Untangled Book Summary - Untangled Book explained in key points
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Untangled summary

Lisa Damour

Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood

4.4 (112 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Untangled by Lisa Damour is a must-read for parents of teenage girls. It explains the developmental changes that girls go through during adolescence and provides practical tips on how to support them.

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    It’s natural for teens to become more private and temperamental.

    It happens to the parents of all daughters. After years of happily spending time with them, their daughter suddenly seems to disappear into herself and her room, avoiding conversation and contact.

    This change in behavior can set off parental alarm bells, but there’s really no need to panic; it’s merely the first of the seven natural stages that every girl goes through when transitioning from childhood to womanhood.

    This first stage usually occurs around age eleven, and it’s characterized by the desire for privacy and isolation.

    But keep in mind that this isolation is both a conscious and unconscious act. While your teen is consciously seeking time alone, she’s also unconsciously preparing herself for the independence of adulthood.

    Transitioning into adulthood is sort of like learning to ride a bike: isolation at home is the training wheels, the learning period that precedes adult independence. So, rather than worrying, be glad that she is going through all of this in a safe environment.

    Now, it’s not uncommon for this behavior to be accompanied by temperamental outbursts. Daughters often say mean or cruel things to their parents – especially their mother. And these remarks will often be aimed at vulnerable areas, such as physical appearance or sartorial shortcomings.

    The best way to deal with this is to tell your teen that her comments hurt your feelings, and to let her know that she should be more mindful about what she says.

    But your daughter’s increased standoffishness doesn’t mean you can’t plan ways to stay in touch.

    If you’re worried about the weakening of the family bond, try establishing regular family times, whether it’s eating dinner at the table or even just sitting together to watch a movie.

    Studies show that regular family meals improve not only the psychological health of teenagers but also their grades at school. This is also true when only one parent is present – and even in situations where the teen expresses an overall dislike for her parents.

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    What is Untangled about?

    Untangled (2016) is a guide for mothers and fathers, for teachers and mentors – anyone who might be trying to better understand the life and struggles of teenage girls. It offers invaluable advice on how to recognize what they’re going through so you can avoid some common pitfalls and not make the situation worse.

    Untangled Review

    Untangled (2016) by Lisa Damour is a thought-provoking exploration of the challenges faced by teenage girls and provides parents with valuable insights. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its practical strategies and relatable stories, it equips parents with tools to navigate the complexities of their daughters' adolescence.
    • Damour's use of research and expertise in psychology adds depth to the book, making it a valuable resource for understanding teenage behavior.
    • The book's balance of empathy and guidance creates a supportive and informative reading experience, ensuring it is far from boring.

    Best quote from Untangled

    There are few situations in life which are more difficult to cope with than an adolescent son or daughter during the attempt to liberate themselves. – Anna Freud, 1958

    —Lisa Damour
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    Who should read Untangled?

    • Parents of teenage girls
    • Adults or teachers who regularly work with teenage girls
    • Students of psychology and sociology

    About the Author

    Lisa Damour is a clinical psychologist and director of the Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, as well as an associate at the Schubert Center for Child Studies. Her work focuses on helping both teenagers and their parents. She is the proud mother of two daughters.

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    Untangled FAQs 

    What is the main message of Untangled?

    Untangled helps parents understand and navigate the complex world of teenage girls.

    How long does it take to read Untangled?

    It takes several hours to read Untangled. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Untangled a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Untangled is a valuable read for parents seeking guidance on raising teenage daughters.

    Who is the author of Untangled?

    Lisa Damour is the author of Untangled.

    What to read after Untangled?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Untangled, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen by Michelle Icard
    • The Emotional Lives of Teenagers by Lisa Damour
    • Under Pressure by Lisa Damour
    • The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teenagers by Sean Covey
    • The Teenage Brain by Frances E. Jensen & Amy Ellis Nutt
    • Brainstorm by Daniel J. Siegel
    • Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein
    • Dear Girls by Ali Wong
    • The 8th Habit by Stephen R. Covey
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson