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Parenting a Teen Who Has Intense Emotions
DBT Skills to Help Your Teen Navigate Emotional and Behavioral Challenges
Average: 4.3 (42 votes)
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Parenting a teen with intense emotions can be extremely difficult. This much-needed book will give you the tools needed to help your teen regulate his or her emotions. In addition, you'll learn the skills for managing your own reactions so you can survive these difficult years and help your teen thrive.

The teen years can be daunting for any parent. But if you are the parent of a teen who lashes out or engages in troubling behavior, you may be unsure of how to respond to your child in a compassionate, constructive way. In this important book, two renowned experts in teen mental health offer you evidence-based skills for dealing with your teen's out-of-control emotions using proven-effective dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

Helping your teen to effectively deal with their feelings now can have a lasting, positive impact on their future. After all, honing skills for emotion regulation will act as a foundation for your teen's overall mental health. This book will help your teen gain awareness of their emotions, and offers tools to help them choose how to respond to these emotions in effective ways.

If you're at your wit's end and are looking to end the drama while keeping yourself sane in the process, this book will be your guide. It is a must-read for any parent!

Publisher Reviews
  • “Harvey and Rathbone have struck a marvelous balance of compassionate understanding, clear and useful explanation, keen advice, and practical exercises in this valuable resource. Parents will find it a thoughtful companion to the challenging and important journey of raising their teens and young adults with emotional intensity.”
    Elizabeth Ahmann, ScD, RN, ACC, ADHD and executive functioning coach, and section editor of “Family Matters,” Pediatric Nursing
  • “Harvey and Rathbone write with a clear voice that is exceptionally instructive while never losing its caring and compassionate tone. Essential dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills and guiding philosophies are presented with depth and readability that emphasize mindful and effective parenting that extends into self-care and addressing the needs of siblings and extended family. Seamlessly integrating validation and practical skills and guidance, the authors light the pathways to parenting more emotionally and behaviorally balanced adolescents. This book is a superb addition to DBT and a must-read for parents with teens (and younger children) who struggle with emotions and behaviors, as well as for the therapists—DBT or otherwise—who help these families.”
    Lane Pederson, PsyD, LP, DBTC, international DBT trainer and author of Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • “This book is a must-read for any parent of a teen or young adult with intense emotions. The information discussed and recommendations presented are easy to follow, nonjudgmental, supportive, and effective. Readers will no longer feel that they are the only ones living in their current situations. I highly recommend it.”
    Jeanine A. Penzo, LICSW, coauthor of Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions, and mother of a young adult child with intense emotions and mental illness
  • “When your teen experiences emotions that lead to unhealthy and unsafe behaviors, it is a natural parent response to feel worried, fearful, and even angry. Often parents take their teen for help with a professional and feel unequipped to manage the emotional intensity at home. In Parenting a Teen Who Has Intense Emotions, Pat Harvey and Britt Rathbone offer a road map for responding effectively even in the midst of the most difficult-to-manage situations. They help parents understand the underpinnings of adolescent emotionality, describe thoughtful skills for parents to intervene and respond effectively while managing their own emotions, and offer approaches for coping with specific sets of problem behaviors. At a time when the focus for parents can feel all about their teen, Harvey and Rathbone teach parents ways to also take care of themselves and other family members. This book is a valuable and critical companion for parents in navigating the emotionally intense lives of their teenagers.”
    Julie Baron, LCSW-C, clinical social worker and coauthor of What Works with Teens
  • “Many teens and young adults struggle to find their way through lives filled with intense emotions. They often engage in frustrating or even scary behaviors as a way to cope. Parents are looking for a way to understand these emotions and behaviors, validation about what they are going through, and concrete parenting strategies they can try with their teens. This book will be a great source of comfort and hope to many of those parents, who are doing their very best to maintain a balanced and safe life for themselves and their families in the face of ongoing crisis.”
    Elizabeth Fessenden, MA, LMHC, director of dialectical behavior therapy services at The Bridge of Central Massachusetts, Inc.
