These Are the Best Self-help Books for Teenage Girls

"I Would, But My Damn Mind Won't Let Me" speaks to girls on their level

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Verywell Family / Amelia Manley

With the pressure of social media, complex friendship dynamics, and school and extracurricular commitments, teenagers have a ton on their plate. While professional counseling is always useful, sometimes teens want to try to work things out for themselves first, and self-help books can provide a path for them to do so.

Reviewed & Approved

"I Would, but My Damn Mind Won't Let Me" covers a variety of topics, including stress, doubt, frustration, unhappiness, the pressure of social media, and life as a teenager today. For a journal option, we recommend the "Wreck This Journal: Now in Color".

“Right now, we’re seeing girls who are struggling with eating disorders, depression, suicidality (thoughts, plans and attempts at suicide), social anxiety, and aggressive and destructive behavior, as well as body image, self-esteem, and relationship or friendship issues," Michael Roeske, PsyD, Executive Director of Newport Academy tells Verywell Family. “Self-help books and podcasts can be beneficial to help them discover new coping mechanisms and feel less alone in their struggles and thoughts." We carefully considered material, relatability, inspiration, and practical advice when reviewing products.

If you’re on the hunt for the best self-help books for teen girls, here are our top picks.

Best Overall

"I Would, but MY DAMN MIND Won't Let Me: A Guide for Teen Girls: How to Understand and Control Your Thoughts and Feelings"

I would, but MY DAMN MIND won't let me: A Guide for Teen Girls: How to Understand and Control Your Thoughts and Feelings

Source: Jacqui Letran

What do buyers say? 86% of 600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

"I Would, but My Damn Mind Won't Let Me" is our top pick because it covers a variety of topics, including stress, doubt, frustration, unhappiness, the pressure of social media, and life as a teenager today. The book is written to help teens create positive self-talk and coping skills, change negative beliefs, manage and control their responses and emotions, and improve self-esteem and confidence. Leveraging more than 20 years of experience working with teens and young adults, author Jacqui Letran also has a Master of Science in Nursing so you can truly trust the advice that she gives.

Price at time of publication: $22

Best Journal

"Wreck This Journal: Now in Color"

Wreck This Journal: Now in Color

Source: Keri Smith

More than just an average journal, this book uses a creative approach to allow teens to fill in guided prompts with writing, painting, color mixing, paper weaving, and so much more. We think your teen will appreciate that there really isn't a right or wrong way to fill out their journal—it's totally up to them. While many adults know about the benefits of journaling, Roeske says that they can be super helpful for teens too. “Journaling can be a great way to clarify and help describe emotions, and it helps process situations and relationships. In this sense, it can decrease stress and anxiety and contribute to overall mental wellness,” Roeske tells Verywell Family.

Price at time of publication: $16

What Experts Say

“In journaling, privacy is a big concern, and it is important that the teen has a safe space to store [their writing]," — Michael Roeske, PsyD, Executive Director, Newport Healthcare.

Best for Body Image

"The Body Image Book for Girls: Love Yourself and Grow Up Fearless"

The Body Image Book for Girls: Love yourself and Grow Up Fearless

Courtesy of Charlotte Markey

Body image is among the most common struggles that teen girls deal with today, and this book can help them navigate and overcome those feelings. Written for girls between 9 and 15 years old, "The Body Image Book for Girls: Love Yourself and Grow Up Fearless" aims to help them understand, accept, and appreciate their bodies.

Author Charlotte Markey, PhD., is a body image expert, professor of psychology, and director of the Health Sciences Center at Rutgers University-Camden. Throughout the book, Dr. Markey shares research and facts on mental health, self-care, toxic diet culture, social media, and more. Additionally, the book includes real-life questions and stories from girls who have struggled with body image as well as practices to help readers love and appreciate their bodies.

Price at time of publication: $15

Best for Self-Esteem

"Just as You Are: A Teen’s Guide to Self-Acceptance and Lasting Self-Esteem"

Just As You Are: A Teen’s Guide to Self-Acceptance and Lasting Self-Esteem

Source: Michelle Skeen

Another common struggle teen girls face is with their own self-esteem, and this book may help them cope with and overcome feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. Written by psychologist Michelle Skeen and her daughter, Kelly Skeen, this title encourages teens to become more self-aware, stop comparing themselves to others, and start practicing mindfulness and self-kindness.

Price at time of publication: $18

Best Workbook

"The Ultimate Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens"

The Ultimate Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens

Courtesy of Amazon

While self-help books are always great, sometimes self-study is even more helpful when it comes to boosting the way a teen feels about themselves. "The Ultimate Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens" consists of more than 50 different exercises, such as quizzes, journal prompts, checklists, and goal setting. These prompts guide teens toward build their self-esteem in a way that they will actually enjoy. Additionally, the book includes stories and questions from real people, as well as plenty of inspiration for teens to start loving who they are.

Price at time of publication: $16

Best for Relationship Building

"Social Skills for Teens: How to Build Self-Esteem, Confidence, and Become Your Best Self"

Social Skills for Teens: How to Build Self-Esteem, Confidence, and Become Your Best Self

Source: Discover Press

Relationships, regardless of the type, can be difficult for teenagers, especially if they struggle with social anxiety or other social issues. "Social Skills for Teens" asks readers to explore who they are as individuals and provides them with tools to build genuine relationships. Teens will learn how to be more confident, charming, and true to themselves so that they can more easily enter new social circles. While this is a book written for teens, we know that these skills will be useful well into adulthood.

