The Angst of Adolescence by Sara Villanueva , PhD

With The Angst of Adolescence, author Sara Villanueva takes pains to approach the issue of parenting a teen from a parent’s perspective – not as a sociologist/researcher/doctor. As such, the book is really about reassurances that what parents are going through is normal and to ‘stay calm and carry on” despite the drama.


The book breaks down as follows: 1) Understanding the massive changes occurring in your family; 2) Adolescent cognition; 3) Understanding parent-adolescent conflict; 4) Teens striking out on their own; 5) Talking to your teen about puberty and sex; 6) Understanding your teen’s social world; 7) Teen dating, romantic relationships; 8) Being aware of potential pitfalls; 9) Facing the fears and insecurities of being a parent of a teen; 10) Embracing the transition as your teen moves out.

Villanueva’s writing is very friendly and reassuring and this really is a book about guiding but not controlling the transitional teen years. A lot of the book is answering the usual questions and frustrations: the constant teen-parent arguments, teens not wanting to be with parents any more, romantic relationships, sex, alcohol, drugs, and easing the transition to college/moving out.

Although some study results are given, the author eschews the scientific side to focus fully on the emotional. The book reads very much like a conversation one could have with a knowledgeable Ph.D/Developmental Psychologist but without all the scientific jargon and rhetoric. In other words, talking over a long dinner, mom to mom/dad, about dealing with teens. At no time does the author talk down to either teens or parents and she discusses honestly her own teens and dealing with them and their maturation.

So although there isn’t as much science in here (and I know some parents really want the big picture of what’s going on), there is much more pathos in The Angst of Adolescence than I’ve read in any other book on the subject. At 250 pages, it’s a 1-2 hour read with an objective of reassuring and calming parents so they can accept that everything will be all right at the end with the right amount of love and guidance. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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