Surviving Your Child's Adolescence: How to Understand, and Even Enjoy, the Rocky Road to Independence
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More About This Title Surviving Your Child's Adolescence: How to Understand, and Even Enjoy, the Rocky Road to Independence


Expert suggestions for guiding your child through the rough teenage years

Does it sometimes seem like your teenager is trying to push you over the edge? Learn what your child is going through and what you can do to help your teen navigate this difficult period in this practical guide from psychologist and parenting expert Carl Pickhardt. In an easy-to-read style, Dr. Pickhardt describes a 4-stage model of adolescent growth to help parents anticipate common developmental changes in their daughter or son from late elementary school through the college age years.

  • Provides unique advice for dealing with arguing, chores, the messy room, homework, and many other issues
  • Offers best practices for teaching effective communication, constructive conflict, and responsible decision-making
  • Includes ideas for protecting kids against the dangers of the Internet, bullying, dating, sexual involvement, and substance use

An essential road map for parents looking to guide their children on the path to adulthood.


Carl Pickhardt, PhD, is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years in private counseling and lecturing practice in Austin, Texas. He is the author of fourteen parenting books and writes a weekly blog, Surviving (Your Child's) Adolescence, for Psychology Today. More information about Dr. Pickhardt may be found at


Acknowledgments ix

About the Author xi

Author's Note xiii

Introduction xv

Voices of Parents Past xix

1 Preparing for the Inevitable 1

2 A Road Map to Early and Mid-Adolescence 21

3 A Road Map to Late Adolescence and Trial Independence 49

4 Parenting Adolescent Sons and Daughters 83

5 The Complexities of Spoken Communication 105

6 The Use and Abuse of Confl ict 127

7 Discipline That Does and Doesn't Work 149

8 Informal and Formal Education 175

9 Problems with Peers 197

10 The Power of Parents 227

Epilogue: Climbing Fool’s Hill 249

Recommended Reading 253

Index 255


Psychologist, prolific parenting author (Boomerang Kids) and Psychology Today blogger Pickhardt focuses on helping parents understand the adolescent years, "the age of argument." Pickhardt identifies four adolescent stages, beginning with early and mid-adolescence, and then moving on to late adolescence and trial independence (which ends after the college years). With characteristic clarity and wisdom, Pickhardt walks parents through various ages and stages, explaining how to be supportive, empathetic and accessible while at the same time providing limits and boundaries. He concludes with "eight anchors for adolescent growth," including completing homework, cleaning up one's room, doing household chores, joining in family gatherings, community service, saving money, developing proficiency and relating to salient adults (a counterbalance to the overwhelming influence and "mixed blessing" of peers at this age). He also covers such familiar teen topics as sex, substance use, the Internet, dating, and effective communication. Pickhardt is adept at deconstructing the complexities of the parent/adolescent relationship, pointing out, for instance, that the mother/adolescent daughter relationship is often the most conflicted and intense due to the "double closeness" created by being attached by birth and sexually similar. This witty yet sensible guidebook to the adolescent years will help parents stay steady as their kids negotiate the rocky waters on their journey to independence. (Mar.) (Publishers Weekly, April 2013)