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Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  6,785 ratings  ·  1,096 reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Lisa Damour, Ph.D., director of the internationally renowned Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, pulls back the curtain on the teenage years and shows why your daughter’s erratic and confusing behavior is actually healthy, necessary, and natural. Untangled explains what’s going on, prepares parents for what’s to come, and lets them kno ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Ballantine Books (first published February 2nd 2016)
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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 ·  6,785 ratings  ·  1,096 reviews

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Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Such valuable, valuable help from a therapist whose life work centers around providing counsel and working with thousands of teen girls and their parents. This book really calmed me down and made me think, Oh, it's ok. Oh, it's normal. I'll list out what I want to remember. Warning: Very long.

*When they're complaining about something or dumping their emotions on you - just listen. They probably won't take any advice, but to be sure you can say
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My first reaction after reading this book was, "OMG MY KIDS ARE GETTING OLD ENOUGH FOR ME TO READ THIS BOOK" followed by 30 minutes of weeping.

But seriously, if the thought of teenagerhood daunts you, or if you, like us, have a girl who isn't a teen yet but has started acting in ways where the old methods have stopped working, this is really a terrific book. It's clear-eyed, calm, real. It doesn't sugarcoat the pressures and conflicts that come with raising a teen, but it also gives parents real
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
God help me, my oldest is about to be a teen.

Parenting today is rough. To be clear, I've only been a parent for 13 years and I'm not saying that parenting before the 2000s was easy. I'm certain every generation comes with its unique challenges, but lucky us, we have the internet to contend with and it is not pretty. Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high for teens as they have access (either directly or through their peers) to a world of horrific reality, worrying about terrorism, school
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am currently parenting a teen and have no idea what the fuck I'm doing. Thank goodness there are books out there like this one to help me muddle through. Great real world examples, thorough explanations, loads of empathy.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, wellness, parenting
In Untangled, Lisa Damour discusses seven transition phases that girls experience as they progress from childhood to adulthood. The phases are relatively self-explanatory. They are 1) parting with childhood, 2) joining a new tribe, 3) harnessing emotions, 4) contending with adult authority, 5) planning for the future, 6) entering the romantic world, and 7) caring for herself. These phases aren't necessarily experienced at specific ages in one specific order, but Damour's outline of them does off ...more
Melissa I
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone working with kids/teens of all ages
Recommended to Melissa by: Goodreads First Reads won TYVM
I haven't done any updates for this book because for my purposes, it wasn't one in which I had time to read from front to back. I needed and will continue to need to refer to the sections which for the needs of my girls and how I can help them as well as the three of us together. Fantastic book and one I'll refer to often even if it may be too late. I pray to God it's not and I cannot thank @Goodreads @RandomHouse #BallantineBooks and the author Lisa Damour for this gift. A genre/self help book ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
First Read: Man, that was immensely helpful. I will be referring to this insightful well-written book for the next seven years. I am grateful for its existence.

Second Read: Just as helpful the second time through. Even if you have an easy teenager, this book can help you parent even better! I loaned my hardcover out an acquaintance and eventually told her to keep it for reference. Her daughter read it first, handed the book to her mom and said, "This is a good book. You should read it." That's r
Joshua Buhs
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b12, how-to, reference
Pray for me: I'm the father of a 12 year old daughter.

This book is a helpful, though not groundbreaking, book meant to guide parents through the undeniable difficulties of raising girls into strong women at the beginning of the 21st century. Damour's approach is generally progressive, feminist, and self-reflective, realizing that a lot of the ways we socialize girls and teach them to be polite are also the ways we instill stereotypes. All useful fodder for thought. She brings in some brain scien
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of Untangled as a Goodreads giveaway.

This book is an invaluable and comprehensive resource for parents of preteen and teenage girls. Dr. Damour clearly defines the seven strands of adolescence and specifically tailors this book for raising girls. This is important because the rate of development is unique for girls and the issues that affect girls differ in many ways from those that affect their male counterparts. Dr. Damour offers deep insight into the teen female psyche. One
Steve Bauer
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was given to me by my wife to read as our girls transition into the teenage years. First let me start out with the positives. It is refreshing to read an author who actually engages in scholarly reading on a topic. And, likewise, it's nice to read an author who clearly has spent time with teenagers. And this experience and scholarship shows in a number of key areas: the prominence and prevalence of internet/media in the lives of our girls shapes them in ways previous generations never ...more
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Parents of Tween or Teenage Girls
Recommended to Sera by: Kiera's Mom
This book provides a comprehensive overview of 7 states of development in adolescent girls. I found the information to be valuable, and in each chapter, the author discusses what's normal and then ends with a "When You Should Worry" section. Although filled with much practical advice, I felt that the author to some extent was inconsistent in regard to her parenting approaches. Moreover, I felt that there was so much nuance in how to handle these matters that it appeared as if only a professional ...more
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I appreciated the real-life examples of what girls go through and how parents can handle the situations. Glad I read it!

The only parts I wasn't sure about were about drinking, sex and drugs. I'm not comfortable with the idea of letting my underage daughter "take the lead" about having sex and getting drunk/high even if she seems like she could handle it and uses protection and moderation. Does that make me a bad mom?

This is addressed in one paragraph about how it's OK to not tolerate this kind
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The highest praise I can give is that I bought this book. I had started reading it and had so many book darts in it that I knew I had to buy it. I highlighted practically every page. One of the best parenting books I've ever read.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, which clearly explains what our girls need to do in their teens in order to become independent and competent adults. Many of these things will aggravate, and this is as expected.

