"Let's face it: Parents should come with an instruction booklet," Sarah O'Leary Burningham tells teens. "Without instructions how are you supposed to know what makes them tick and what buttons will totally set them off?" In How to Raise Your Parents: A Teen Girl's Survival Guide, Burningham reveals the most effective techniques for understanding adults, handling professional worriers (i.e. parents), maneuvering around them and coming out a winner in the independence game.
Inspired by her own power struggle with parents when she was 16, Burningham interviewed hundreds of teens and parents of teens, and she delivers straight-talk in a funny and fun-to-read format. Dishing out loads of advice on coping with typical teen stressors like curfew, grades, dating, driving and money, she doesn't shy away from tackling touchier subjects either—like body piercings, tattoos and sexual identity. "When your parents were teenagers," Burningham points out, "they used typewriters and kept a bottle of Wite-Out at their desks. Can you imagine life with no backspace, no spell-check, no Google?" Learning to soothe parental fear is essential for gaining the freedoms you want, she notes, so letting parents into your world a little can help. For instance, say you love being on MySpace and you're savvy about keeping personal details offline, but your parents are still skeptical (OK, freaking) about it—Burningham suggests letting them see your profile "and maybe even letting them see a blog entry or two" to calm their concerns. After all, worrying about you "is part of their job description," and that is one thing you won't be able to change.
Armed with How to Raise Your Parents, teens will have the inside track on effective strategies for communicating, negotiating and compromising their way to the freedoms and privileges they're after—skills that will come in handy whether they want their own cell phone, a new hair color or a set of car keys!