The Things That Matter For Teens

I had a post with some of my favorite emotional intelligence books for 8-10 year olds on The Parenting Passageway IG not too long ago, and there was a question about resources for teens.  I think that’s tricky; many of the resources are either really babyish or really adult or honestly just try to be so hip any teen is just going to roll his or her eyes.  So one thing I have done lately is to just make a little list and plan to read through some articles as we put our own thing together.  This is my list; feel free to take it and adapt it for your teen.

Good Relationships:

  • Boundaries
  • Ways to Say No
  • Consent
  • When you judge others, you are judging yourself; acceptance as an essential ingredient in relationships
  • How to Apologize
  • Narcissist Gaslighting Checklist and other articles about narcissists

For Self:

  • Growth Mindset- Learning is a learned behavior
  • Recognizing Anxiety and What to Do About It
  • Recognizing Depression and What to Do About It
  • The Inner Critic and what to do about it
  • Common cognitive distortions
  • The Importance of Play and Rest
  • Being Present
  • The Importance of Wasting Time
  • Productivity Doesn’t Equal Self Worth
  • Self-care tips

Specific to Romantic Relationships/Marriage:

  • Things to Think about Before Marriage
  • Knowing yourself will help make the best relationship
  • Love Languages ( words of affirmation is most common love language)
  • Generosity
  • Should Your Spouse Be Your Best Friend?  ( do we expect too much from our spouses?  the importance of friends and couple friends)
  • Fighting fair
  • From bickering to listening
  • Turning Toward Instead of Away
  • The Good Enough Relationship


  • Power of Gratitude
  • Teaching self-care to kids  through rhythm, sleep, rest, playing outside, nutrition, hydration, connection
  • The more we hug our kids, the more their brains develop
  • Post partum depression; new dads can get depressed as well
  • Benefits of raising children near family
  • Reflective listening skills and how not to use empathy and listening for self-serving purposes
  • The family meal
  • No punishments and no rewards






13 thoughts on “The Things That Matter For Teens

  1. Thank you for this post – I’d love to read articles and references from you on these items in your list – all big issues.

    What is meant by “the Importance of Wasting Time”? Do you mean just having enough Down Time, or time to just dawdle along, with out the pressure to be doing something with a purpose or specific outcome>

    • hi Carol! Yes – both having enough down time, scheduling margins in the day to dawdle, time without purpose. All of the above.
      It would be a long list of links and books, but at some point I may try to put together. Many of these issues can be found in articles linked on the Gottman Institute facebook page or IG account – great place to start if you aren’t following them already.

  2. Thank you for this. Such an important aspect of development. I have a third , first , and 2.5 year old. I’m looking at your IG, and don’t see the post about books for 8-10 year old relating to emotional intelligence. Was it a blog post or am I just missing it on IG? If you happen to see it maybe you could tell me what the picture looks like when I’m scanning. Thank you for all you do and how you’ve enriched our lives by sharing your passion.

    • Hi Celeste! It was maybe five posts back from today’s post and has a host of books on a wooden floor. It will be right before the before and after pictures of our horse. Hope that helps!! Blessings and love, Carrie

    • Oh yep, there it is. Funny how I looked at just about every book post but that one for some reason. Thank you for getting back to me!! These look like great books as this 9 year change is upon us

  3. Hi Carrie,
    As a public school parent, I’m curious to know your thoughts on an issue I am having. Our school district, under the new SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) curriculum, is rolling out a new phase on human sexuality. The curriculum includes 5 learning modules a year starting in preK. I have seen some of the modules. The content covers family diversity/same sex marriage, transgender issues, and encourages preK/Kindergarten students to discuss their private parts and to use the terms penis and vulva instead of names like wee wee, etc. I’m just curious how early the curriculum you follow believe children should be educated on such subject matter. I’m really struggling here and leaning toward alternative/home schooling for my children. Also, how do you navagate math lessons? Any resources you recommend?
    Julie O’Leary

    • Hi Julie! That is hard for me to answer not having seen the curriculum materials myself, and in the end I don’t think my opinion matters too much. It seems like you are struggling with it, so I think you will have to look at this development within the context of your own belief system. ❤ Many countries in Europe do start training in human sexuality early (see example of Netherlands, which has been pretty well documented). I always think the question of human sexuality needs to come within the context of the family, and the beautiful spiritual relationships between human beings, the foundation of loving oneself and one's normal body, and values should be the foundation of any discussion. It is a lot of moving parts that deserve careful consideration and conversations that stretch over many years with many positive examples. In Waldorf Education, discussion of human sexuality is beautiful and comes in during seventh grade physiology. The books many of us use is Linda Knoodle's works: and also the book from Syrendell:

      For math, the resources would depend upon what grade you are teaching. I generally recommend Jamie York's Making Math Meaningful :
      and Math By
      I also like the work of Jo Boaler out of Stanford University- Mathematical Mindset is one book she wrote. Youcubed is a source of thinking in math in the way she describes.
      Hope all the helps; good luck in your decision making. Glad you are here! Blessings, Carrie

  4. One other question. Any resources on balancing career while homeschooling? I’m self employed and can make my own hours. And, last question. Do you involve your older children in teaching your younger children?

    • Hi Julie! I think the balance depends upon the ages and grades and how many children you will be homeschooling. I think it is possible to get most supervised work done in the morning and work in the afternoon, if that helps. And yes, older children can definitely help younger children with practicing the concepts you are teaching or supervising work. Blessings, Carrie

    • Both! All! I think facilitating these topics with teens, especially older teens, is always a guided discussion. Some of these topics may not be right for younger teens, but certainly those past the 15/16 change is appropriate. Blessings, Carrie

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