  • “This book is a must-read for any parent of a teen or young adult who has intense emotions. Parents who feel emotionally battered because they’ve been told everything is their fault will feel tremendously relieved when they find out this is a myth that has been replaced with new scientific evidence. As readers regain their self-worth and a sense of their own importance, they’ll believe it’s okay to consider their own needs, too, because they must replenish themselves to keep on giving. This book belongs prominently on every parent’s bookshelf.”
    Randi Kreger, author of The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder, and coauthor of Stop Walking on Eggshells and two other books
  • “This book is immediately reassuring to parents of challenging teens and troubled young adults. It belongs in every pediatric office in the United States. The authors help parents have hope, get beyond their anger and fear, and use effective skills to deal with their child’s intense emotions. Practicing the skills will help parents transform their relationships and access their love for their children while assisting them in making wise decisions in response to difficult situations. We wish we’d had this reference by our side from the beginning, and it’s very helpful to us now with our young adults.”
    Eat, Study, Practice DBT Group, Maryland
  • “This book is for every parent who yearns for a better relationship with their teen and more effective strategies to help their struggling child. We interpreted our fourteen-year-old daughter’s severe emotionality as misbehavior and we locked horns repeatedly. The first time I used the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skill of validation and validated her distress, my daughter visibly calmed. We were able to communicate and problem solve in an entirely new way. The DBT skills have helped me be supportive, yet able to maintain effective boundaries and limits. The book offers explicit strategies for how to respond in frightening situations where you and your child are out of control. As a former teacher, I love the way the skills are laid out—simple, practical, and affirming, with familiar case studies and thoughtful pros and cons that help me think through my response. We parents are seeking to establish priorities and appropriate consequences in a world where our parental roles are not as clear as they once were. This book addresses complex conflicts with practical guidelines that will help you get past your anger to help your child and your family.”
    Susan O, MA, parent of a twenty-two-year-old
  • Parenting a Teen Who Has Intense Emotions is a wonderful resource for parents who want to make positive changes in their relationship with their kids. It offers sound advice and clear steps to put into action right away. The simple act of validating my son’s emotional state makes a big difference at those times when he is upset.”
    Kathryn Klvana, parent of a sixteen-year-old
  • “This book will help you slow down and be in the moment. It will help you find some peace where you once felt constant turmoil.”
    Lynn, parent of a young adult who has strong emotions
  • “I’m in a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) study group for parents, and we’ve read many books over the past three-plus years. This one is by far the most accessible guide to skills for parents of people with intense emotions. I found the chapter about siblings especially helpful, and I look forward to reading the whole book again and again as I continue to practice what I’m learning.”
    Cindy A., surrounded by people who have intense emotions, including a young adult child
    “This book provides powerful and critical concepts for parents and their children in distress. Through my study and practice of the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills described in this book, I developed a new and much improved way of communicating with my (now) young adult child that has transformed our relationship.”
    Stacey, parent of a young adult
    Parenting a Teen Who Has Intense Emotions is an empowering book for any parent of a teen or young adult who has emotional dysfunction. This indispensable book provides explanations, advice, tips, and solutions to similar challenges that I often face. I at once felt validated that I’m not alone and that there are other families with similar challenges. Learning that there are strategies that I can put to use to improve communication with my son gave me confidence, hope, and strength. Like any parent, I want my son to enjoy life and do the best he can. I bookmarked page after page of the different chapters and am certain I’ll return to this book often when I need a strategy to work through a crisis or a word of encouragement. Thanks to Britt Rathbone and Pat Harvey for caring about families and giving me the hope that I am not alone in this journey and I can make a difference in the life of my child.”

    “This book is clear, practical, informative, and accessible, and I wish I’d been able to read it a long time ago, before I had teens—and during the teen years. And it still applies to young adults!”

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