Teen Speak

A how-to guide for real talks with teens about sex, drugs and other risky behaviors.

"Teen Speak was so incredibly helpful to me in staying open and connected to all five of my teens."

A 'what to expect' when you're expecting...a teen.

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About the Book

In her new book, Dr. Jennifer Salerno combines her professional expertise in adolescent behavior with a mother’s wisdom to help parents build strong relationships with their teenagers. Teen Speak presents practical communication strategies based on the ways teens think, act, and do the things they do—to help them make safer decisions when it comes to risky behaviors. Strategies are presented in an easy-to-use guide for parents and others interested in helping teens.

The book provides a detailed road map on how to get the conversation started, using real-world examples of teen-parent interactions and sample responses to common scenarios to support positive change and safer decision-making. In this book, you’ll gain practical strategies for connecting with your teen to reduce their risks, set them up for long-term success, and develop trusting relationships that will continue into adulthood.

Risky behaviors don't have to be as serious as unprotected sex and binge drinking. There is a full spectrum of risky behaviors that teens likely have experienced or will experience, such as body image issues, self esteem issues, problems with fitting in and feeling accepted and not knowing how to handle their emotions.

How is Teen Speak different than the rest?

  • Contrarian perspective. Instead of telling teens not to do something, talk through it with them. Dr. Jennifer Salerno advises to guide them in identifying their motivations and goals and give them the opportunity to think through their choices. Help them feel in control and empowered to keep themselves healthy.
  • Leveraging Motivational Interviewing. Motivational Interviewing is different than traditional approaches to communication. It is not based on lecturing or telling a teen what to do and why, but instead focuses on getting teens to talk through and explore their reasons for and against a behavior.
  • It covers it all. Teen Speak covers any and all risky behaviors and issues teens experience, including sex, drugs, alcohol, depression, bullying, self-image and relationship problems.

Order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble today!

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Amazon Book Reviews


  • “Essentially Teen Speak is the closest thing to an owner’s manual for parents of teenagers.”

  • “Teen Speak can best be described as divine intervention for parents.”

  • “My go-to guide for real world parenting”

  • “A ‘What to Expect’ for teens.”

  • “Dr. Salerno is the teen whisperer!”


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What professionals are saying about Teen Speak

Teen Speak brings much-needed science to the complex task of parenting teens. Dr. Salerno’s real life scenarios and practical suggestions reflect her professional expertise as a nurse practitioner who has cared for many teens and who has guided preventive care improvements among clinicians and public health professionals. This book offers numerous motivational interviewing techniques that aim to transfer healthy decision making skills from parent to teen. A must read for all parents!” –Margaret McManus, The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health

“Dr. Salerno uses her experience and wisdom to provide parents of teenagers with solid information to fully understand the complex developmental stages of adolescence and the behaviors that challenge parents every day. Essentially Teen Speak is the closest thing to an owner’s manual for parents of teenagers. They will find insight about their developing teens and practical advice and guidance on how to support healthy parent-teen relationships. A must read for every parent!” –Dr. Terri D. Wright, American Public Health Association

“In Teen Speak, Dr. Jennifer Salerno draws on her 21 years of experience working with teens to teach parents and professionals to ask questions that help teens think for themselves, gain clarity on what really matters to them, share their perspectives, and make smart and safer decisions. Teen Speak is highly recommended for any parent who wants to have better conversations – and a stronger relationship -- with their teen.” –Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting



Tips and Tools

View, share and keep these infographics handy that share how to have "the talk" with teens, and 4 tips for real talks with teens about sex, drugs and other risky behaviors.