untangled book coverReviewed by Alysia George

As the mother of three daughters (and a son, but that’s another story), navigating through the teen years is a frightening and daunting prospect. We are well into our second year (our eldest will be 15 in a few months), stumbling along to the best of our abilities. One of those What to Expect books I pored over when I was pregnant and when my children were very young would be incredibly helpful at this point. Something to warn me about what’s ahead, reassure me that I’m not crazy, and let me know when to be concerned. So much of parenting is just winging it, but there is a general developmental path that many teen girls can be expected to follow, and lucky for me and other floundering parents, Lisa Damour, Ph.D. has revealed that path in her book, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood.

Damour details each transitional period throughout the book, one per chapter. As I read, I began to recognize the transitions, both in my daughter and in memories of my own experience as an adolescent. Briefly, the seven transitions are as follows: Parting with Childhood, Joining a New Tribe, Harnessing Emotions, Contending with Adult Authority, Planning for the Future, Entering the Romantic World, and Caring for Herself.

While every girl has her own unique journey, l found that, as a parent, learning about these transitions and gaining a basic knowledge of how teen girls function, was truly a breath of fresh air, and gave me a sense of relief. I hope that as our daughters get older and each magke their way into adulthood, I can fall back on this book and be reminded that, for example, it’s perfectly normal for them to go through a phase of nonstop complaining, or that it is common for best friends to at times double as their worst enemies. Damour uses straight forward language and real world examples to make Untangled an invaluable tool for anyone who deals with teen girls – not only parents, but also grandparents, teachers, counselors or any other caregivers or mentors.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Ballantine Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.