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Alain Braconnier

A Guide to Adolescence

What is adolescence? How should parents deal with it? How can they be supportive of their adolescent children?
This completely updated guide addresses these questions from various angles: psychology, health, sexuality, academics and daily life.
Adolescence is a time of change, when the personality is being constructed. It is a time of doubt, contradiction, questioning, protest; a time of strained parent-child relations, when parents are often at a loss, ignoring what to do, how to do it, or what to say. In addition, adolescent crises today are often more severe than those of past generations.
The information provided here on the specific problems of adolescence today, and on how to cope with its various stages, will help parents overcome their own feelings of disarray, while enabling them to establish a new basis for communication.
Since adolescence is such a vast category with widely differing age groups (an 11-year-old boy and a young woman of 19 have little in common), this book is presented in four distinct parts: 1. Questions teenagers ask, 2. The middle-school years, 3. The high-school years, 4. University.

Through numerous reflections and analyses, abundantly illustrated with examples, this book shows readers how to decode their children’s attitudes, learn to listen to them and strike the right balance between distance and involvement. For Braconnier, adolescence is a fascinating period inciting exchange: a period of hesitant searching and self-construction for the teenager and of self-questioning for the parents. It is also an exciting time when parents discover the developing personality of their child.
This completely revised edition of Alain Braconnier’s popular Guide de l’adolescence contains a new section of answers to the questions parents’ most frequently ask about adolescence and its different stages.


Alain Braconnier, a medical psychoanalyst, is the director of a mental health association in Paris. He specialises in adolescent issues and is the author of many books, including Petit ou grand anxieux and Mère et Fils.