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Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781399800266

Price: £14.99

ON SALE: 8th December 2022

Genre: Health & Personal Development

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“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.


Fiona's advice for parents and their teenagers is clear, compassionate and so invaluable.
Victoria Derbyshire
From understanding your own reactions to your young person's behaviour, to taking on board why they do, say and believe what they fling at you - or conceal from you - this book can help you transform what might seem a minefield to a walk in the park. Real-life conversations, tips and strategies will give any parent the tools to have the conversations that matter.
Suzie Hayman
Stop what you are doing and read this book. All of it, bits of it, in one gulp or slowly in slurps. It might be the most important book you ever read as a parent. It is thoughtful, helpful, brave and wise and the testimony of all of the teenagers, whose experiences are included, is just priceless stuff. I thank Fiona for writing it, and I think you will too.
Fi Glover
This is the first book to guide parents through some emotionally charged conversations with their teens. A perfectly balanced mixture of research and lived experience to empower parents with a confidence to talk openly, honestly and with understanding. Whilst we always say parenthood doesn't come with a manual - this comes pretty close!
Kelly Thorpe, Head of Helpfline Services, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide
Talking the Tough Stuff with Teens is packed full of experiential quotes, some of which made me laugh out loud, and some of which almost reduced me to tears. What shines through are some common essential themes. Parents matter. Parents who listen are always more effective. Parents need to keep lines of communication open, especially when the going gets really tough. The second part of the book, which explores the most risky and potentially life threatening challenges teens face, is simply brilliant, introducing professional expertise and resources alongside hard-hitting real life case histories.
Jenny Langley, New Maudsley Carers
Every parent needs this book! It's packed full of sound and useful information, insightful suggestions and conversations which support parents giving them useful tips and a different perspective. Don't wait until your children are teenagers to read and be guided by it, and to be prepared.
Jane Smith, CEO Anorexia and Bulimia Care (TalkED) 2004-2020
Fiona has created a handbook that will empower any parent. Framed by her own parenting and professional experience and peppered with the voices of teens, parents and experts, the pages are filled with practical, actionable tips and templates for family conversations. If you've ever worried about how to talk to a teen about risks, choices and consequences, mental health, peer pressure and everything in between, this is definitely the book for you.
Dr Kathy Weston, Founder, Tooled Up Education