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Which parenting book about tweens is best?

Tweens are 9- to 12-year-old kids in middle school. They are leaving childhood, entering adolescence and experiencing the onset of puberty. Tweens are growing physically, emotionally and socially, and sometimes struggle with increased responsibilities. 

The tween years are when responsible parents begin to teach their children the life skills they will need as adults. If you are looking for a book that will help you cope with the changes your tween is experiencing, take a look at “How To Hug a Porcupine: Negotiating the Prickly Points of the Tween Years.”

What to know before you buy a parenting book about tweens

  • Authoritarian. Authoritarianism is the belief in strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom. Authoritarian parents dominate their children and believe rules are rules and must always be obeyed, no matter what. Authoritarian parents say things like “Do it or else” and “Because I said so.” In these households, punishment takes priority. One way tweens may channel their anger is by being hostile and aggressive outside the home.
  • Authoritative. Someone who is authoritative can be trusted to be accurate, reliable and dependable. Authoritative parents are confident and likely to be respected and obeyed. They believe in boundaries and consequences, but know there are exceptions to many rules and often good reasons for breaking rules. Authoritative parents encourage their kids to ask questions and understand the reasons that discipline is important. Children of authoritative parents learn how to be responsible and how to make good choices.
  • Permissive. Permissive parents have so few rules that kids go their own ways. When permissive parents do have rules, they never enforce them. Their threats are empty, so the kids don’t learn about establishing boundaries, following rules or dealing with consequences. Permissive parents say things like “What the heck, they’re just kids” and “Boys will be boys.” One outcome of this approach to parenting is that tweens struggle with school, because schools are places that enforce rules by administering consequences.
  • Uninvolved. Uninvolved parents are not connected with their kids. They rarely know where their kids are, who they’re with or what they’re doing. Most uninvolved parents don’t do so deliberately. The main reason for parents being uninvolved is that parents don’t know as much about child development and child rearing as they should. The consequence is that kids grow up rudderless.  

What to look for in a quality parenting book about tweens

While the approaches to effectively rearing a child vary widely, the basics are the same. Look for books that are strong on fundamentals. Here are two that every parenting book should cover:


Disciplining children is one of the toughest jobs parents have. Look for books that show parents how to teach discipline by setting expectations, establishing limits and boundaries and consequences for going beyond them. 


Look for books that show you how to: 

  • Recognize the best times, places and situations to start conversations. 
  • Keep kids interested and engaged in conversations with you. 
  • End conversations so your tween is left wanting more and looking forward to the next one. 

How much you can expect to spend on a parenting book about tweens

Parenting books for tweens start at $10 or so. For $10-$20, you will find books from well-regarded publishers and credentialed medical, social and behavioral experts. Above $20, you will find in-depth textbooks in child psychology.

Parenting book about tweens FAQ

If you already have a book on how to be a good parent, why do you need one for how to parent tweens?

A. A general guide to parenting would have sections for childhood, tween years and teenage years. Books that target tweens are able to go into much greater detail to help you guide your tween through these difficult years.

Should you choose a tween parenting book that reflects your child-rearing philosophy?

A. You will be more comfortable if you do, but you may be missing out on useful ways to help your tween through the puberty years. 

What’s the best parenting book about tweens to buy?

Top parenting book about tweens 

“How to Hug a Porcupine: Negotiating the Prickly Points of the Tween Years”

“How To Hug a Porcupine: Negotiating the Prickly Points of the Tween Years”

What you need to know: This parenting book is written to help parents cope with the changes their tweens are experiencing. 

What you’ll love: This book teaches parents what is happening to their tween, why it is happening and how to handle it. It also shows adults how to talk with tween children about sex, drugs and alcohol. The underlying theme is that criticism is to be avoided because it doesn’t change people in lasting ways since change must come from within.

What you should consider: Don’t get carried away or turned off by the book jacket’s promise to discover the secret that will help your tween to disregard peer pressure.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top parenting book about tweens for the money

“Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids Before They Start High School”

“Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have With Your Kids Before They Start High School”

What you need to know: This book teaches parents how to prepare their tweens for the physical, emotional and social changes of this phase of their lives. 

What you’ll love: This parenting book follows the BRIEF approach to parenting: Begin peacefully, Relate to your child, Interview to collect information, Echo what you hear, and give Feedback. 

What you should consider: This book benefits children of all ages and their parents, too.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

“Just Us Girls: A Shared Journal for Moms and Daughters”

“Just Us Girls: A Shared Journal for Moms and Daughters”

What you need to know: This parenting book is a journal that will help mothers and tween daughters connect in meaningful ways.

What you’ll love: The idea behind this parenting book for tweens is that mothers and daughters who write together and share together, grow together, too. Over the course of a year, mothers and daughters share their thoughts and feelings in a space that belongs to just the two of them. The left-hand page has prompts for moms, such as “At your age, I thought adulthood would be … . ” The opposing page has prompts for daughters, like, “This is what I like most about growing up.”

What you should consider: This is not an advice book per se, but a method for developing deeper communication and trust. It works even better if Mom reads a how-to book beforehand.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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