5 Books For Parents Of Preteens Seeking Validation From Others


5 Books For Parents Of Preteens Seeking Validation From OthersAs my daughter turns 10 in the next few weeks, I’ve seen a huge shift in her social needs. The transition to seek validation from us is shifting to outside the home and, to be honest, it’s scary. I don’t want her “caring what others think,” but the reality is that we all do on some level and I desperately want to teach her how to do it the right way. I want to handle the transition gracefully because the last thing I want to do is ruin our relationship after 10 years. 

Since I don’t have a great relationship with my mother and modeling my parenting after her is the last thing I want to do, I regularly consult books for parenting direction. I’ve read three out of the five books on this list and I have the other two on the rotation shortly, but I wanted to share the full list and maybe if one of you finishes the list before me, you can pass the cliff notes on to us. 

1. Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman

Wiseman’s book is a deep dive into the complex social hierarchies preteens and teens navigate, especially in school environments. It’s a guide for parents to understand the peer validation their children seek and offers strategies to support them through these social dynamics. Make sure you snag the updated version to see the info on social media and gender. 

2. Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour

Damour’s work focuses on the unique challenges faced by teenage girls. This book is particularly insightful for parents of preteen girls, helping to understand their journey towards seeking external validation and liberation from the parents and how to provide appropriate support. This was super helpful when I had teens in foster care living with us as well. 

3. Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson

Raising Cain addresses the emotional world of boys. Kindlon and Thompson shed light on how societal expectations affect boys and how they start to look for external validation. This book is essential for parents seeking to understand and support their son’s emotional needs. My son is seven and I’m very curious to see the difference in how the two genders make this transition.

4. The Middle School Mind: Growing Pains in Early Adolescent Brains by Richard M. Marshall and Sharon Neuman

Focusing on the cognitive and emotional development of middle schoolers, this book provides insights into the changes occurring in preteens’ brains. It also has tons of real-life stories that make you really see the points the authors are trying to make. 

5. Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager by Anthony E. Wolf

This is a funny and insightful perspective into a modern teenager’s mind. It’s a great read for parents who are trying to balance providing independence while maintaining a supportive role. 

Each of these books is unique and offers stories and practical advice to navigate the social transitions of preteen and early teen years. Some may be a bit older than the full-fledged social media world we currently live in, but they teach how the brain is working and ways to help in the general transitions, many suggestions which I have already used. For instance, my daughter homeschools with an online school and her entire class is via Zoom. I can see her mood shift as the afternoon comes and she doesn’t have a group of girls to connect to over lunch or such. So I’ve put her in a slew of extracurriculars in an attempt to help her find a regular clique. 

There are, of course, hundreds of other books that help with more aspects of preteens and teenagers and I’m thankful I live in a world of Amazon and the library where I can get the information I need in a relatively short amount of time. One thing I do know is that parenting is hard when you are doing it the right way. 

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Jessica Pope
Hello! I'm Jessica. I grew up in Northern Indiana where I joined the Navy right out of high school. After 3 deployments and some amazing port calls I married a fellow sailor and began a family. We moved around a few times in search of a forever city. After a few visits to the Chattanooga area we fell in love and set in motion our move to the highly recommended Signal Mountain. I am slowly chipping away at my marketing degree while working part time at a local marketing agency. I am also a huge portrait photography lover and have a small studio up here on Signal Mountain where I shoot luxury portrait for children and women. You can check out my work at www.venyaportrait.com. We have 2 kiddos, Jazzy(6) who's larger than life and Joseph(3) who is taking his sweet time growing up. We have always planned to adopt as well and are currently awaiting a match for a big sister in need of a loving home. I also volunteer as a court advocate for abused and neglected children in the area. It's a great program and you can check out more at https://www.tncasa.org/. You can find me binging true crime podcasts and dark drama shows late at night. I'm a serial hobbyist, I'll never turn down an iced coffee, I actually try hard not to cuss like a sailor and I love meeting different kinds of people.


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