The Teen Toolbox


Susan read the book from the perspective of someone who spends a lot of time working with teenagers, rather than a parent. In this review, she shares her insights from her own point of view and from the perspective of what could be useful for parents to take away from the book.




This book was designed to equip teenagers and parents with the tools to navigate adolescence. Susan is always looking for new ways to connect with the teenagers she works with and ways she can better understand and have more empathy for these students. Three things Susan took from this book include


1. Cai's list of values. During #SavvyTeenAcademy Susan always talks to the teenagers about the importance of values and allows them to explore their own value set while exploring possible careers, but Cai has a longer list of values than Susan had previously been using so she is going to incorporate Cai's list into her programme.


2. The confidence checklist. Cai provided a list of elements that you can pursue in order to build your confidence. Susan focuses on building confidence in #SavvyTeenAcademy in many ways, such as body language awareness and confidence cards. There are a few tools and tricks Susan can take from the book and give to the teenager. During #SavvyTeenAcademy Susan talks the teenagers through her experience with public speaking before they run an exercise on it, and she is going to use Cai's list and incorporate it into the public speaking section of #SavvyTeenAcademy.


3. Resilience. Although resilience is talked about at #SavvyTeenAcademy, after reading this book, Susan believes it is important to give resilience it's own section in the course because it is such an important skill to have. She came to this conclusion because of how often Cai refers to resilience.


Three key takeaways from a parent's point of view are:

1. Social control and responsibility are in your hands as parents. No matter what the issue is with your teenager, a lot of the work that has to be done to fix the problem sits on your desk. Cai points out that when you are trying to "fix" somebody else, control needs to be taken back into your hands, and rather than fixing, you should try and work with the person that is having the issue.

2. The importance of role models. If you want your teenager to act a certain way, then you have to lead by example. Cai mentions how confusing it can be for your teenager if you are telling them to act a certain way while you are acting differently. Everyone who works at #SavvyTeenAcademy has to echo the values they promote in the programme because role models are so important for young people.

3. Teenage years are normal. It is probably reassuring for parents to hear that most things teenagers do during these years are completely normal. Sleeping more, pushing boundaries, and the greater need for peer acceptance are all very common throughout teenage years and so are nothing to overly stress about as a parent. For more information about #SavvyTeenAcademy, visit our website at: We also provide resources to help parents navigate the trials of teenage years over on our blog here: Or why not read more about Susan's review of this book: #StaySavvy #CaiGraham #bookreview #teenagers #SusanHayesCulleton