A practical guide to understanding teens, from bestselling author and youth advocate Josh Shipp.

Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child found that every kid who succeeds in the face of adversity has had at least one committed relationship with a supportive adult.

But Josh Shipp didn’t need Harvard to understand that.

Once an at-risk foster kid, he was facing down a bleak future that was likely to include prison or homelessness—until he met the grown-up who changed his life. Enter Rodney, the foster parent who refused to quit on Shipp and finally got him to believe in himself.

Now, in The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans, Shipp shows us how to be that sort of caring adult in a teenager’s life. Stressing the need for mutual respect, trust, and encouragement, he identifies three key mindsets crucial to understanding teens. He breaks down the distinct phases of teenage life, examining the challenges at each phase, and offers revelatory stories that take us deep inside the teen brain.

Shipp shares field-tested, game-changing strategies from top professionals and provides word-for-word scripts that troubleshoot over twenty common teen challenges, including:


When my teen messes up, how can I help them take ownership?


How do I get a teen to talk to me? They just grunt.


My teen blew it. My trust is gone. Where do we go from here?


Help! They are being harassed—online or face-to-face.

Difficult & Awkward Conversations

Drugs. Death. Sex. Oh my.


Written in Shipp’s playful but authoritative voice, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans lays out unflinchingly practical ways to make a difference in a teen’s life. As Shipp reminds us, raising a respectable adult comes down to investing in teens and giving them the boundaries, time, and support they need to thrive.

And that means every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.


  • Ellen Rakieten
    "This book is the training manual you never got. A must-have resource for parents, teachers, or anyone else who has to deal with teens."
    Ellen Rakieten
    — Ellen Rakieten, Emmy Award-Winning Producer of OPRAH
  • Jack Canfield
    "The success and impact of my work originates with teachers and other caring adults who invested in me during my formative teenage years. Josh Shipp’s book arms caring adults with the principles, insights, and inspiration they need to help teens they care about succeed."
    Jack Canfield
    — Jack Canfield, Co-creator of The Chicken Soup for the Soul® Series
  • Kimberly Allen, PhD
    "As both a Mom and professor, I found this parenting book to be a breath of fresh air. Josh skillfully combines heart, humor, and research-backed strategies to reclaim harmony with the teenage human in your life."
    Kimberly Allen, PhD
    — Kimberly Allen, PhD, Department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences at North Carolina State University
  • Dave Ramsey
    "Research keeps telling us that committed adults make a difference in the lives of teenagers. Now, Josh Shipp tells you how to be that adult. The Grown-up’s Guide to Teenage Humans is a must-have resource for anyone who has a heart for the next generation."
    Dave Ramsey
    — Dave Ramsey, Best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio show host
  • Julie Lythcott-Haims
    "This book provides a deep understanding of a teenager’s needs and a practical guide for nurturing optimal development. The advice Josh shares is evidence-based, no nonsense, and uncompromising in it’s practicality. These insights will teach us how we can be that one caring adult every teen needs."
    Julie Lythcott-Haims
    — Julie Lythcott-Haims, Author of New York Times bestseller "How to Raise an Adult"
  • Gene Beresin MD, MA
    "Teenagers pose unique challenges for parents, teachers and caregivers. This book is an essential read, providing a unique pathway to best understand, connect with and guide us in nurturing healthy, resilient teens."
    Gene Beresin MD, MA
    — Gene Beresin MD, MA, Executive Director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School​
  • Rosalind Wiseman
    "This is an invaluable guide to understanding, influencing, and genuinely helping the teenager in your life. Josh offers uncompromisingly practical tips to restore trust, build mutual respect, and expertly help them navigate adolescence successfully."
    Rosalind Wiseman
    — Rosalind Wiseman, New York Times best-selling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes and founder of Cultures of Dignity
  • Joseph Grenny
    "I’ve devoted my career to helping business leaders skillfully navigate situations where the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. Never is that more true than when you’re a parent. Josh’s data-backed insights give parents the words to say and the mindset to embody for this crucial window of influence with our own kids."
    Joseph Grenny
    — Joseph Grenny, Co-author of New York Times bestseller Crucial Conversations
  • Salome Thomas-EL
    "An essential guide to understanding and positively influencing adolescents. This book is equal parts inspiring and genuinely helpful for every parent, youth worker, educator, or anyone involved with teens in any capacity."
    Salome Thomas-EL
    — Salome Thomas-EL, Award-winning principal and author of The Immortality of Influence
  • Brad Montague
    "The world needs this book. Few have the insight or ability to share life changing words like Josh does. Here he provides a look at how we can all help shape the lives of the people most important to us. He does so in typical Josh Shipp fashion: with equal parts humor and heart."
    Brad Montague
    — Brad Montague, Creator of Kid President
  • Doyin Richards
    "As a Dad I appreciate how practical Josh’s insights are. This book provides effective and practical ways to handle even the most squirm-worthy moments of the teenage years."
    Doyin Richards
    — Doyin Richards, Fatherhood advocate and contributor to UPWORTHY and Parents Magazine
  • Dr. Deborah L Tillman
    "It has been said that children don’t come with a manual but after reading this book, teenagers do. Josh authentically and masterfully shares insights that will educate, empower and enlighten all parents to transform the lives of teenagers."
    Dr. Deborah L Tillman
    — Dr. Deborah L Tillman, Child Development and Parenting Educator