As a parent to adolescent girls, I'm always trying to walk the fine line between giving them room to test their boundaries, and not putting up with inappropriate behavior. Untangled gives great guidance to this balancing act, including "When to worry" sections at the end of each chapter. (Sadl
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I am reviewing an ARC from the publishers & Goodreads.

What I found most appealing about this book is the highly accessible and calm, conversational tone coupled with the ultra-realistic conflicts that growing teens need guidance navigating through. Furthermore, I applaud the author's pro-teenager stance where teens are not the enemy; teens are working their way towards adulthood and they need space to grow, the safety of enforced limits, and the grace and confidence that comes from self-awarene
joy ferguson
Re-read this which helped me not take regular teenage stuff personally.
Nadine Jones
My reading experience was very Meh. The information here is good, she deftly touches on quite a few topics that can be sensitive, and it is all in an easy to read, approachable style. It's just that I didn't really learn anything new to me.

I'm the mom of 15 yo and 12 yo daughters, so I'm definitely the target audience.
The last chapter ("Caring For Herself") was the most useful, so if you read this book and find yourself unimpressed, at least skip ahead and read the last chapter before you DNF.

First, I must state that it is thanks to NetGalley that I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I read the book, than gave it to my close friend who has a very difficult relationship with her daughter. Also I thought the book might help me advise her through this rough patch. I was not disappointed and I thought the author did a excellent job. She shows the "why" of your teenager behavior and understanding how her mind works at this age. I think this is an import ...more
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My friend recommended that I read this book. When I asked where to get a copy, she said, "You need to own it!" Thanks, Em. Filled with the newest brain research and stories from Damour's professional practice and experiences as a school psychologist and mom, this book offers practical suggestions on how to parent adolescent and teen girls in the way that fits their brain development.

My favorite advice is to frame conversations in terms of how to take care of themselves -- what to do with their
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book about the challenges of adolescence for girls and their families. It offers many suggestions for "untangling" yourself from the drama that is the teen years--how to not take your girl's behavior personally, how they, also, should not take our actions personally. I especially liked how, early on, Lisa basically says that if your child is not acting crazy, you should worry! Reading this book has helped me take a step back, breathe, and dig in for the long haul, while being able to separ ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I feel like this book is a fantastic overview of the behaviors and changes girls (and she explains a lot about boys) experience in adolescence. I loved it and would highly recommend it. I think she has a fresh understanding approach to teenagers and the conflict we as parents experience in raising them.

For those of a religious background, she does have a fairly liberal view of sexual activity and drug use but her approach to framing those conversations with our children in effective ways was pe
Dec 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I might be one of the few, but I really, really didn’t like this book. I feel like the summary is: teens are hard, teen girls are especially hard, they’re gonna do what they wanna do, so just ride the wave, don’t let them be too rude to you, and eventually it will pass. I just felt so hopeless while reading this book. Nothing about parenting connection, how much parents matter, how to engage at home. Just really made me sad.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a really practical and wise approach to parenting teens. They have to unhook from the family and parents have to let them unhook without pushing them or taking it personally. She gives a lot of great stories and advice. Really parenting advice in general--don't make it about you. Be firm and impose consequences but don't get your ego into it. Another great book is conscious parenting, which has been my go-to mantra--let them be and don't control their growth.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I got much more helpful parenting advice from the Love and Logic books. Also, if you want to read Untangled, I'd suggest the written version, and NOT the author-read CDs. Throughout the audio version, Lisa Damour repeatedly undermines herself and the strength of her message by laughing and smiling through statements that do not need to be softened.
Lydia Ortiz
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a resource I will come back to often. Well worth the time to read for anyone looking for a way to stay connected with their daughter as she grows and matures into adulthood.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first heard of this book on Modern Mrs. Darcy blog posts. 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 daugh
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every parent of girls should read this book. This is a well written, practical book about how to help your daughter navigate the waters of adolescence and become an adult. It made me realize that I was a normal teenager and that as a mom of 3 girls I don’t need to be terrified of their teen years.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books-read
This is one of the best parenting books I have read. I listened to the audio which was recorded by the author. She was a great reader and it was an easy listen. Now I plan to buy a copy of the book because I have a feeling I will be going back to this one as I have two tween daughters.

The book takes you through seven areas where girls grow and develop as they progress through adolescence. It had a very realistic, level headed view and advice. Some books are all doom and gloom with no realistic
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of helpful nuggets of wisdom. Thanks for the recommendation Cara.
Mandi Ehman
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book and the approach to addressing teen issues through the “7 normal developmental strands of teen girls”. It was practical, with a ton of great examples, and positive throughout, and I walked away with a greater appreciation for my older girls and the challenges and opportunities they’re facing in this stage.

The only section I didn’t wholeheartedly agree with was the one around sexuality and the conversations we should be having about that (unsurprising since this is a
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Lori Gottlieb is a bestselling writer, psychotherapist, and author of the weekly "Dear Therapist" advice column for The Atlantic. Her new...
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“You want your daughter to become a critical consumer of the media, so use what she's watching to help her build those skills. Swing by the couch or lean over her laptop and say, "I'm all for mindless entertainment, but you know that I'm not a big fan of shows that celebrate women for being sexy and stupid." Your daughter may roll her eyes, but do it anyway. Girls can listen and roll their eyes at the same time.” 6 likes
“Girls often aim their most severe meanness at their mothers—” 3 likes
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