Talking to your teenager shouldn't be hard, but sometimes it's the most difficult thing in the world. Healthy, open, non-judgemental conversations with young people can be - literally - life-saving.
"They've always wanted me to be open and honest with them, I've spent years explaining stuff to them, and sometimes they still don't understand everything" - Milly, 16
"Your parents aren't actually hatching a plan to ruin your life..." Jim, 52
From minor matters (tidiness, homework, sleep) to big and important ones (relationships, mental ill health, drugs and alcohol), teenagers and their parents often struggle to talk to each other - and talking is key if your young person is facing new challenges as they leave childhood behind. A well-timed conversation, a listening ear, a non-judgemental and receptive attitude - all these can make an enormous and lasting impact on how safely and happily a teenager navigates this crucial stage of their development.
Oh, if only it were that easy.
It's not always easy to talk to your teenager, or for them to talk to you, but it is critical and may even be life-saving. This book draws extensively on hundreds of conversations that Fiona Spargo-Mabbs has conducted with young people and parents in focus groups and school and college workshops, to give a framework for tackling tough conversations about difficult things, without judgement or anger. It gives context and insight, based on the latest neuroscience findings on the teenage brain and, importantly, it gives hundreds of prompts and plenty of practical suggestions and strategies to make communication between parents and young people a two-way street that builds the foundations for a strong relationship with your adult child.
Covering everything from the small stuff, like curfews and screen time, to the tough stuff of sex, self-harm and suicide, this is a warm, compassionate and important book that draws on lived experience and the lives of young people as they are, not as we think they might, or should, be.