Teenagers’ lives are tough? You don’t say. And neither do they. Learn how to break the silence, and turn parent/teen alienation into communication.

Every teenager keeps secrets. And every parent worries that those secrets could lead to dangerous or risky behavior. In this clear-eyed guide to keeping pace, and peace, with teens today, authors Lippincott and Deutsch – one an educator, the other a psychologist, both parents – offer a deceptively simple plan to break down those barriers based on three clear rules: Teens need to stay safe, show respect, and keep in touch. The key? Keep the conversation going. How? By understanding that there are things in adolescent life that, like acne and attitude, are part of the landscape.

And now, the 2nd edition of this groundbreaking book features new research, conversations and parenting tips on how to deal with the latest teen risks and challenges, including stress, the internet and social “friendworking”.

Stay Safe
Show Respect, and
Keep in Touch

Easy to understand, difficult to reject, these 3 simple rules become the organizing principles for our conversations with our teens about a multitude of complex issues:

Drank too much? That’s not staying safe. Here’s what I’m most worried about…
Broke curfew? That’s not showing respect for family rules and values.
Secluding themselves in their rooms? How can we know you’re ok if you don’t keep in touch?

1. Their Brains Are To Blame. Tsunamis of new cell growth and other brain changes lead to the raw nerves and erratic reactions that confound us. Influencers such as anxiety and stress, hours online, alcohol and drugs, and lack of sleep all profoundly impact the adolescent brain.

2. Truth Is as Malleable as Their Friday Night Plans. Teens will lie. For them, prevarications simply offer a means to an end. The instigators include: privacy protection; consequence avoidance; and task avoidance.

3. Controlling Them Is Not the Point. The harder we try to hold onto and control them, the more fiercely they pull away. Rather than viewing control as something we do to our teenagers, we find ways to work – and talk - with them.

4. The Adolescent Mirror Distorts. What they see when they look in the mirror is not what we see. Understanding the origins and causes of their self-doubt and preoccupation with others’ opinions, helps us to view – and respond to - them in a different light.

5. Friends Don’t Matter As Much As We May Think. WE do more to deter bad decisions and promote good ones than anyone else, including friends!

6. When We Say No, They Hear Maybe. The more vague our opinions and expressed values, the easier we are to ignore. With so many conflicting images and influences vying for their attention, our voice needs to be clear, concise and truthful.

7. Taking Risks Gives Them Power. Teenagers take risks to test and probe myriad boundaries, from moral to behavioral to parental. In doing so, they discover the internal power they need to Stay Safe, Show Respect and Keep in Touch.

What People are Saying

”7 Things Your Teenager Won't Tell You provides valuable new insights into adolescent behavior based on contemporary brain and developmental research. The many sample dialogues between parents and adolescents make concrete the way in which the seven features of adolescent thinking are realized in language and behavior. Understanding adolescent behavior is essential to effective and supportive communication. This book provides not only the understanding, but also helpful examples of how to put that understanding into practice.”

David Elkind Professor
Child Development Department, Tufts University
Author of The Hurried Child, All Grown Up and No Place to Go, Ties that Stress, and Miseducation

“This book provides sound, concrete advice about how to communicate effectively with your teenager. It offers a wealth of examples to help guide parents who struggle to stay connected during this critical time in their children's lives. I highly recommend it.”

Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
and Judge Baker Children's Center
Author of Lay My Burden Down
and Black Genius and the American Experience

“Page turners are rare on the parenting book shelf, but Lippincott and Deutch have given us just that. Their insights, humor, and excellent judgment make this a must for parents looking for the roadmap through the adolescent minefield. It is worth every minute you spend with them.”

Kyle Pruett, M.D.
Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine
Author of Fatherneed

“Every teen poses a unique set of challenges to their poor unsuspecting parents but, thankfully, there are some commonalities to share. This book shares them with a goldmine of information, identifying the 7 hot buttons, capturing the spirit of the dialog, and offering concrete suggestions on how to deal.”

Robin Raskin
Former Editor in Chief of FamilyPC Magazine
Editor of FamilyCircle Raising Teens, special edition

Jenifer has spoken numerous times at Sidwell and has been a big hit! She is articulate, funny, authentic, weaves statistics into her presentation with ease and truly engages her audience. Our Parents Association Community Health Initiative (CHI) and our program at Sidwell has been very successful because of the support and expertise that Jenifer has so graciously provided.

