this book again and again, especially during tough times to remind myself of the bigger parenting picture.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Raising teenagers is not for the fragile, and that’s true even when everything is going just as it should.”

“There are few situations in life which are more difficult to cope with than an adolescent son or daughter during the attempt to liberate themselves.”

“Accept that girls part with childhood gradually and embrace opportunities to do things for her, with her, and to stand by to admire her when she’s doing more and more for herself.”

“Girls like to part with childhood on their own schedule.”

“Girls can listen and roll their eyes at the same time.”

“Teens aren’t addicted to social media. They’re addicted to each other.”

“Emotional input rings like a gong for teenagers and a chime for everyone else.”

“You will get into rough times with each other, what matters is how you get out of them.”

I laughed, I cried, and nodded so many times. It had so many amazing points and strategies that I wished my parents would’ve known about. Not only will you learn things about yourself but you will begin to understand the minds of young teens. Even though I went through this transition myself, it’s hard to put myself back into the mindset that I had all those years ago – the struggles, the trials, the tribulations and the feelings.

It offers many suggestions for how to not take your daughter’s behavior personally. I love how the author says that if your child is not acting crazy, you should worry! Reading this book has helped me to believe that I’M NOT CRAZY. It reminds me to take a step back and separate myself from the drama.

I found this book contained many useful, practical, real life insights and discussion points. This is the BEST parenting book about teen girls that I’ve read. I love the friendly and reassuring tone, the respect that she has for teen girls, and how she supports both parents and daughters.

Dr. Damour recently published a new book on February 12, 2019 called Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls. My review of that book is also on this blog.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 5 Stars

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