Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood

by Lisa Damour Ph.D.


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An award-winning guide to the sometimes erratic and confusing behavior of teenage girls that explains what’s going on, prepares parents for what’s to come, and lets them know when it’s time to worry.
Look for Under Pressure, the companion guide to coping with stress and anxiety among girls, available now.

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.


“Finally, there’s some good news for puzzled parents of adolescent girls, and psychologist Lisa Damour is the bearer of that happy news. [Untangled] is the most down-to-earth, readable parenting book I’ve come across in a long time.”The Washington Post

“Anna Freud wrote in 1958, ‘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.’ In the intervening decades, the transition doesn’t appear to have gotten any easier which makes Untangled such a welcome new resource.”The Boston Globe

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553393071
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 13,439
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Lisa Damour, Ph.D., graduated with honors from Yale University, worked for the Yale Child Study Center, then received her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Michigan. She is the author of numerous academic papers and chapters related to education and child development. Dr. Damour directs Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, maintains a private psychotherapy practice, consults and speaks internationally, and is a faculty associate of the Schubert Center for Child Studies and a clinical instructor at Case Western Reserve University. She and her husband have two daughters and live in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

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Excerpted from "Untangled"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Lisa Damour.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

1 Parting with Childhood 3

The Cold Shoulder 8

Allergic to Questions 15

Surprisingly Mean 18

The Swimming Pool 21

Totally Competent, Except for When She's Not 24

Blooming, Reluctantly 27

Smoke Without Fire 33

Parting with Childhood: When to Worry 38

The Female Peter Pan 38

Rushing into Adulthood 41

2 Joining a New Tribe 46

The Pull of Popular 50

Tribal Warfare 55

Frenemies 58

If Your Tribe Jumped Off a Bridge 61

When Tribes Need Elders 65

Social (Media) Skills 70

Joining a New Tribe: When to Worry 74

Social Isolation 75

Being Bullied 76

Being a Bully 81

3 Harnessing Emotions 83

You: The Emotional Dumping Ground 87

I'm Upset, Now You're Upset 92

Befriending Distress 99

Catalytic Reactions 102

Coping by Posting 106

How to Become an Accidental Helicopter Parent 112

Harnessing Emotions: When to Worry 115

Recognizing Adolescent Mood and Anxiety Disorders 115

Self-Destructive Coping 118

4 Contending with Adult Authority 120

Seeing Behind the Curtain 121

The End of "Because I Said So" 124

Framing Danger 131

Rupture and Repair 135

Crazy Spots 142

Adults with Faults 146

Holding the Line 153

Contending with Adult Authority: When to Worry 158

Too Good to Be True 158

Constantly Contending 159

Adults Contending with Each Other 161

5 Planning for the Future 163

Impulses, Meet the Internet 165

The Road to the Future: Who Drives? 169

Making the Grade 174

Tense About Tests 180

Planning for Next Week 185

Dealing with Disappointment 190

Planning for the Future: When to Worry 194

All Plan and No Play 194

No Plan in Sight 196

6 Entering the Romantic World 200

A Dream Deferred 202

A Match Made in a Marketing Meeting 207

Offering Some Perspective 209

The Inner Compass 215

Dating for Credit 219

Being Gay: The Slur and the Reality 224

Entering the Romantic World: When to Worry 233

The Tributaries and the Lake 234

April-June Romances 236

7 Caring for Herself 238

Nodding Without Listening 239

Girls, Food, and Weight 241

Sleep vs. Technology 248

Getting Real About Drinking 251

Straight Talk About Drugs 261

Sex and Its Risks 268

Caring for Herself: When to Worry 274

Eating Disorders 274

Not Ready to Launch 275

Conclusion 279

Acknowledgments 281

Notes 283

Recommended Resources 307

Index 311

A Reader's Guide 327

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Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
LibMom More than 1 year ago
The description of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Dr. Lisa Damour caught my attention immediately since I do have a teenage daughter. I was not disappointed! In Untangled, Dr. Damour emphasizes that separation is a normal and vital part of adolescent development and the road to adulthood. However, how parents choose to deal with these issues is important to long-term relational health. Dr. Damour outlines what parents can expect as their daughters transverse their journey in seven chapters, or transitions, entitled Parting with Childhood, Joining a New Tribe, Harnessing Emotions, Contending with Adult Authority, Planning for the Future, Entering the Romantic World, and Caring for Herself. The content of each chapter deals with topics that are pertinent to teens as they age with the later chapters dealing with weightier issues. Although not quite yet to some of the later chapters, I frequently found myself nodding in agreement concerning situations we've experienced or thinking that's why this or that happens. While Dr. Damour is a highly qualified psychotherapist and brings with her research and insight from her practice at the Laurel School for Girls, reading Untangled feels like sitting down to talk with a good friend who journeyed farther down the path than you. As she is a parent herself as well as a practitioner, her writing and the ideas shared are intensely practical and have passed the "real life" test in addition to the ivory tower. I would caution that Untangled is from a secular viewpoint and thus shares about topics such as sex and substance abuse. I found Damour's approach fair and appropriate and found much that is applicable. This book is highly recommended for parents of pre-teen or tween girls as well as teenagers. Reading the book when your daughter is 10 or 11 is ideal so that you are prepared when those first transitions begin. If your daughter is past those first transitions, you still need to read Untangled to help accompany you along the remainder of your journey. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
JasonC1 More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. I am on page 60 and I have learned a number of methods to understand and improve my relationship with my teenage daughter. The book is well written, comprehensive, easy to understand, and has good examples. What I like best of all is that this book helps to relieve some of the stresses of parenthood by pointing out the normal behavior of your child and how to become more comfortable with their transition into adulthood.