Price at time of publication: $13

Best for Friendships

"The Teen Girl’s Survival Guide: 10 Tips for Making Friends, Avoiding Drama, and Coping with Social Stress"

The Teen Girl’s Survival Guide: Ten Tips for Making Friends, Avoiding Drama, and Coping with Social Stress

Source: Lucie Hemmen

For teen girls, friendships are among the most important and most difficult types of relationships to navigate. This book teaches them how to manage these relationships and offers 10 tips for developing strong, healthy, happy friendships with people who really care about them.

"The Teen Girl’s Survival Guide" will teach girls how to get a sense of who they are as individuals and as friends, how to love and accept themselves, and how to expand the quality and quantity of their friends and social connections. What really stands out to us is that this book is written by psychologist and teen expert Lucie Hemmen, PhD, who roots her advice in evidence-based cognitive behavior therapy.

Price at time of publication: $18

What Experts Say

“These tools have general limitations in that they are written for broad audiences and are not specific to a person’s issues. This is where professional therapy can be more beneficial, more targeted, and more successful," — Michael Roeske, PsyD, Executive Director, Newport Academy

Best for Habit Building

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens"

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens," a best-selling self-help book for young adults, is a guide to figuring out what you want out of life and how to start working toward achieving your goals and dreams. The book aims to help kids improve their self-esteem, build friendships, resist peer pressure, appreciate their families, and navigate social media and the pressures of the digital age.

Price at time of publication: $18

Best Inspirational

"Rising Troublemaker: A Fear-Fighter Manual for Teens"

Rising Troublemaker: A Fear-Fighter Manual for Teens

Source: Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Following up her New York Times best-selling novel "Professional Troublemaker," author Luvvie Ajayi Jones describes "Rising Troublemaker: A Fear-Fighter Manual for Teens" as a book she wishes she had as a teen. Instead of teaching teens to “fix” what is different about themselves, this book encourages them to embrace what makes them unique and “be too much” (and use it for good). It emboldens readers to be brave, to take up space, and to be their authentic selves in order to create a world that’s made for them.

Price at time of publication: $18

Final Verdict

The best self-help book for any teen will depend a lot on what they are dealing with as an individual. That being said, "I Would, but MY DAMN MIND Won't Let Me: A Guide for Teen Girls: How to Understand and Control Your Thoughts and Feelings" (view at Amazon) ranks highest on our list because it focuses on a variety of things teen girls are dealing with on a daily basis.

How We Selected the Best Self-Help Books for Teenage Girls

When creating this list of books, we considered our own life experiences as well as the insights of an expert in teen mental health, Michael Roeske, PsyD, Executive Director of Newport Academy. We researched the best-sellers and most highly reviewed books in the field, looking closely at each book’s topic, philosophy, and layout, as well as professional and user reviews.

What to Look For in Self-Help Books for Teenage Girls

Inspiration

Crossing over into the teen years can mean a surge of emotions and sharp mood swings, thanks to a spike in hormones like estrogen and progesterone. While this can be a challenging time for caregivers, it's also a great time to help your teen learn about managing their emotional health. Giving your teen an opportunity to release some of their built-up tension, frustration, or overall moodiness with a guided journal can help them navigate the rollercoaster that is puberty. If your teen isn't into journaling, reading inspiring anecdotes and helpful tips from professionals can let them feel heard and seen.

Practical Advice

We know that the last thing a teen wants to hear from their parent is advice. This is why books that offer practical tips that address issues your teenage girl faces can be very effective. Books that feature checklists and step-by-step plans can further empower teens by letting them see the tangible fruits of their efforts.

Relatability

No one is quicker to roll their eyes than a teenager. This doesn't mean they have a bad attitude (well, not always), but rather that they are most interested in reading material that connects to their lives and experiences. While we know that most teens are dealing with the same handful of challenges, actually being a teenager can feel quite isolating and lonely.

Look for books aimed directly at teens, meeting them on their level without sounding patronizing or fluffy. Teens will gravitate toward texts that address issues they see in their own lives, like friendship conflicts, romantic relationships, and fitting in. Knowing that they're not the only teen girl struggling with body image can go a long way in boosting self-esteem and self-image.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I help my teenage girl's confidence?

    Teen girls often experience a drop in confidence, but parents have the power to help turn that around. To help your daughter keep her self-esteem high, compliment her on how much effort she puts into things like sports and classes, rather than only how well they turn out. Model healthy confidence by showing her how you assert yourself and talk with her about your family values.

  • How can I teach my teenager to be more independent?

    While they definitely want their independence, teens aren't always ready to take on extra responsibility. Prepare them for adulthood (because it's just around the corner) by teaching them age-appropriate life skills like budgeting and cleaning. Letting them get a part-time job or having them shop for and cook a family dinner once a week will help them learn to be successful when they are off on their own.

  • My teen has low self-esteem. What can I do?

    Many teens struggle with low self-esteem, but parents can make a big difference in how their children feel about themselves. Encourage self-improvement by giving your child books on the topic and discussing them. Help your teen find new things to learn and teach them how to speak positively to themselves.

Why Trust Verywell Family

This article was written by Ashley Ziegler, a full-time parenting writer and a mom to a 2-year-old and 5-year-old. As an avid reader, Ashley loves books across genres, including self-help, and she has first-hand experience with the struggles of being a teen girl.

Additional reporting by Denise Witmer.

Denise Witmer is a former writer for Verywell Family. She worked as a writer and web publisher of About.com's Parenting Teens Resources Guide for 16 years.

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