Mary S.
Former Chair, CHI, Sidwell Friends School

Hi Jenifer, I really enjoyed your presentation, as did every single person I have talked to so far. Not only was your talk valuable, but your sense of humor was an added bonus! Thank you again for coming to GA! It was a pleasure to get to know you and I appreciate so much your wisdom and insights.

Virginia M.
Parent’s Association, Greenwich Academy

Dear Jenifer, Thank you for being a part of the 85th Annual Colorado PTA Convention. You were a significant part of the team that made the convention a success. It was truly my pleasure to work with you. Hope you are safely back home and that you enjoyed your brief visit to Colorado.

Marta M.
VP Convention, Colorado PTA

Jenifer, It was terrific to have the opportunity to bring you out to Concord-Carlisle High School. People loved hearing your practical "words of wisdom". One parent mentioned she was very appreciative that you told stories of your own children -- she felt (and I agree) it allowed people to feel at ease and open up more. Again, thank you so much for your great contribution to our community. The turn out was terrific! And people were excited with all you had to share with them.

Sally R.
Director, Center for Parents and Teachers

The response to your presentation this morning at Bedford has been really outstanding. My sense is that parents really came away with good strategies and language to use with their children. Very helpful. I couldn't believe the turnout. I think when people are still grabbing your sleeve to ask another question 1/2 hour after the presentation is over, that means you got them thinking.

Diana W.
PTA Co-Chair, Bedford Middle School, Wesport,CT

Bedford Middle School, Westport, CT
The Bullis School, Potomac, MD
Colorado PTA Annual Convention (keynote address), Denver, CO
Concord Carlisle High School, MA
Dalton Academy, NYC
Haverford High School, Haverford, PA
The Hill School, Pottstown, PA
The Key School, Severn, MD
Lake Ridge Academy, OH
Massachusetts PTA (state convention)
Middlesex School, Concord, MA

Millbrook Academy, Millbrook, NY
Noble & Greenough School, Dedham, MA
North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
The Park School, Baltimore, MD
PolyPrep Country Day School, Brooklyn, NY
Proctor Academy, Andover, NH
Roger Williams College, Providence, RI
Sidwell Friends School, Washington, DC
Staten Island Academy, Staten Island, NY
The Webb School, Pomona, CA
Wellesley Middle School, MA
Wilbraham & Monson School, Wilbraham, MA

About the Authors

Jenifer Marshall Lippincott has worked with adolescents and parents as a high school English teacher, a dean at a boarding school and a learning consultant. She has observed, counseled and researched teens extensively in a quest to understand their quirky, honest and unpredictable behaviors. She has translated her insights into two editions of the book, 7 Things Your Teen Won’t Tell You (And How to Talk About Them Anyway), Random House 2005, 2011 as well as delightfully humorous and provocative talks replete with stories and deceptively simple parenting tips.

Jenifer also moderates two webinar series for Campus Outreach Services (campusoutreachservices.com), which reach thousands of parents of 5-12 year olds and 13-18 year olds. Topics for these webinars range from alcohol awareness, resilience, and using technology to bullying and harassment and mental health.

Jenifer is the former co-founder and Executive Vice President of Kid-topia, a pioneering educational broadband channel for the PC and has over twenty years’ experience in the learning field, consulting with schools, businesses and the government in the areas of communications, parenting, diversity, strategic planning, and moral development. She holds a master’s degree in human development from Harvard University. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two adolescent daughters.

To contact Jenifer about speaking engagements, please email jmlippincott@gmail.com

Dr. Robin Deutsch is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, a senior consultant to the Children and the Law Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Director of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP).

She practices as a therapist, consultant, custody evaluator, mediator and parent coordinator. Dr. Deutsch lectures widely throughout North America and Europe on Parenting Coordination, parenting and child development, and complex issues related to family conflict, including parent alienation, attachment, abuse and neglect, and trauma. She has published extensively on issues related to attachment, alienation, co-parenting after divorce, high conflict divorce, parenting plans, and parenting coordination. She is the past president of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), former Chair of the American Psychological Association(APA) Ethics Committee.

In The Media

The authors have appeared on TV, radio and the web. They are often quoted in publications such as The New York Times, The New York Post, USA Today, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chicago Tribune, and The Miami Herald, as well as professional journals.

Webinar Series Parent Connect

Webinar Series Primary Parent Connect

Webinar Series Community Connect

Contact Jenifer About Speaking Engagements

For media or speaking inquiries, please send an email to


Follow Jenifer on Twitter (@7thingsyourteen).