1) 10 Dos & Don'ts When You're The New Kid - A survival guide for teens starting at a new school by J. C. Tilton
Funny, honest, and direct, this guide is filled with advice and suggestions for being the new kid in high school. Teens can learn a lot from this useful and entertaining book. Perfect for the teen who is open to advice (though may not want to hear it only from parents!) and who prefers practical non-fiction to novels.
Often the greatest challenge of moving for teens is making friends. As parents, you want your kids to choose the right friends who will be a positive influence. Though designed for teen girls, this book is consistent with the classic Carnegie-style practical advice meets examples and real life stories that engages readers and makes for a memorable teacher. Topics covered include clear and positive communication as well as how to diffuse arguments and admit mistakes. This is one book that will not only benefit your teen daughter during the move as she makes friends, but also help her in the future as well.
No list of teen books dealing with life’s adolescent challenges is complete without mention of a Judy Blume book. Tony, the male protagonist, will speak to the struggles of many teens, no matter their gender. Tony’s family moves to a wealthy suburb. He struggles to make friends and adjust to this new world as he simultaneously deals with the challenges of everyday life as a teenager. Realistic and relevant, this story has stood the test of time and surely will for years to come. If your teen likes novels, he/she will enjoy relating to and learning from Tony’s experiences.
For the international relocator, this book is a well-written and humorous recollection of international moves, the challenges they bring, and the benefits of experiencing them. For cross cultural transitions, this book is filled with stories, adventures, and insights that your teen will enjoy (and perhaps come to relate to).
For teens who prefer to journal, this guided journal of prompts allows teens to process and reflect on their experience before, during, and after moving. Prompts focus on awareness, planning, appreciation, and initiative, reminding teens to pay attention to their feelings while guiding them to look outside themselves for how others in their family may be feeling and to concentrate on what is also going well in life, no matter how small. For parents who aren’t sure what to discuss or how to guide their teen, this journal does a nice job at providing a gentle roadmap.
Topic-based coverage that discusses subjects ranging from academic worries to drugs and alcohol, this book speaks to each area from the perspective of other teens, parents, and professionals who work with teens. Teens who like straight talk and who value others perspectives will appreciate the upfront and direct nature of this book, and parents will appreciate the book as a reference to challenges their teen may face.
Although this animated movie is about a pre-teen, the story and lessons are relevant and engaging for teens and adults as well. When 12 year old Riley moves with her family from Minnesota to San Francisco, she struggles with the transition. Her emotions (Joy, Fear, Disgust, Sadness, and Anger) take center stage as characters themselves, grappling with adjusting to the newness and discomfort that often accompanies a move. Heartfelt and honest, this story walks us through what often goes on in our heads during tough times, leading us to see that sadness has an important place in our emotional wellness. Viewers are lead to see that are times it is okay and even healthy to be sad and that this feeling doesn’t last forever. Even if a relocation isn’t on your near-term horizon, this movie is great to show your teens (and other children) to introduce the topic of emotional awareness and wellness.
This classic Tina Fey teen comedy introduces us to the story of what happens when a new girl gets swept up in wanting to be popular and loses touch with her true, genuine self. It’s funny (you’ll see old SNL case members featured throughout) while still driving home the lesson of how important it is to treat others with respect and to hold your friends accountable to doing so as well. Plus, it satirically presents “high school drama” to demonstrate the levity in many of those situations, which many teens will find empowering.
You likely have heard of the best-selling series Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. This teen version stays true to the original. It is a quick read and can be done in small, bite size chunks over many sittings, so it is easily digestible even for teens who may not like to sit and read for hours. With practical, real world advice, it provides teens the coping skills to handle the often anxiety-riddled situations that moving (and high school in general) bring to the forefront. Nothing in here is rocket science, but it all serves as a very strong, reassuring reminder that things are going to be okay.
Granted, Buffy has a lot more going on than just being the ‘new girl,’ but this TV series also demonstrates the value of surrounding yourself with a solid support network and being true to yourself versus seeking popularity. The styles may be distinctly late 90’s, but the drama is sure to still engage teens today. (Note, this series is for mature teens)