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In brief

Whatever! A down-to-earth guide to parenting teenagers

By Gill Hines and Alison Baverstock

Piatkus pound;12.99

On a recent school visit, I met a sixth-former who turned out to be the funniest, most entertaining school student I had met in a long time. She described her school as "awesome" and her teachers as "flaming brilliant - though some of them are less mature than the kids". (And you just know she was right.) It made me realise that, yes, bringing up teenagers is difficult-to-impossible, but that a lot of people clearly get it right.When they do, it must be the best rollercoaster ride in the business.

All power to these two authors, then, for parents need all the help they can get. There's real understanding of young people and practical advice, such as what you can and cannot control in your teenager's life, which is in itself a good illustration of the book's approach: "Who they mix with at weekends" (can); "Who else they know" (can't); "What's in their wardrobe" (can); "What they are wearing right now" (can't).

This book offers the comfort of self recognition, and assurance that others must be having the same experiences. A good book for parents and, perhaps, for form tutors, especially those with no children of their own.

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